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Why Does My Dog Lick Walls? Should I Do Something?

Many dogs will lick anything that their tongues come into contact with. Whether it’s your cheek or a tasty treat, your pup may lick you to show affection or to please his palate. But sometimes, your pet’s licking may seem downright bizarre. This is especially true if your dog is constantly licking the wall.

So, what is the culprit behind your pet’s wall-licking behavior and what are some ways that you can stop it? In this article, we’ll explore some reasons why your dog is licking walls and if you should do something about it.

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Hunger or Thirst

dog in front of the empty bowl
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

Your pup could be licking walls simply because he’s hungry or thirsty. Your dog could have discovered some moisture on the wall or even a yummy scent. Check your dog’s water bowl. If it’s empty, fill it up right away. If you’ve skipped feeding your dog his nightly meal, now’s the time to do it.

However, if your dog has constant access to fresh food and water, his wall licking may be a sign of something more serious. You could be feeding him the wrong type of food and he’s not getting the essential nutrients he needs. If this is the case, schedule an appointment with your vet.

He’s Sick

Your dog could be licking things he normally wouldn’t because of an illness. If your pup suddenly starts licking the walls, furniture, or other items, he could be sick. Other symptoms to look out for include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and a lack of appetite. If you suspect your dog is sick, contact your vet right away.

Pica

Pica is an obsessive-compulsive disorder that causes dogs to eat non-food items. If your dog licks the wall, dines on dirt, or enjoys consuming carpet, he may have pica. This disorder can be harmful to dogs because they could ingest something poisonous. Additionally, the items they eat could cause a blockage. If you think your pooch has pica, schedule an appointment with your vet or an animal behaviorist.

Stress and Anxiety

Canines will compulsively lick at items if they’re feeling stressed or anxious. Have you recently moved to a new home or changed your dog’s daily routine? This could be causing him stress. The wall licking is likely to subside when your dog becomes calm again. If the problem persists, consider getting calming pheromones or supplements. Avoid disrupting your pet’s normal routine to avoid making him anxious.

A Cool Wall

jack russell terrier puppy in an airconditioned room
Image Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock

If your dog is licking the wall on a sweltering summer day, he’s probably trying to cool off. A cool wall can provide some relief from the hot temperatures. Think you’ve got a hot dog? Bring him inside into an air-conditioned house, give him plenty of water, and let him rest and relax.

How to Stop Your Dog from Licking Walls

If your dog’s wall licking isn’t caused by an illness, there are some ways to stop this behavior, including:
  • Not encouraging it: Never give your dog a treat when he’s licking the wall, even if you think it’ll distract him. Instead, wait until he’s stopped before offering him a goodie so he doesn’t associate the wall licking with a reward.
  • Give him other options: Offer your dog treats and toys that he can chew or lick. This will lessen the wall licking.
  • Curb his anxiety: Keep your dog on a regular routine. If you’ve recently moved, gotten a new pet, or have a stranger visiting, calm your dog with pheromones or extra attention.

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Conclusion

Your dog’s wall licking may be his way of trying to tell you something. If you think your dog is sick, call your vet right away. If the odd behavior is caused by boredom, keep your dog engaged with plenty of exercise and stimulating toys.

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Featured Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock