Why Do Dogs Lick Concrete? (8 Causes and Solutions)

Our pet dogs are always happy to see us, wagging their tails while almost overcome with excitement. They provide us with companionship and love and are always there to listen when we need someone to talk to. They are truly the best ‘best friends’ we humans could ask for.

It’s only right that we are good to them in return. We always make sure that they have plenty of fresh water to drink and enough food to eat. We make sure that they have a clean place to sleep and play, and that they receive regular vet check-ups.

What about when your dog is doing something weird? To keep up your end of the friendship, you need to learn what your dog’s odd behavior might mean and if it is okay for your dog to act in such a way. No doubt, if you’re reading this article, you’re a very responsible dog owner.

So, what about licking concrete?  Why do dogs lick concrete?  There’s no single answer but it is likely one or more of the following that is contributing to this odd behavior from your dog.

  • Your dog has a nutritional deficiency
  • Your dog has a case of pica
  • Your dog has gastrointestinal problems
  • Your dog has developed a compulsive disorder
  • Your dog has behavioral issues
  • Your dog is curious
  • Your dog likes the taste of concrete
  • Your dog has medical problems

Nutritional Deficiency

A nutritional deficiency is one of the more common reasons why your dog might start licking concrete. If your dog is missing something in his diet, then he may (without even knowing why) be licking concrete trying to get what he is missing.

There are a few different ways that this could come about. Your dog’s diet may not be as balanced as it should be and they could be lacking in certain minerals and vitamins. If you’ve recently switched your dog’s food, this could also trigger a deficiency.

The solution to this problem is to talk to your vet who can recommend a food or a helpful supplement for what your dog is missing and get them back on track.

Pica

Pica is a condition where an animal eats non-food items. This could be anything from dirt to paper towel rolls. It’s more common in puppies and young dogs, but it can happen in dogs of all ages.

If your dog has pica, then licking concrete is just one of the many things he may be doing that doesn’t make sense to you.

If there are changes in his environment or routine (like a new baby in the house), this could trigger pica.

If your dog’s case of Pica isn’t too severe you can work with a professional dog trainer to try to get them to stop.  Part of the solution to this problem is to figure out what is causing the stress and to alleviate it.

If your dog has a more severe case you’ll probably want to talk to your vet about medications.

Pica can be particularly dangerous because your dog might actually eat concrete, this, of course, can cause all sorts of dangerous medical problems for your dog.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Dogs that have gastrointestinal problems may develop a condition called ELS (excessive licking of surfaces).   This is because when they lick their stomach feels better temporarily.

Fortunately for your dog, this can usually be treated easily by your veterinarian.

Compulsive Disorder

When dogs become overly anxious,  they may start to engage in repetitive behaviors like licking concrete. This could be caused by several different things including boredom, stress, or fear.

Dogs that are left alone for long periods of time are more prone to developing compulsive disorders. If this is the case with your dog, the solution is simple: provide him with more attention and stimulation.

Take them for walks, play with him, and make sure he has plenty of toys to keep him occupied.

If your dog is showing other signs of anxiety such as pacing or panting, you’ll want to talk to your vet about medications that can help to alleviate their anxiety.

Behavioral Issues

Many different behavioral issues could lead to your dog licking concrete.

For example, if your dog is seeking attention and isn’t getting it, he may start to engage in attention-seeking behaviors like licking concrete.

The solution to this problem is to provide your dog with the attention he needs.

If you think your dog is licking concrete because he’s bored, try to provide him with more stimulation. Get him active by walking with him, playing with him, and giving him toys to keep his mind occupied.

Curious

Some dogs are simply curious by nature and will lick concrete (or anything else for that matter) just to see what it tastes like. This is more common in puppies but can happen in dogs of all ages.

If your dog is simply curious, the best solution is to provide them with plenty of chew toys and bones to keep their minds (and mouths) occupied.

Concrete Tastes Good

Your dog might like the taste of concrete. If this is the case, there’s not much you can do about it except to try to keep them from licking it.

It’s not always about the taste of concrete itself, but also what other scents and tastes are on the concrete as well.

Maybe a wild animal is sleeping on the concrete at night, or maybe some other dog owner gave their dog yummy smelling treats on the sidewalk.

If this is why your dog is licking concrete, you can do this by providing them with plenty of chew toys and bones or by keeping them on a leash when they’re outside.

Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions can also cause your dog to lick concrete.

Licking concrete can be a symptom of anemia, cancer, and other diseases.

Before you scare yourself into thinking your dog has a major medical problem, try to rule out the other causes and talk to your vet about other symptoms to watch out for and possible lab work. 

How Do I Stop My Dog From Licking Concrete?

I briefly talked about how to stop your dog for each specific case above.  However, in general one of the best ways to stop your dog from licking concrete is to provide them with a distraction along with positive reinforcement.

This could be a chew toy, an ear scratch, or anything else that will keep their attention away from the concrete and reward them when they don’t lick.

Additionally, provide your good boy with plenty of stimulation. Take him on walks, play with him, and give him toys.  You want to exercise both his mind and body. 

If your dog has pica and is eating concrete you will likely need to physically move your dog somewhere else while working on training your dog to follow the ‘No Command’.

Final Thoughts: Why Do Dogs Lick Concrete?

There are a number of reasons why your dog might be licking concrete.

The best way to determine why your dog is licking concrete (and how to stop them) is to observe their behavior and take note of any other symptoms they may be experiencing.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s concrete licking habit, talk to your vet about other possible causes and possible treatments.

Always provide your dog with plenty of attention, love, and stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

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