It is not abnormal for dogs to lick a lot of things.
From licking our faces excitedly when we come back from work to sniffing and licking stuff on their way when out for a walk, licking is almost a commonplace behavior for dogs.
But of all places and things in the house, why is your dog suddenly obsessed with licking the floor vent?
Why does my dog lick the floor vent
Dogs lick the floor vent because there is something of interest in there — think mice, squirrels, or one of its toys. Sometimes it may be nothing
Sometimes, dogs may become dedicated to the vent due to deficiencies in their nutrients, mainly iron.
Below are some reasons your dog licks the vent
Licking is a normal behavior in dogs
Dogs love to lick things. This is because it is almost like they can ‘see’ with their tongue.
They want to feel everything, and since they can’t feel things with their hands, they prefer to get the taste of those things with their tongue.
So while you can touch, smell, see and reach out to feel something, dogs will reach out with their mouths to feel the same.
Hence, you will likely find them licking this or that every few minutes.
As such, when you find your dog licking the floor vent, it is often her reaching out and ‘feeling’ it.
But unlike humans, dogs can quickly become obsessed with things.
So you find them going back again and again to items that are ‘entertaining’ to them.
This is the same reason your dog may become obsessed with a ball or remote control if you had used it to play with him and he found it entertaining.
If the air from the vent feels good to your dog, he’ll continue returning to it even when the vent no longer works.
This is a normal behavior in dogs; you should not worry about it if you do not see or sense any physical distress.
But if there are signs of curiosity, such as scratching the vents, there may be more to the continuous vent-licking behavior.
There is something under your floor vent
Floor vents are excellent for directing air in your home. But sooner, some animals may find their way into the vents.
You may not be aware of this, but sometimes a mouse or squirrel may be able to squeeze their way into your floor vent.
Your dog can easily sense their presence and may want to go after them. But your vent will be in its way.
Hence he will resort to scratching and licking the vent cover to see if it can get it out of the way.
Your dog will likely continue with this behavior even when the animal is no longer on the vent.
This is because it’ll always continue to check once in a while to see if it is still there or has returned.
Most times, if there is an animal under your vent, your dog will not only lick the floor vent but will try to scratch its way in.
As such, if the licking is coupled with scratching or any behavior that looks like it is trying to make its way into the vent, then there may be something of interest in the vent.
On the other hand, if your dog is only licking the floor vent without scratching it, it may lack some essential nutrients in its diet.
Sign of nutrient deficiency
When dogs lack certain minerals, they tend to lick metallic objects in their environment to compensate for the deficiency.
The exact reason why dogs tend to lick metals when they lack certain minerals is not exactly a well-known science. But it is a well-known fact.
If you find your dog licking your metallic floor vent constantly or other metallic objects lying around the house, you may want to visit a vet and see if their meals provide all the necessary nutrients.
Licking metallic objects is usually due to a lack of iron, which results in anemia in your dog.
Anemia in dogs includes pale gums, eyes, or ears, weakness, black stools, and rapid pulse or breathing.
Aside from iron deficiency, your dog may lick metals constantly if they lack other essential minerals like Potassium, Calcium, Phosphorous, Sodium, Magnesium, and so on.
Your dog is bored
Dogs left alone for long might become bored and pick up habits to entertain themselves.
Naturally, dogs are not meant to be in an enclosed environment like the home. Dogs love to play. They love to be entertained.
Your dog licking your vent might be her way of passing the time.
Unfortunately, while this may start innocently, some dogs may develop an obsessive disorder that makes them feel a compulsion to lick the vent constantly.
If your dog is constantly licking your vent, you might want to take it out for a walk or get them other toys to keep them entertained whenever you are not available to play with them.
A sign of Pica
Pica is a condition that makes animals ingest just about anything within their reach.
The condition is not very well understood in science yet, but there is substantial evidence that certain animals may eat just about anything they can find.
While the condition in itself is not dangerous, the things your dog ingests might be poisonous.
If you find your dog constantly swallowing things other than food, you might want to consider visiting your vet.
How to stop your dog from licking the floor vent
Get it a new toy
When dogs become obsessed with something that entertains them, especially fixed items like the floor vent, it becomes hard for them to break that obsession.
A good starting point will be to provide them with something else to redirect their attention from the floor vent.
Often, this might mean getting them a new toy.
Visit your vet
If you find your dog constantly licking the metallic surface of your floor vent, you might want to have them see a vet as soon as possible, especially if they are continually licking other metallic objects around the house.
Your dog may be lacking some essential minerals in their diet, and the licking is only a physical manifestation of the urgent signal from its brain.
Consider giving them more nutritious foods or visit your vet to find out what nutrient it lacks to make custom meals for them.
Clean your vent
When you spill something tasty on your floor vents, and your dog licks it, they may come back sometime later to see if the vent will still be as delicious as it was the previous time.
This can easily become a behavior for them, especially if the vent tasted good the first time. Always clean your floor vent to discourage them.
Dogs are naturally curious animals. They love to feel things with their tongue, smell them with their nose or dig them out.
But licking things is a fundamental part of their behaviors, and in most cases, your dog licking your floor vent is just a part of its natural behavioral pattern.
But if it constantly licks metals, it might be lacking some nutrients, or if it continually tries to dig out your vent cover, there may be something of interest beneath the floor vent.
But most times, it is only having a good time with your floor vent.