Why Does My Dog Keep Licking His Paws? 5 Reasons & Solutions!


In case your dog licks his paws, is that ordinary behavior? If he bites his claws, is that the dog version of nail-biting in humans and something to be concerned about? Relating to pups and their paws, humans can often get confused.

The very fact is that a dog licking his paws can ‘mean’ every kind of things, and will even be an indication of an underlying issue that his pet parent (that is you) might want to help him address. It’s these issues we’re going to take a better have a look at here.

Why Does My Dog Lick his Paws so Much?

Sometimes licking his paws could be very normal behavior on your pup just because he’s cleansing his feet. If he’s been outside and his paws are dirty, muddy or sandy, he’s going to lick his paws to wash himself up. Identical to you should not keen on dirty, dusty feet, most pups prefer clean paws. 

Dogs, unlike cats, don’t wash themselves lots. They clean themselves after they are dirty, not out of habit. Cats, who are likely to be haughty creatures, might say it’s because their caning counterparts just aren’t as fastidious as them, nevertheless it’s perfectly normal behavior.

In case your pup hasn’t been outside recently to get his feet grimy, or licks his paws lots, then the behavior could also be more of a cause for concern.

There are every kind of reasons your dog may exhibit this behavior though, so tracking down the cause may involve some detective work in your part.

Listed below are a few of the commonest reasons.

1. Allergies

Puppy circling around in grass

Dogs, like humans, are susceptible to allergies, and sometimes that will include being allergic to something that comes involved along with his paws. Possible irritants include certain grasses, pollen, having walked through stinging plants and more. As this may often result in itchy feet, your pup may lick, and even bite, his paws to attempt to stop the itch. 

Some pet food ingredients have even been known to cause allergies that affect the skin on the pads of dog’s paws, resulting in an itch that will have them gnawing at their feet too. 

2. Foreign Objects

A Jack Russel beside a dug out part of the garden

Unless he wears dog shoes when out – which a number of pups simply won’t, or cannot, walk in – your pup’s paws may come into contact with every kind of foreign objects that may easily grow to be stuck between – and even in – the pads of the feet. Small stones, gravel, splinters and even shards of broken glass often is the reason your dog is suddenly licking his paws lots. 

Insect bites and stings could also be an issue too. If a dog by chance stands on a bee, for instance, as bees do sometimes snooze in long grass, the barbed stinger will probably be left behind if he’s stung.

Finally, fleas and ticks can result in excessive paw licking as well. Ticks get in every single place when a pup is infested, including his feet, and a tick can all too easily grow to be embedded in a pad. If you end up checking for fleas and ticks when your pup returns from a walk or run in an area where they’re prone to be, do not forget to envision his feet in addition to the remainder of him!

3. Pad Injury

A Dog paw in a human hand

The likelihood is that you just don’t spend a whole lot of time looking closely at your dog’s pads, the fleshy blobs on the underside of his paws (his version of toes if you happen to like).

These are very sensitive and more easily injured than you would possibly think. Not only can they be fairly easily cut by sharp objects in a pup’s path, extreme temperatures – each cold and warm – can burn and damage the sensitive skin, considered one of the explanations dog boots should not as silly as some think for some pups.

If their pad is injured, a dog will lick his paws to attempt to stop the pain, or ease an itch. After all, they could thoroughly make the injury or irritation worse by doing so, which is why you’ll have to step in to assist.

4. Arthritis

A beautiful white and wet Golden Retriever in the park

Cannot keep the pup-arazzi away.

Commonly seen in older dogs, arthritis could also be one other reason for dogs licking their paws. Dogs affected by the condition may lick their paws, especially at their ‘wrists’, in an try to self soothe the pain away. 

While a number of people say that arthritis in dogs is normal, which it often is as they age, that doesn’t mean it ought to be ignored, as there are things that may be done to assist soothe the pain which might be much better on your pup than licking his paws.

5. Boredom, Anxiety or Sheer Habit

Dogs get bored. Some also get anxious, especially when left alone or when put in recent situations they should not quite sure about (like a brand new eternally home). And a few dogs do things out of sheer habit. All of these items may manifest themselves as paw licking.

What Is Considered Excessive Licking?

A dog chewing on his paws while lying on dirt in the ground

  • The pup licks his paws often, not only when he’s been outside or otherwise gotten dirty.
  • The licking is accompanied by limping, which can indicate an injury to the paw.
  • The paw licking gets worse after eating certain foods, which can indicate a food allergy.
  • The behavior occurs after they’ve been walked in a certain area, which can indicate that there’s something there that irritates his feet.
  • The behavior causes cracked or damaged pad skin, something that can impede the pup’s ability to walk properly.

Why Do Dogs Chew on Their Feet?

Often if a dog chews his feet it follows licking his paws, and is the results of a frustration that licking didn’t have the specified effect, so, of their mind, chewing may match higher. This will, after all, result in more serious foot injuries and ought to be addressed promptly.

Why Does My Dog Bite His Paws?

In case your dog bites his nails, he could also be attempting to remove an object lodged in them, or literally be attempting to clip them himself because they’re too long or ragged. The answer to this problem is to maintain his nails clean and professionally trimmed.

DIY nail clipping isn’t a superb idea as it could possibly cause serious injury, especially as there are a number of blood vessels in dog nails. 

Many easy dog grooming tasks you’ll be able to indeed do yourself, but nail clipping shouldn’t be considered one of them. You may, nevertheless, check his feet for debris after a walk and clean them with a soft, damp cloth if needed.

How To Stop a Dog From Licking His Paws?

White Dog with black nose licking his paw closeup

How are you going to stop a dog from licking his paws? The reply to that query is much from a straightforward one, as it can depend very much upon just why he’s licking his paws. Listed below are some suggestions, suggestions and even a couple of helpful products which may be of help.

Treating Fleas and Tricks

When you find – or not less than suspect – that fleas or ticks are the reason for excessive paw licking, then the bugs must be eliminated quickly!

Your vet can have recommendations for you, but to get the method began before a vet visit you’ll be able to make use of a flea and tick shampoo – you will discover them in medicated varieties and all- natural alternatives, depending on how you favor to treat your pet.

To stop the paw licking behavior if it’s related to fleas, wash the feet rigorously with the shampoo. A tick will should be removed (rigorously, with tweezers) but washing the realm may relieve itching.

Some pet parents try homemade remedies for fleas and ticks, but they’re rarely effective. If you’ve noticed fleas or ticks and all of the stores are closed, you’ll be able to try making an emergency homemade flea bath like this one, but while it’d assist in a pinch, it’s best to still search for simpler remedies as soon as you’ll be able to.

Homemade Flea Bath

Shampooing a cocker spaniel, thoroughly cleaning his ears.

What You may Need:

  • Baby shampoo or dye free dish detergent.
  • 1 quart cool, clean water.
  • 1 cup of white vinegar.
  • 1 large spray bottle.
  • Disposable gloves.

How It’s Done:

1. Mix all of the ingredients within the spray bottle and shake it well.

2. Placed on gloves to avoid getting bitten by ticks or fleas yourself.

3. In a shower environment (or in your actual bath) spray the pup with the mixture, paying special attention to the areas where you think the fleas to be.

4. Massage the mixture into the fur gently.

5. Rinse away with lukewarm water.

6. Check your pup for visible pests after which towel dry him.

When you spot fleas or ticks, get rid of them quickly, but not in indoor trash bins as they could, quite literally, jump out. When you live in an area where Lyme disease is common and discover a tick, bag it in a Ziploc baggie, as it can should be tested.

Treating Paw Injuries

A border collie wearing blue dog booties

If a paw injury could be very minor – a scratch, small cut etc. – treating it with a foot ointment designed for dogs (Musher’s Secret is our favourite) may solve the issue fast. For more serious problems, especially in case your pup is limping, he should see the vet as soon as possible. Infected paws can result in serious, everlasting damage, and so should never be ignored. 

In case your pup tends to suffer from cracked paws in extreme temperatures, a moisturizing foot cream may help. A very good pair of comfortable, well-fitting dog boots, could also be a superb buy too.

Most significantly though, if weather conditions are too extreme, your pup shouldn’t be walked in them. Here’s a superb test. Put your hand on the bottom. Whether it is so hot or cold it hurts it, and makes you snatch it away, then your pup’s paws shouldn’t be exposed to it either.


Terrier rolling in green grass

The way you treat allergies that may be causing excessive paw licking in dogs depends upon just what the allergy is. If it appears to be to a certain grass or soil, keep pup away from the areas, or ensure their feet are covered by booties.

If food appears to be an issue, you’ll be able to try a hypoallergenic pet food and/or see your vet for formal allergy testing, which can also be often a superb idea for environmental allergies too. Allergies often cause way more health problems than simply paw licking, so that they ought to be addressed as fully as possible.

Boredom, Anxiety or Habit

Weather Preventing Dog From Playing Outdoors

Excessive paw licking attributable to behavioral issues like boredom, anxiety or habit will even should be addressed in keeping with the actual problem, of which paw licking is frequently only one symptom.

Bored dogs may be amused by being given more playtime with you, or a stimulating puzzle toy if you end up not available. 

Anxious dogs may be harder to assist. The treatment should begin with a vet visit, after which may include things like calming chews, calming collars, calming beds and, in severe cases, behavioral health training with knowledgeable.

Habit based paw licking may be tough to treat too. It’s almost like a human that bites their fingernails, not every deterrent will help every pup, and it’s best to speak to their vet about what the perfect plan of action may be. 

One thing you’ll be able to do is keep your puppy’s nails trimmed and pads as soft as possible. This can mean there are fewer reasons on your pup to pay an excessive amount of attention to his feet in the primary place, at which point you’ll be able to distract him with something else if he does begin the unwanted behavior, similar to a healthy treat or an interesting toy.

Shouting or spanking won’t help, your pup simply won’t understand what he’s done mistaken!

Next Read:
Why Do Dogs Hide Their Bones within the House?


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