Why Do Dogs Lick Paws?

For our canine friends, paw licking can be a grooming habit. This is often seen when dogs have been out for a long walk in rugged conditions, or it might be part of their daily groom.

However, it might also be an indication of something else. If you’re concerned, call 844-711-0204 to make an appointment with a vet near you.

Below we examine a few reasons why dogs lick paws:

why do dogs lick paws

Why Do Dogs Lick Paws?

Dry skin

Excessive grooming or bathing in dogs can strip them of their natural oils, resulting in dry skin. The result is itchy skin which can manifest through paw licking and chewing.

Anxiety

Dogs too can suffer with anxiety. This might be because of sudden sounds or loud noises, or due to behavioral issues from past owners or otherwise.

Paw licking is thought to be one of the ways a dog self-soothes, helping to reduce their stress levels – a bit like a human might bite their nails or twirl their hair.

You might be aware of your dog’s anxiety issues, especially if it is a rescue dog or adopted. Or this might be new to you. Either way, your local veterinarian is worth consulting for advice.

Boredom

Some breeds of dogs need more attention, entertainment and interaction than others. While some are happy to be left alone, others don’t cope so well.

When bored, dogs can get up to all kinds of anti-social activity, from chewing on chairs to licking their paws. Ensure your dog has plenty of toys and stimulation to keep them entertained and are given adequate exercise and attention to keep them occupied.

If you work out of the home during the day, you may want to consider a dog walker to break up their day and keep them entertained.

Ticks and fleas

Despite your best efforts to keep your pet pest-free, it is sometimes unavoidable that they will pick up the occasional flea or tick. But this mite is no mater of theirs and can cause irritation, which results in scratching. However, you may notice this all over, rather than just confined to the paw area. Keeping your home clean and your pet up to date with their vaccination and medical requirements is the best way to prevent this.

Yeast infection

Dogs might lick or chew on their paws due to a bad reaction to something they’ve eaten.

Since they are carnivores they need to eat plenty of protein, namely meat and bones in their diet. However, this is not always apparent in modern dog food that is processed, and as such their nutrition should be the first thing to be checked. This is because yeast is an important part of your dog’s diet and helps keep their gut health in check. But too much can result in a yeast infection– hence paw licking or sometimes chewing.

This might also be accompanied by smelly skin, weight issues and ear conditions, due to it changing the pH in your pet’s saliva.

Speak to your veterinarian about the best diet for your canine, since this can differ from breed to breed.

Allergies

Your dog might be licking their paws because they’re suffering from a food allergy or intolerance. However, with the abundance of chemicals used in household goods, you might want to reconsider some of the cleaning products used in your home, which might be affecting their precious paws.

Hormones

A hormone imbalance may mean your pet has less hair in parts, which they resolve by licking. This is best diagnosed by a professional, so make an appointment promptly if you suspect that this is the case.

How to stop paw licking

If you want to stop your pup from licking his paws, then the most important step is to understand the reason for their behavior in the first place. This will allow you to make any necessary changes to their diet, lifestyle or otherwise.

If, however, paw licking continues, it is best to seek professional advice from your veterinarian. Call 844-711-0204 to make an appointment with a vet near you.

In the meantime, try and cover any areas of irritation, or distract them with play or games when they’re tempted to start licking.

If the health of your dog has been ruled out as a factor, then a dog trainer or behavioral specialist might be able to help with the issue. They will identify the trigger and work with you to come up with ways to manage the habit. Be it separation anxiety, previous ownership, nerves, or something else.

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