However, if your dog is excessively licking his paws, then it might not be as simple as it sounds. Reasons being your dog chewing or licking its paws include skin issues, injuries, parasites, food allergies, or different environmental issues.
But don’t you worry — while excessive licking can mean your dog is having some sort of problems, it’s safe to say that they’re solvable. In most cases, keeping your dog clean from time to time makes all the difference. Even if it’s not, you always have the vet to consult!
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws | The Reasons
Most often than not, your dog feels dirty, maybe its skin is itching — hence it constantly bites or licks its paws. But there can be several other factors to it, and some of them can be deadly for your dog if not treated well.
So before your dog starts excessive paw licking — you should keep its toe and nail clean as much as possible. Time to know the reasons:
Whenever you feel like your dog is doing excessive paw licking, you need to observe the pattern. If you feel like the licking has begun all of a sudden and your dog is scratching and licking one of his paws — then there’s a high chance your dog is injured.
Maybe it’s a cut, or a stone, or a torn nail — you need to examine its paws carefully. You need to check the nails, between its pads and toes and also at the tops of its feet. If you don’t find anything conclusive — then it’s not an injury.
There can be various different reasons behind your dog getting injured. Walking on hot sidewalks, getting stung by a bee or other insects, stepping on sharp objects — the possibilities are endless.
Luckily, simple first-aid treatment should be enough to stop your dog from licking its paws unless the injury is severe. But if it’s a more serious injury, then you need to see a vet.
No, it’s not just us humans irritated by parasites that feast on our nutrition — dogs can also fall victim to parasites of many types. Unfortunately, while we can immediately take action upon the sight of a parasite — dogs can’t.
Different parasites like fleas or mange can cause infections on the paws or leg of your dog, causing it to have itchy paws. If you actually can find parasites’ infestation, you should take immediate steps and consult a vet for appropriate medicines before the condition gets bad to worse.
Food allergies are a common reason dogs chew and lick their paws, mostly because those places get itchy. It’s pretty hard to pinpoint what type of allergies cause your dog to lick their paws, so it’s better to contact your vet and get suggestions on your dog’s diet.
You’ll have to remember that not all dogs have similar food habits, so you can’t necessarily feed a Pitbull the same food you feed a Chihuahua with.
When the dog’s paws itch, they will constantly lick them, making the thing even worse. We would recommend you to check what your dog eats on a regular basis to avoid allergies as such. Luckily enough- there are proper medications for any kind of allergies that your dog has.
Now, after examining, if you find that there’s nothing wrong with your dog’s paws, it could be skin issues like dermatitis.
Skin irritation isn’t a natural thing and is caused mostly by bacterial issues, food sensitivities, and allergies. There can be several other reasons behind developing Dermatitis — ranging from the dog being allergic to certain weeds or grass or even different chemicals used in the yard!
If your vet also identifies it as a problem related to skin irritation, then you need to take good care of your beloved pupper. Keeping a bowl of water alongside a towel whenever the dog comes back home works wonders. Keep the puppy clean, and you’ll see there’s a lot less itching and constant licking.
Pains and Aches
Many dogs often obsessively lick their paw when they’re wounded as a means to manage their pain. It can be a limp, it can be a cut or bruise as well — like we discussed before.
BUT the most pain-related reason for a dog to continuously lick can be arthritis. This joint condition causes severe pain in multiple areas of its body, but the dog will lick one of its paws to cope with the achiness.
If you notice your dog licking just one of its paws, then it can be a serious issue since Arthritis gradually weakens the movement of the animal, and at some point, it gets immobilized. Before something like that happens, you should act on it and stop your dog from licking.
If you haven’t found any symptom addressed above in your doggo, then the licking can be a sign of your dog suffering from different behavioral issues like anxiety or depression.
It might be bored too. Now the mental health of your puppy is difficult to diagnose, but there are different ways to handle this. Some of these canines often develop a habit of incessantly and aggressively licking their paws for no reason as well.
Now, if you feel like your pupper is facing similar issues, then you can try to alleviate its boredom by taking it on walks, running, and playing with it in parks. Introducing it to other dogs can also increase its physical and mental energy.
Giving them a safe chewable toy or puzzle toys can also distract them from continually licking their paws.
Apart from that, if your vet suggests that your dog is suffering from anxieties like fear of noise or separation- then you can go for calming treats. If such is the case, we’d ask you to consult an animal behaviorist as soon as possible.
What Can Happen to the Dog from Licking Its Paws too Much?
Let’s be honest, if your pupper licks their paws occasionally, then it’s considered a healthy habit because it keeps them clean.
However, frequent licking can be very risky for them. If the pupper licks its paws on a regular basis, it will build up moisture in its paws, which can, in turn, lead to various bacterial and yeast infections.
These infections will cause redness, swelling and will result in the pupper licking even more aggressively. This is why you need to consult a vet immediately.
How to Keep My Dog from Chewing and Licking His Paws?
Prevention is always better than cure, so the first thing you should do is to keep your pupper as clean as possible.
However, these animals do tend to get a touch of dirt quite often, so you need to follow a few instructions apart from consulting the vet. Firstly, if it’s a behavioral issue, it will take time, patience, and effort.
You can try using bitter tropical foods that are pet-safe on their paws to discourage the puppy from licking. You can also use a physical restraint like an e-collar if nothing works out. Again, the best bet is to consult a professional — check what he/she suggests and do accordingly.
So this was our take on why do dogs lick their paws. These beautiful creatures may lick their paws for fun, but if it becomes a constant scenario, you should take adequate action. Best of luck on petting them puppers!