You may have noticed your dog excessively licking its paws from time to time. While occasional paw-licking is not quite a concern, excessively, it could be an annoying problem that needs to be addressed quickly.
There are several reasons why dogs lick their paws. While some extreme cases may require professional attention, some may just be a result of boredom, which can be resolved at home.
In this blog post, we share the common reasons why dogs lick their paws and how to stop them!
Why is my Dog Licking his Paws so Much?
It can be worrisome to watch our beloved furry companions licking their paws too much. There might be a number of reasons they do this, but they cannot tell us.
There are various possible causes of this behavior, ranging from food allergies, skin infections, or external parasites. In the worst cases, these can be behavioral problems. Understanding the causes of your dog’s licking behavior would help you take the necessary steps to curb this habit.
Your dog may lick excessively as a result of anxiety. In some cases, separation anxiety causes a dog to lick his paw. Along with this, boredom is another reason why your furry companion engages in constant licking.
Your dog may even lick their paws when they curl up for a nap for lack of anything to do. All of these are normal dog behaviors and shouldn’t cause you to worry.
One reason your dog may be licking his paws is as a means of grooming. Some dogs are great at self-grooming. So, if your pup is giving its paws a lick after coming in from outside or after eating a meal, this may not be a sign of concern.
Another reason dogs may be licking their paws is because of allergies. They may engage in excessive paw licking because they have dry skin that causes itchiness, irritation, or pain.
The irritation on your pup’s skin can be a sign of food allergies, skin conditions, or cysts. These allergies may, in turn, cause something more than itchiness. It can lead to fur loss, open wounds, skin infections, and even pain.
The likely culprit for your dog’s licking is their diet. Food allergies cause itching. Most dog foods are high in filler ingredients, which can cause skin irritation for your dogs. The more they lick their irritated skin, the more moisture accumulates. This can lead to issues such as yeast infections.
Insect bites cause a reaction on your dogs’ paws that leads them to lick. Most often, these bites can cause itchiness. When this happens, our dogs resort to licking and chewing to alleviate the itch.
Should I Stop my Dog from Licking his Paws?
Depending on the reasons why your dogs lick their paws, it might be necessary to stop them from continuously doing so.
When the reason for the licking is self-grooming, there is no need to stop this behavior as it is merely a means of cleaning himself.
But if the reason is other than that and licking and chewing are done excessively, then there is every reason to act now to stop this habit. Understand the underlying cause of the habit and address it properly.
Steps to Curb Paw Licking Behaviors
Excessive paw licking may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition that needs professional diagnosis. Still, there are some steps you can take as a dog owner to curb your pet’s vices before searching for professional treatment. Here are some simple ways to prevent unhealthy paw-licking behaviors in pets.
The first step to stop your dogs from licking their paws is to inspect their paws visually. Be sure to check the areas between their nails and paw pads. This will allow you to see any visible cuts, scrapes, or growths.
The next step to getting your dogs to stop licking their paws is taking them to visit the vet. This will help to ensure that the behavior is not related to any health problems.
If your veterinarian confirms that a diet or health-related issue is not causing the behavior, giving your pup plenty of walks and playtime will help keep them distracted. Many behavioral challenges can be solved by ensuring that your dog has the proper amount of exercise and playtime. This also helps them burn off excess energy or anxiety.
Also, be sure to provide your dog with a variety of toys to play with. This helps combat his boredom. Keep him preoccupied with something other than his paws by engaging him in regular, fun activities.
If your vet has decided it is, in fact, a behavioral concern, you can begin taking steps to train your dogs and discourage the licking habit. Excessive licking can create new sores and health problems for your dogs if it continues.
It is also important to make sure your dog is not left home alone for long periods every day. Keeping a dog alone or confined to a crate or small space may be fostering licking behavior.
Consider hiring a dog walker or taking your dog to daycare if you cannot be home for long stretches each day.
If the licking has become very intense, or your vet has already prescribed a treatment to heal a wound or cyst on their paw, you may need to have your dog wear a cone to prevent them from licking.
Dog Licking Paws Home Remedies
Many home remedies would be a good option to help keep your dog from licking his paw.
One suggestion is to bring a humidifier near your pup to put moisture back into the air. This may be especially helpful if there are certain times of the year your dog is licking.
Your dog may also get relief from their dry, itchy skin with an Epson-salt bath. Have your pup stay in the bath for 30 minutes to kill bad bacteria and lessen inflammation.
Another home remedy is spraying apple cider vinegar directly on your dog’s paw. It is important to make sure your dog has no open wounds or cuts to prevent this remedy from being very painful.
You can also give your dog high-quality fish oil supplements. These supplements have ample amounts of fatty acids, which prevent dry skin and strengthen your pet’s immune system. They help alleviate your dog’s sensitivity to any food allergy and prevent itching.
Products to Help Prevent Paw-Licking
Our team has reviewed a few great products to help get your dogs to lay off the paw-licking habit. But, again, be sure you have taken your dogs to the veterinarian to rule out health-related issues.
- Discourages fur biting, hair chewing and hot spots
- Can also be used to discourage chewing on shoes, clothing, pets beds, furniture, etc.
- Beware of copies as pets often acquire a taste for them; only Grannick's Bitter Apple keeps working
- Far and away the most recognized and best selling product of its kind in the world
- Simply spray problem areas to discourage chewing
If you are looking for a topical spray, there are many products. such as Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray that can be applied to your pup’s paws, as well as household items to prevent chewing.
Another successful product is a topical spray that treats your dog’s skin irritation, such as Chlorhexidine Spray.
If your pup’s paw licking is frequent but not an area for concern, you can use a itch relief spray that will deter your dogs from licking. This spray can be applied to their paws daily.
Cone or Inflatable Collars
- ✅ 【COMFORTABLE FOR YOUR PET】 - While wearing the BENCMATE Collar, the inflatable function and the soft outside material will let your dog wear it comfortably and it does not block your pet’s vision, they can eat, drink, sleep and play at ease while staying protected.
If your dogs have been persistent with the licking and chewing and you need to prevent their access to paws for a time, consider buying a cone or an inflatable collar.
These items will only aid in temporarily getting your dogs to stop licking their paws. This will prove especially helpful if your dog has a yeast infection or other health-related issues. If your dog continues licking, it will just escalate the problem.
Giving your dog supplements to lessen or even prevent the licking may be one of the most long-term solutions. PetHonestly provides a daily allergy relief supplement that contains the suggested fish oil as well as probiotics and colostrum.
Another immune support supplement comes from Zesty Paws and will help give your dog what they need to prevent or lessen the licking behavior.
It may seem like just an annoying habit when your dogs begin excessively licking their paws. However, this may be a sign of health-related concerns.
A vet visit would be necessary. Get your dog checked out by your veterinarian to decide. Be patient but also persistent in helping your dog attain the best behavior and health.