It is usual for your fur buddies to lick their paws often out of boredom or by way of self-grooming. But excess of anything can be harmful. If you see your dog is licking paws frequently, then it may be a sign of a problem.
In this article, we’ve covered the possible reasons behind dog licking paws and what can be done to stop them. So, let’s deep dive into the topic straight!
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?
Before we dive into the solution or ways to stop your dog from licking/biting paws, we need to understand some possible reasons why a dog could be licking paws.
If you see your dog licking their paws after having meals, coming home from a walk, or before taking a nap, then the chances are that you are a scrupulous groomer. But if you see your dog licking their paws aggressively and frequently, then there must be some problem.
One reason for your dog’s excessive paw licking can be a paw injury or discomfort caused by stepping on some sharp foreign object or hot pavement. Some sharp foreign objects can get embedded in your dog’s paw and cause irritation and discomfort.
Another reason why your dog is licking the paw can be due to some health conditions, which need to be checked by a vet.
What Does It Mean When A Dog Is Licking Paws?
Licking is quite common in dogs. Be it their neck, stomach, ears, or paws; dogs don’t hesitate to lick their body. Sometimes this licking becomes an obsession, and they start doing it excessively. But the real question is, what does it mean?
Our dogs show proper signs and symptoms if they struggle with any injury or disease. If the dog suffers from any paw injury or pain, then licking is obvious. If there are no signs of damage, it might be a possibility that they’re hungry and drooling.
Below are some common health problems that will help you identify the exact reasons behind paw licking in dogs.
Health Problems Related To Dog Licking Paws
- Food allergies: Your dog’s immune system may react differently to some proteins in food, which may cause itchy skin, vomiting, weight loss, and other health problems.
- Environmental allergies: If you find your dog licking their paws aggressively after a walk from the park or after a play session in the mud in your backyard, then the chances are that your dog has environmental allergies. Its symptoms include itchy skin, rashes, and paw biting.
- Dry skin: Excessive bathing or dry humidity may remove a dog’s natural skin oils. This may result in making your fur buddy’s skin irritated, flaky, and cracked.
- Obsessive behavior: In severe cases, your dog may have obsessive-compulsive tendencies that can lead them to lick and bite their paws excessively. It is also known as a canine-compulsive disorder. Some symptoms of CCD are tail chasing, tail licking, toy sucking, and paw biting.
- Abnormal paw growth: You may notice some abnormal growth in your pooch’s one paw. This may be because of a cyst or tumor. Your dog may also be suffering from arthritis or have an injury to the soft tissue or bones of the paw. A visit to the vet is advised to identify if any of these is a cause for your dog’s excessive paw licking.
- Boredom or stress: Apart from the health problems mentioned above, boredom and stress can also cause your dog to lick their paws excessively. You can help your dog by reliving their fear of anxiety and stress by spending some time with them and developing a healthy playing habit that will help keep both you and your pooch fit.
Must Read: How Often Should I Take My Dog To The Vet?
Red Paws On Dogs Licking – Signs Of Worry?
Excessive chewing, biting, and licking paws is harmful to dogs. Signs of redness in their feet clearly mean that they’ve injured their legs. If you’re also observing the red paws of your dogs, then you need to help them out. Try some ice and water to soothe down the pain in their paws. If the injury is worse, you must take your dog to the vet for medical assistance.
How To Stop Dog From Licking Paws?
To stop your dog from licking their paws, you first need to inspect your pet’s paws thoroughly. From the top and bottom, the toenails and nail beds, and the spaces in between. Look for rashes, itchy skin, redness, cuts, swelling, ticks, foreign objects, bleeding, scabs, discharge, broken nails, and anything else which you find abnormal.
After identifying the root of the problem, administer first aid if necessary.
Always visit a vet for some professional advice. You may not be able to identify the problem correctly on your own, and if your dog has some serious health problems which need some special care or advanced testing, then your vet may help you with it.
Your vet first needs to rule out health problems before you start trying to address a behavior issue.
5 useful tips to eliminate the habit of dog licking their paws:
- Always be patient while dealing with behavioral issues for your dog. It takes time and effort for your dog to recover from stress and anxiety, but the results are worth it.
- To stop your dog from licking paws, you can try topping with bitter-tasting products so that the dog will avoid licking it.
- Physical restrain or an e-collar can also be used if required.
- If paws are wounded, rub coconut oil on them to soothe the pain
- If you find it challenging to deal with your dog’s paw licking problem, then there is always an option to take some professional help.
Home Remedies To Stop Dogs From Licking Paws
If you don’t want to visit the vet for controlling paw licking in dogs, you can try various home remedies for the treatment. Home remedies are natural ways to treat underlying diseases and are extremely easy to implement.
Below are a few home remedies to control paw licking in your dogs:
- Change your dog’s diet and meals
- Use apple cider vinegar for soaking dog’s paws
- Add fish oil to your dog’s diet
- Look out for any fleas or ticks
- Use protective boots
Paw licking is common in dogs, but it usually doesn’t turn out to be a significant health problem. If your dog licks their paws constantly, first seek out why they’re doing this. Then, if you think the problem is treatable by yourself, try some of the above home remedies.
If the situation seems out of control with your dog developing redness signs on their legs, it’s advisable to visit your vet. Your vet will help your dog get some comfort by treating any underlying injury in their feet.