Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws So Much?

Dogs often lick their paws excessively if they are itchy, irritated or painful. A paw injury or foreign object may explain a sudden onset of paw-licking. 1 The dog may have stepped on something that causes discomfort, like a sharp object or hot pavement.

Why is my dog obsessed with licking his paws?

  • If your dog seems obsessed with licking his paws, a compulsive disorder might be to blame. Although there might not always be a specific reason, sometimes abuse, excessive confinement, pain, separation anxiety and other stress-inducing factors can trigger an irresistible urge to engage in repetitive behavior.


What your dog is trying to warn about when they lick their paws?

Paw licking can be a sign of pain, allergy, boredom, anxiety, dry skin, hormone imbalances or the presence of fleas or ticks. If you are concerned there is an underlying health issue, seek veterinarian advice. A force-free behaviorist can help you understand if your dog is suffering from anxiety.

Why does my dog lick her paws all the time?

As with other dog behaviors, there can be several reasons that lead dogs to lick or chew their paws. These include injuries; skin problems; environmental, parasite, or food allergies; and boredom or anxiety.

How do I treat my dogs licking paws?

Home Remedies For Dog Licking Paws

  1. Soak Your Dog’s Paws in an Apple Cider Vinegar Mix.
  2. Use a Baking Soda Soak.
  3. Soak Paws in Oatmeal.
  4. Apply Coconut Oil.
  5. Reassess Your Dog’s Diet.
  6. Try a New Dog Shampoo.
  7. Try a Chamomile Bath.
  8. Use Pest Medications.

How do I get my dog to stop licking his paws?

A simple way to address behavioral paw-licking is to distract your dog. Take them for more walks, play with them more often, and offer them toys to hold their focus. Don’t scold them for licking, but don’t reward them with treats either.

How do I know if my dog has a yeast infection on his paws?

If a yeast infection is present in the paws (one of the most common areas), the paws will become red and itchy, and there may even be a brown discharge present in the nail beds. Dogs with a yeast infection in their paws may lick their paws more than normal, and hair loss may occur as a result.

How often should dogs lick their paws?

“ Pets should only lick at their feet for cleaning or grooming themselves,” says Dr. Landsberg. “Any more than that is abnormal.” While your dog obsessively licking one spot could be behavioral, Dr.

What foods cause dogs to lick their paws?

Dog foods and treats with ingredients such as dairy, wheat, soy, beef, or chicken can trigger allergic reactions and tempt your dog to “scratch the itch” by licking their paws excessively. If your pup only displays this behavior following mealtimes or after eating certain foods, allergies may be to blame.

How can I get my dog to stop licking his paws without a cone?

Alternatives to the “cone of shame” are inflatable collars, soft E-collars and neck brace collars. Try covering the wound with soft fabric secured by medical tape to prevent licking. Keep pets busy with other fun things to distract them from licking wounds.

Why do dogs lick their paws before bed?

Some dogs lick their paws before bed or lick themselves to sleep. This is just their way of relaxing and soothing themselves. If there is no redness or swelling, this type of paw-licking should not be a concern.

Help! Why is My Dog Excessively Licking Their Paws?

Causes and treatments for paw licking. Daniela Lopez contributed to this report. Originally published on December 27, 2021. Lisa Chip / courtesy of Adobe Stock Sign up for The Wildest’s email to receive news and updates. Dogs’ paw licking, in contrast to humans’ finger licking, which indicates that they have eaten something delicious, can indicate a health problem. Despite the fact that paw licking is a typical activity in dogs, a history of excessive licking may be an indicator of a more severe issue.

Furthermore, because of the increased wetness, persistent licking might result in a secondary infection (bacterial or yeast) in the mouth.

Kristi Flynn, assistant professor and veterinarian at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, “whereas humans with allergies generally have sniffling and sneezing, animals with environmental allergies often exhibit indications via their skin.”

So, Why Do Dogs Lick in the First Place?

Starting with the most fundamental habit, grooming, let’s go through several examples. It’s likely that you’ve observed your dog licking their paws before taking a nap on the couch, and this is a normal behavior. When this conduct becomes more severe, it becomes a problem, and the source of the problem is frequently environmental. According Dr. Flynn, the most prevalent reason of paw licking is often environmental allergies, commonly known as atopic dermatitis (atopic dermatitis means “atopic dermatitis”).

Common Causes For Paw Licking

  • Environmental allergies, flea allergies, food allergies, dry skin, injury or sickness are all possibilities. boredom, obsessional or nervous conduct, etc.

Environmental Allergies

An increase in ear-scratching and foot-licking are frequent reactions to things like grass, mold spores, dust mites, and plant pollens among those who suffer from environmental allergies such as atopic dermatitis. If you see your dog licking excessively and more frequently after outings to the park or a stroll around the block, it is possible that they have an environmental allergy to anything they are exposed to. There are many treatment options for this, but a simple first step is to thoroughly rinse the pollens and other allergens off the foot.


Flea Allergies

Flea allergy dermatitis is a condition in which a dog’s immune system responds excessively to flea saliva (FAD). Because of this allergic response, an inflammation of the skin occurs, which typically results in an exceedingly itchy sensation for the unfortunate pup in question.

The itch produced by flea allergy will often prompt dogs to scratch and lick their paws and rump in an attempt to alleviate the irritation. Fur loss, thicker skin, redness, and hot patches are all indications of flea allergic dermatitis, which can be difficult to diagnose.

Food Allergies

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) occurs when your dog’s immune system overreacts to anything (such as a protein or complex carbohydrate) in his or her food. It is vital to remember that a food allergy varies from a food sensitivity in that allergies will trigger an immediate immunological response, whereas food sensitivity would only produce digestive discomfort. “Food allergies in dogs are uncommon, and they typically appear as itching rather than swelling of the face, as we see in people,” Dr.

Beef, dairy, wheat, egg, and chicken are the most prevalent foods that cause allergies in dogs, followed by peanuts.

Dry Skin

Dogs’ skin becomes itchy, chapped, and flaky as a result of having dry skin (dandruff). There are a variety of factors that can contribute to flaky skin in dogs, including over-bathing, which strips the dog’s natural oils, dry humidity, and the allergens described above. It is important to maintain a regular grooming plan for your dog in order to keep his coat in good condition. If your dog’s skin is dry, you may experience irritation, redness, and dandruff all over his body.

Injury or Illness

Another possible reason for a dog’s frequent licking is a paw injury that has occurred to the paw itself. When it comes to allergies in pets, pet parents should be on the lookout for more than simply seasonal allergies throughout the summer months. In addition, Dr. Flynn points out that “blown pads” (where the surface is blistered or abraded off) can be caused by a dog running on heated asphalt or a rough surface such as an outdoor tennis court during the winter months. The road salt may be quite unpleasant to dogs’ paws during the winter months, says the author of the article.

Flynn points out that while paw chewing is infrequent, there are more significant consequences that should be considered, such as deep soft tissue infections, toe fractures, nail bed disease, auto-immune illness, and, in rare cases, cancer, among others.

ObsessiveAnxious Behavior

Preventive measures should be taken to rule out medical illnesses before considering behavioral disorders, advises Dr. Flynn. Dogs, like people, are often on the lookout for ways to soothe themselves when they are stressed. In some circumstances, Dr. Flynn believes that this practice is a type of self-soothing for pain, while in others, it is a form of anxiety relief. Is there a change in your dog’s surroundings (noise, schedule, new dogs, or people) that would be causing him to seek this type of stress-relieving treatment?

Paw licking, toy/blanket sucking, tail licking, and tail chasing are all examples of obsessive behaviors that dogs with CCD exhibit often. Make an effort to determine the source of your dog’s worried and nervous behavior, and then use redirection and exercise to alleviate the situation.


While any breed can become bored, it is most common in working breeds, which include, but are not limited to, German Shepherds, German Shorthaired Pointers, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, Irish Setters, Labrador Retrievers, and Pointers, among others. When a dog becomes bored, he or she may simply occupy themselves by licking their lips while looking for anything to do.

How to Prevent Paw Licking

Excessive licking can result in hot patches, lick dermatitis, and infections, which are all secondary causes of worry. If you believe your dog is licking or chewing excessively, it’s critical that you stop the licking and contact your veterinarian for an assessment right away. Dogs have the ability to build a mountain out of a molehill and may cause a great deal of damage in a short period of time, warns Dr. Flynn. It may be helpful to rinse the foot well with lukewarm water and then dry it properly in order to make the region more comfortable in the meanwhile.” While you are waiting to be seen by your veterinarian, you may want to consider obtaining an e-collar (cone) or a basket muzzle to save your dog from getting hurt.

To be able to recognize an odd scenario in your dog, you must first understand what is considered typical for your dog.

It is important to keep track of your dog’s symptoms since your veterinarian will need to know them in order to properly diagnose the condition.

Flynn recommends diagnostic tests, such as cytology or therapy trials.

Any of these conditions necessitates a trip to the veterinarian.” As is always the case, if you have any concerns about your dog’s behavior—especially if the paw chewing is abrupt, extreme, and continues for an extended length of time—it is advisable to have your veterinarian evaluate your dog.

Related articles

  • A leading veterinary dermatologist explains what works (and what doesn’t) for pet parents who are concerned about their pets’ allergies.

Daniela Lopez

Daniela Lopez is a digital media professional who has been a regular contributor to The Bark for many years.

Why is My Dog Licking Its Paws? 14 Possible Reasons Animal Hospital

Dogs licking, slurping, and chewing their paws are something that most pet owners have witnessed at some time in their lives, but when a dog licks its paws on a consistent basis, some people wonder whether it is something to be concerned about. Then they’ll question, “Why is my dog licking his paws?” and we’ll have to explain. It might be anything from humdrum dullness to yeast infections to painful growths, and the fact is that it could be anything. As a result, we hope that this list will assist you in identifying other signs and symptoms, as well as when paw licking is more of a problem.

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Why do dogs lick their paws?

To a certain extent, this form of self-grooming behavior is typical, however repeated licking and chewing may occur for a variety of causes, including but not limited to: Injury is the first reason your dog will lick. If your dog is feeling any form of discomfort in their feet, they will lick. Your dog may have some form of injury on one of its feet, as seen by its licking only one paw. This might be anything from an incision from a sharp rock to a wound from a thorn between its toes or anything else.

  • Infection with fleas and dermatitis as a result of this (FAD) If the fleas continue to bite, the dog will continue to lick.
  • Hot spots, hair loss, and other symptoms associated with fleas are common if the licking is caused by a FAD infection.
  • Fleas, of course, aren’t the only parasites that might cause problems for your dog.
  • Food Allergies are the fourth reason.
  • You may notice a variety of behaviors in your dog in this situation, including licking paws, hot patches, rash, and severe gastro symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Other Allergies are the fifth reason.
  • These include things like pesticides, mold, weeds, different types of grass and different types of pollen.

Cleaners, shampoos, and perfumes are among the reasons.

For example, if you’ve recently experienced a flea infestation, your dog is likely to have a significant reaction to flea-control powders and shampoos.

Yeast or fungal infection is the seventh reason.

Infections caused by bacteria or fungal (yeast) growth are the most common types of fungal infections.

Dermatitis can be caused by bacterial infections in the skin, which can manifest itself in a variety of ways.

Skin Dryness (Reason #9)The dryness of your dog’s skin throughout the winter months.

It is possible that your pet is taking a prescription medication that has a side effect of dry skin.

Road salts are the tenth reason.

While it is true that we do not have to worry about salt on the roads or balls of ice between our pets’ toes on a regular basis here in Jacksonville, Florida, those customers who may spend some time up North should be aware that this is an issue.

Again, paw licking may just be a reaction to discomfort.

Keep an eye out for limping or stiffer mobility.

It is possible for your dog to develop a cyst, tumor, or abnormal development.

Reason number thirteen: AnxietyWhy do dogs gnaw their feet when they are nervous?

When they are isolated from their people or before going to sleep, they may lick their lips.

Reason number fourteen: boredom Dogs biting their feet, similar to molting in birds, may be a result of stress and boredom in the owner.

Of course, these are only a few of the hundreds of possible answers to the question, “Why is my dog licking her paws?” There are countless other possibilities. Those who are concerned about this chronic behavior, on the other hand, may consider calling their local veterinarian.

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws? 6 Causes Explained

Furry pals never fail to captivate us with their own personalities and characteristics. The reasons for our dogs’ quirks, which range from sudden barking sessions to frantic tail chases, are not always obvious at first glance. Paw licking is a typical unusual activity in many dogs, with a wide range of possible causes. Here are some of the more popular theories. We’ve discussed the many reasons why dogs lick their paws, as well as how this behavior may be related to their general health. Dogs may not be the first creatures that spring to mind when you think of pets that are committed to self-grooming, but they should be.

  1. This is a typical, healthy habit and an indication that your furry buddy wants to be clean (despite the fact that their antics during bathtime imply otherwise!).
  2. Dogs that have dry or itchy skin are more likely than not to lick their paws excessively, and this is one of the most common causes.
  3. When your dog is exposed to certain grasses, weeds, or dust, he or she may experience an allergic response, causing them to lick their paws furiously to ease the itching sensation.
  4. Keeping your dog clean may be beneficial in alleviating environmental allergy-related symptoms in some cases.
  5. In the same way that some individuals with food allergies may suffer an itchy throat, many dogs experience an unpleasant sensation on their paws that is comparable to that of humans.
  6. Consult your veterinarian if you believe your dog has food allergies; they will be able to assist you in selecting a diet that is suited for your pup’s requirements.
  7. Dogs lick their wounds to relieve the agony they are experiencing.
  8. Keep an eye out for anything unusual on your dog’s toes, and if you find anything, treat it using a pet first aid kit and thoroughly wash the afflicted area.
  9. An other prevalent cause of licking is discomfort associated with arthritis.
  10. Your veterinarian can assist you in managing your dog’s arthritis and can recommend a treatment option that may alleviate suffering.

It is possible that boredom and separation anxiety will result in excessive licking, as well as other undesirable behaviors like as barking, digging, or destructive gnawing Don’t deny your canine companion access to goods that will make them feel more comfortable when they’re alone at home, such as their favorite blanket or a fundog chew toy.

  • Because dogs travel the world on four legs, their paws are naturally the first place many parasitic organisms choose to make their home.
  • Although parasites may be largely concentrated on one paw, licking or scratching numerous body areas is a typical symptom that your dog is coping with these bugs.
  • Pests should be checked for on your dog’s skin, and you should seek advice from your veterinarian to assist you resolve the problem.
  • Despite the fact that there are a variety of reasons why dogs lick their paws frequently, it is always important to respond swiftly.
  • These problems only serve to worsen paw licking, which may result in edema or redness.
  • Remember that the occasional licking is totally normal and might even be beneficial to your dog’s hygiene.

It is important to detect and solve any difficulties with your best friend’s licking behavior so that you can spend less time worrying and more time participating in the activities you like doing together. Pets 101 – Health and Well-Being | Four Paws Inc.

Why is my dog licking and chewing at her paws?

Is your dog licking the bottoms of his feet on a regular basis? Has their obsession become so ingrained that they appear to have lost interest in anything else in their environment? What does this mean, and is there a way to treat it if it occurs? Continue reading to discover about the various reasons of your dog’s paw licking and what you can do to help him stop licking his paws.

Is it normal for my dog to lick his paws?

First and foremost, you should be aware that it is quite natural for your dog to lick his paws every now and then. However, if it appears to be the only activity they are interested in, it is time to take them to the veterinarian for a checkup and examination. This is due to the possibility that there is an underlying issue. The following are some things to look out for when this behavior begins: Is it something that started suddenly and has been going on for a long time? What symptoms do you have?

  • Is there any odor in the room?
  • It is important to visit the veterinarian as soon as possible since these types of behaviors have a tendency to become compulsive in the long run.
  • In addition, prolonged licking can cause light-colored dogs’ fur to get stained, and the wetness can provide an excellent environment for infection-causing bacteria to thrive.
  • An infinite loop will impede the healing process since it will stall the healing process.

What are some causes for your dog to lick his paws?

In this article, we’ll look at 10 possible reasons why your dog may be licking his paws constantly.

1. Pain

Pain or irritation might drive your dog to lick his paw, and this can happen for a variety of reasons. This indicates that your pet may be in discomfort if the licking is restricted to one foot. It might be the result of an insect bite, thorns, a minor wound, embedded glass, a broken nail, or any number of other factors. It is important to not overlook this conduct even if you cannot see anything. Take your canine companion to the veterinarian. In addition to a sprain or fracture of the muscle, there might be something more serious going on.

2. Allergies

Chronic licking can also be caused by allergies. Aside from that, your dog may be allergic to his food, chemicals in the house or yard, weeds and grasses, medicine and other substances, among other things. Although it may take some time and observation to determine the source of your dog’s itching in the paws, you must first determine what your dog is allergic to in order to solve the problem. In order to obtain further information, your veterinarian may also prescribe a blood test.

3. Gastrointestinal Issues

A research published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, titledGastrointestinal diseases in dogs with excessive licking of surfaces, came to the conclusion that gastrointestinal troubles were present in a large number of dogs that demonstrated aberrant licking behavior.

There were 14 gastrointestinal abnormalities among the 19 licking dogs, which included lymphocytic-plasmacytic infiltration, chronic pancreatitis, and stomach foreign bodies, to name a few examples.

4. Boredom and Anxiety

Boredom is one of the most prevalent problems that dogs have when they won’t stop licking their paws. Dogs have been bored in modern times since they don’t have enough to do in an apartment or a small backyard. These creatures used to walk, hunt, and investigate in order to find food. Urban living, on the other hand, might lead to boredom and excessive licking. Fortunately, you have the ability to contribute to the solution! It is possible to keep your dog from being bored by taking him for daily walks, playing with him, never leaving him alone for extended periods of time, and enabling him to mix with other dogs.

Separation anxiety, noise phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorders are all potential causes of separation anxiety.

5. Hormonal Imbalance

A dog’s licking of his paws might also be caused by a hormonal imbalance in the body. It is possible for their body to create too much cortisol or not enough thyroid hormone, for example, when there is an imbalance in their hormonal balance. This may lead a dog to develop skin problems that are itchy and uncomfortable.

6. Dry Skin

Dry skin can be a problem for some breeds, but not all of them. It can also be brought on by over-bathing or the surrounding environment (cold and dry weather). When a dog’s skin becomes extremely dry, it is probable that it will get itchy, leading your dog to begin licking in effort to relieve the irritation.

7. Fleas or Ticks

Some breeds are more prone to dry skin than others. This condition can also be brought on by over-bathing or the surrounding environment, among other things (cold and dry weather). When a dog’s skin is extremely dry, it is probable that it will become itchy, leading your dog to begin licking in an attempt to relieve the irritation and soothe the skin.

8. De-icing Salts and Cold Weather

Finally, de-icing salts or hurting paws produced by ice balls are the final two causes of itchy paws that lead the dog to lick them excessively on our list of reasons for itchy paws. De-icing salts are chemicals that are used to melt ice on driveways and roads during the winter, and they can cause chemical burns on the dog’s paws if they come into contact with them. Ice balls, on the other hand, can form between hairy toes and cause cracking, bleeding, and hair tugging, all of which can be quite uncomfortable.

It is possible to massage Crisco between his paw pads and into his fur if ice gets lodged between his toes.

Make careful to keep the hair in the affected region short.

What else can I try to prevent my dog from licking his paws?

In addition to the suggestions we’ve already made (as well as getting your dog to the veterinarian just in case), you can have your dog wear an Elizabethan collar or cone to keep him from licking. Play with your dog on a regular basis to keep them entertained and away from boredom. If they have something to do with their time, they are less prone to develop obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

If you notice signs such as inflammation, bleeding, redness, and soreness in the affected region, do not hesitate to take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible to have the problem addressed.

Read more:

Skin Allergies in Dogs: How to Get Rid of the Itch Dogs with Hot Spots (Moist Dermatitis) are common. Tips for Dealing With A Nail-Breaking Canine

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What Should I Do If My Dog Keeps Licking Its Paws?

There are a variety of reasons why dogs lick their paws. They most likely lick the bottoms of their feet on a daily basis to keep them clean. A dog’s excessive paw-licking, on the other hand, may be indicative of a problem, such as a cyst, an infection, or an injury in your dog’s paw pads. The next time you notice your dog licking the bottom of its feet, it’s time to take action. You’ll learn why your dog is licking its paws and how to respond in the most acceptable manner.

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Why Dogs Lick Their Paws

Dogs may lick the bottoms of their feet from time to time as a kind of self-grooming. Even dogs that don’t groom themselves on a regular basis will clean the bottoms of their feet from time to time. There is probably nothing to be concerned about if you observe your dog licking its paws every once in a while. If your dog appears to be licking its paws regularly or furiously, this is not typical behavior. This is typically a symptom of a medical condition or a behavioral problem.

Health Problems and Paw-Licking

If you suspect that your dog’s paw-licking is odd, the first step is to identify whether or not the dog’s paws are suffering from a health condition. In the event that their paws are itchy, inflamed, or uncomfortable, dogs may lick them excessively. A paw injury or the presence of a foreign item in the paw might explain the abrupt commencement of paw-licking. If the dog stepped on something that caused discomfort, such as a sharp object or scorching pavement, the owner should be informed. Another possibility is that he was stung or bitten by a bug or another animal.

  • Foreign materials such as splinters or grass awns can become lodged in the paws, causing inflammation and infection.
  • Alternatively, your dog may be suffering from arthritis or an injury to the soft tissue or bones of his or her paw.
  • A paw injury, a foreign item, or a growth are more likely causes of your dog’s increased attention to one particular paw over the others.
  • The Spruce / written by Katie Kerpel Allergies in dogs are a fairly common reason for them to lick their paws for alleviation.
  • Many dogs suffer from allergies, which cause their paws to itch.
  • Developing bacterial or fungal infections of the paws in dogs is not unusual, and this requires a trip to the veterinarian to be treated.

When a dog licks its paws repeatedly, the pads remain moist and are more prone to infection by germs and fungus. External parasite illnesses like as fleas, mange, or hookworms can also cause the paws to become extremely itchy, which can result in excessive licking.

What to Do If Your Dog Is Licking Their Paws Too Much

If your dog appears to be licking their paws on a regular basis, you might start by taking a good look at the paws. Examine the tops and bottoms of the feet, as well as the toenails and nail beds, as well as the areas between the digits of the feet. Examine the area for foreign items, wounds, bruising, bleeding, swelling, redness, crusting, scabs, discharge, broken nails, and anything else that appears to be out of the ordinary. If first aid is required, administer it. It is critical that you visit your veterinarian regardless of whether the paws appear weird to you.

It is important to note that excessive licking frequently results in saliva stains on the fur around the paws.

Your veterinarian may refer you to another expert if your dog has a condition that need further testing or treatment.

If your dog licks their paws excessively and there is no anatomical explanation for this, it is possible that your dog has acquired a behavioral problem.

Behavioral Problems and Paw-Licking

If all medical issues have been checked out, your veterinarian may conclude that the paw licking is occurring for behavioral reasons, however this is a far less common explanation. It might be anything as basic as boredom. It might also be a symptom of stress, worry, or anxiety, among other things. Dogs may lick their lips when they are bored, and this behavior may have grown into something that is calming or rewarding for your canine companion. Obsessive-compulsive behaviors in your dog might be extreme, resulting in them licking the soles of their feet on a regular basis.

Take them for more walks, engage in more play with them, and provide them with toys to keep their attention.

If none of these options work, try having your pet’s veterinarian do another examination to rule out any other possible causes or treatments.

Consult with a dog trainer or a behaviorist for assistance.


  • To successfully modify a dog’s behavior to discontinue paw licking and chewing, time, patience, and consistency are required
  • Consider using a topical treatment with a bitter taste that is safe for pets to deter licking. If this does not work, it may be required to use a physical constraint such as an e-collar. It is recommended that you consult with a professional dog trainer, animal behaviorist, or veterinarian specialist in behavior for extra assistance.

Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws? Causes, Treatments & Prevention

Wellness Have you ever had a dog lick your face and thought it was the cutest thing in the world until it simply wouldn’t stop? If you have, you know how frustrating it is. Even the prettiest pups have their limits when it comes to interacting with us humans, but what about when the dog licks itself? New pet owners may be curious about whether it is typical for a dog to lick a certain region of their body on a consistent basis, or whether it might be an indication of anything more severe. Always be on the watch for signs that your dog is in need of assistance, even if the behavior appears to be charming at first.

Everything you need to know about paw licking and your dog has been compiled with a little help from Dr. Rachel Mar, veterinarian and blogger at The Vitality Vet.

Is paw licking normal in dogs?

Is it necessary to be concerned? Don’t be alarmed just yet; paw licking can be a regular part of a dog’s self-grooming routine in some cases. Dr. Mar points out that this is especially true in breeds with longer coats, since these dogs are ensuring that no foreign objects, such as thorns or twigs, are left in their paws as a result of their hunting behavior. In contrast, Dr. Mar adds that excessive licking of an animal’s paws, or licking of the foot in general, can lead to obsessive compulsive behavior and lead to additional irritation or infection of an animal’s paw.

In order to determine if the paw licking is random and brief, or whether it has developed into a habit that lasts longer than a minute or is repeated in the same position or location, it is your responsibility to observe and look out for your dog.

Mar warns that this can result in redness of the skin and even loss of fur in some instances.

Of course, it’s possible that the dog is licking as a result of an underlying health condition that the dog is attempting to treat; in any event, if you see licking that hasn’t previously been present, you should consult a veterinarian.

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Reasons your dog is licking his paws

As previously said, it is possible that your dog’s licking is the result of an obsessive compulsive impulse. Ordinarily, if you stop the dog repeatedly every time they begin licking, they will eventually stop and move on to another activity. Pay close attention to whether your dog is concentrating on a particular area of the body and whether their habits alter over time.


“When we notice licking, one of the first things we want to rule out is arthritis in the paw or foot joints,” explains Dr. Mar. “This is one of the most common things we see.” It is possible that the dog is experiencing discomfort or tenderness in the afflicted region and is licking it in an attempt to find some type of relief. If you observe any changes in your dog’s behavior, it is always a good idea to take him to the veterinarian so that he may be evaluated for any further health concerns that may be present.


Contact dermatitis (Acral Lick Granuloma), often known as sores, is a health problem that dogs can get themselves into when they repeatedly lick a specific location for any reason. reveals Dr. Mar. “This is a sore that develops from frequent licking of the paw or foot area, causing the dog to lose his or her hair and then the skin to get so raw that it ulcerates and begins to bleed,” he continues. If you discover that the dog is licking again, it is critical that you stop them immediately.


In the same way that arthritis may cause pain, soreness, and other symptoms in a dog, allergies or existing infections can cause the same symptoms in a dog.

According to Dr. Mar, “in general, dogs licking their paws are telling us that there is a problem here and that we should let me attempt to solve it.”

How to treat paw licking

Identifying the source of paw licking in your animal is essential to treating it effectively, and this may take a trip to the veterinarian’s office to do. “As veterinarians, it is our goal to assist you and your dog in getting to the bottom of this and to do everything we can to eliminate the underlying reasons,” Dr. Mar explains. It is possible that this is a behavioral issue, in which case training is required to halt the licking.

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How to prevent paw licking

After you’ve taken your dog to the veterinarian to establish the underlying reason of his excessive licking, there are several things you may do at home to help him stop. According to Dr. Mar, the first thing you can do at home is put a collar (cone) on your dog so that they can’t reach the paw and aggravate it even more.” If you and your dog are physically active and like going on hikes, walks, or even to the beach, be sure to inspect your dog’s feet and hair for burrs, tar, foxtails, and other foreign objects to prevent a problem from developing.

Mar explains, “This will not only help you bond with your dog even more, but it will also help them learn to trust you even more.” It will also help you prevent additional problems with your dog’s paw since you will be able to spot any problems before they start.

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Dogs lick their paws for a variety of reasons, and they do so for a variety of reasons. If your dog is licking himself constantly, it is crucial to identify the source of the problem before disciplining him. Allergies are one of the most prevalent reasons for dogs to lick their paws. Allergies can be triggered by the environment or by a person’s diet. Watch for seasonal patterns and determine whether or not the licking corresponds to a certain period of year. Typically, this will inform us that the cause is an environmental allergy or intolerance.

  • It is the most cost-effective method to achieve this is to switch your dog’s diet (duck and potato diets are a popular choice for this) and see if it stops licking.
  • Another typical cause for dogs to lick their paws excessively is when they are in discomfort, either in the paw or elsewhere in the body, according to the ASPCA.
  • This can be difficult to detect since dogs are so adept at concealing their discomfort, but it can occur and is something you should discuss with your veterinarian.
  • Licking their paws for behavioral reasons is a common occurrence in dogs that are bored or frustrated, and licking the paw is one way in which this boredom presents itself.
  • Not all dogs who suffer from boredom and frustration are high energy dogs, so I wouldn’t rule out the chance that your dog is high energy on the outside just because he appears to be peaceful on the inside.
  • For the dogs, we devised training regimens that centered on providing them with a task that would give them a sense of purpose each day, so that when they went to bed at night, their minds were calm enough that licking was not required.

If you detect this problem early on, it is far easier to resolve than if you wait until it has been going on for years and has developed into a significant problem.

Why Does my Dog Lick His Paws?

In our experience as veterinarians, one of the most prevalent signs we observe is the licking of the feet. Pet owners may not even realize that something is wrong with their pets in some cases. It is only when the veterinarian inquires that the problem is disclosed. As a result, what is a typical quantity of dog paw licking, and why would they be licking more than they normally do, are discussed.

So, why do dogs lick their paws?

Licking of the paws is one of the most prevalent signs that we witness in our clinic as veterinarians. Pet owners may not even be aware that something is wrong with their animals at times. That the problem exists is only discovered when the vet inquires. Consequently, how much is a typical level of licking for dogs, and what may be causing them to do so in excess of what is expected of them?

Why are my dog’s feet pink?

It is common for dogs with light or white fur to have orange-pink-brown stains on their paws, especially those that lick them repeatedly. This is a solid clue that they’ve been licking them more than they should have been. Porphyrin, which is found in canine saliva, is responsible for the staining. Liking on a regular basis and repeatedly implies that the saliva is left on the fur, where it dries and removes the colour. The presence of one or more pink-colored toes on your dog is something to be concerned about, and you should look into what is causing it.

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Why could my dog be licking his paws?

It is possible that your dog is licking his paws more than normal for a variety of reasons. We will go over the most prevalent ones below.


The illness known as allergy in domestic dogs is quite frequent, with one out of every 10 dogs exhibiting symptoms. Licking at the paws is one of the most typical signs of diabetes. This is due to the fact that the paws have grown uncomfortable and inflamed. However, in addition to the regular irritation, kids may also develop a fungal or bacterial infection of the skin on their feet, which may exacerbate the itch and make it worse. Other allergy symptoms include ear infections, a recurring unsettled stomach, recurrent skin infections, runny eyes, and an overall feeling of being itchy and uncomfortable.

Injury to pad or Claw

If a dog’s foot is wounded in any manner, he or she will devote special attention to that foot. When you go on a stroll or play in the garden, this form of licking will frequently strike you out of nowhere. It is also typically limited to a single foot – unless your dog has been unlucky enough to injure more than one foot at the same time. Other indicators you can notice are limping, blood patches, and sobs of agony in the face. When a dog is hurt, it is important to remember that certain dogs might behave in an unpredictable manner and may lash out without thinking.

If there is any evidence of damage between the toes or between the pads, you should inspect there as well. Once you’ve determined where the injury is, how large it is, and whether or not it is bleeding, it’s time to contact your veterinarian.

Foreign Object

Dogs will lick their paws repeatedly if they have a foreign item lodged in their paws, just as they would if they had an injury. Most commonly, grass seeds will burrow their way into the skin and form a tunnel. Nails, thorns, and shards of glass are examples of other foreign objects. This is really unpleasant and uncomfortably painful. Dogs are frequently adamant that they must lick the affected region; nevertheless, they are rarely successful in removing the foreign item on their own accord.

Hopefully while any foreign body is still on the surface, rather than after it has made its way inside of the body.


It may surprise you to learn that one of the causes of foot-licking can be traced back to your dog’s age or a history of injury. Dogs suffering from arthritis will occasionally lick the aching joint, almost as if they are trying to calm it. Occasionally, you may observe that they are licking their wrists rather than their paws, but they will lick any painful part if it is available to them. Dogs suffering from arthritis may walk with a limp or seem stiff, particularly when initially waking up after a nap.

Your veterinarian will be able to recommend some treatments that may be effective in alleviating the pain and inflammation in the joints.

Anxiety, Boredom or Habit

A dog’s licking and chewing at his or her feet might be caused by fear, boredom, or a habit. You may notice that your dog licks more frequently during thunderstorms, fireworks displays, or when left alone – all of which indicate that he or she is experiencing anxiety. Mental health is just as essential as physical health in dogs, and it’s critical to do everything we can to diagnose and cure anxiety and boredom. Licking may appear to be a minor indicator when contrasted to the damage they are causing to the home, but over time, they can cause serious harm to themselves and develop difficult-to-treat sores known as Lick Granulomas.

Simply adding additional interest to their day – such as an extra walk or feeding them from a slow feeder – may make all the difference in their overall happiness and wellbeing.

How can I stop my dog from licking his paws?

If your dog is licking his paws, the best course of action is to take him to the veterinarian so that you can determine what is causing the licking in the first place. It is possible that you may have to attempt to keep him from licking your face while you are waiting for an appointment.

In the short term, a plastic ‘buster collar’ or ‘cone of shame’ – or more recent equivalents – are frequently effective methods of deterring them from licking. It’s a good idea to keep one in the house just in case something happens unexpectedly.

So what do I do next?

Whatever the reason for your dog’s licking, your veterinarian is typically the best person to advise you on if it is normal, how much is too much, and what to do about it if it becomes excessive. You can trust your veterinarian to help you through the examination and treatment procedure for your dog, whether the problem is simple (such as the removal of thorns) or complicated (such as allergies or nervousness). You may also be interested in the following items:

6 reasons your dog constantly licks their paws, plus tips to handle this behavior

  • Licking is typical for dogs’ paws, however extremely extensive licking may be indicative of something else going on
  • If your dog licks the same paw on a regular basis, he or she may be in discomfort or suffering from an injury or infection. When you can’t figure out what’s causing your dog’s frequent paw licking, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian. More information may be found in Insider’s Health Reference collection.

In recent weeks, it appears that every time you glance at your beloved puppy, they are licking the bottom of their feet. Is it necessary to be concerned? It all depends on the situation. Pain, injury, and, in certain circumstances, behavioral concerns can all contribute to excessive paw licking. Some dogs may be more prone to anxious grooming than others, and some dogs may be more prone to nervous grooming than others. In order to prevent problems from occurring, it is critical to diagnose the problem as soon as possible, according to Dr.

Because pets are unable to communicate their worries, paying attention to new and unusual habits such as excessive paw licking can assist you in taking actions to address those issues as soon as possible.

1. Pain

In the case of your dog, it is possible that they are licking their paws because they are experiencing pain somewhere on their body. Paw licking, according to Wilson, is a type of “coping strategy” for dogs that are experiencing discomfort. Pain-related licking can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are as follows:

  • Arthritis
  • Pain in other parts of the body, such as lower-neck discomfort
  • Wounds, cysts, and other growths
  • Cancer
  • And more

Chronic conditions such as arthritis and cancer are more prevalent in elderly dogs. In the event that a veterinarian determines that your dog is suffering from arthritis, you may assist manage his or her discomfort — generally with prescription medicine, although the specific treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the problem. Wilson suggests that you consider placing soft runner rugs over slick wood floors for dogs that are having difficulty walking around due to arthritis or other disorders that cause chronic pain.

2. Paw injury

If your dog has a cut or scrape on their paw, or if a thorn, burr, or other foreign object has been lodged in their paw, he or she may lick the area where the injury occurred. If your dog is licking one particular location, he or she is likely to get cut or scraped. However, it is not always straightforward to identify embedded items. Among the plants that might cause licking and chewing are foxtails, which are prickly plants that can get between the toes and cause excessive licking and chewing.

You may assist your pup receive treatment from an ammonia burn by following a few simple steps:

  1. Remove any dirt or debris from the area by rinsing it with water. Mild soap and water should be used to clean the cut or scrape
  2. Apply antibiotic ointment to the wounded paw with a cotton swab
  3. Repeat as necessary. To prevent your dog from licking the cut, cover the area with a sock or place a cone over his neck. This will prevent the wound from becoming infected.

3. Skin conditions and infections

Some skin diseases, such as dermatitis, might cause a person to lick their lips constantly. They can also contribute to secondary issues, such as infection, which can subsequently result in licking of the wound.

“Bacterial or fungal infections are more likely to occur in dogs with hairier feet,” Wilson explained, adding that this is especially true in rainy weather. You may aid in the prevention of these illnesses by doing the following:

  • Taking your dog for a walk on a rainy day and wiping his paws dry
  • In order to keep your pup’s feet safe from things like ice and winter salinity, you might consider using dog booties.

4. Boredom or anxiety

Some dogs may lick their paws in order to comfort themselves. The following are examples of behavioral motivations for continuous licking:

  • Anxiety over being apart
  • Boredom
  • A fear of strangers or loud noises, such as thunder, among other things
  • Phobias Acral lick dermatitis and canine compulsive disorder are among the conditions that might be shown by people. The act of moving into a new setting

Boredness; Anxiety at being apart. A fear of strangers or loud noises, such as thunder, among other things. Acral lick dermatitis and canine compulsive disorder are among the conditions that might be exhibited. The act of moving to a new location;

5. Allergic reaction

Dogs may also lick their paws if they are itchy, and recurrent itching may indicate that the dog is experiencing an allergic response. While it might be difficult to pinpoint the exact source of your dog’s allergies, some potential reasons are as follows:

  • Food
  • It is especially important to avoid grass that has been chemically treated. Fleas
  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Mold

According to the American Kennel Club, there are several other signs of allergies, including the following:

  • In addition, according to the American Kennel Club, allergic reactions might cause the following symptoms:

Wilson recommends wiping your dog’s paws after a frolic in the grass to help reduce allergy reactions to outdoor environmental triggers such as grass, which can cause allergic reactions. If you feel that you may have a food allergy, speak with your veterinarian about putting yourself on an elimination diet.

6. Fleas

Another typical reason of persistent paw licking is a flea infestation, which might be difficult to detect. The majority of flea bites cause itching and irritation, which can result in licking.While you may be able to see the fleas in some cases, some dogs with flea allergies may experience a reaction from a single bite. “They can get one bite when they’re out on a walk and kind of go through this itch cascade,” Wilson explained.Ideally, you should take steps to prevent flea infestations from occurring in the first place by:

  • Inquiring with your veterinarian about flea control solutions for all of the pets in your household
  • If your dog spends a lot of time outside, especially during the warmer months, you should check him for fleas. Getting rid of fleas in your house
  • Preventing your dog from coming into contact with wild or stray animals
  • And

By enquiring with your veterinarian about flea control solutions for all of the dogs in your household; If your dog spends a lot of time outside, especially during the warmer months, you should check for fleas. Getting rid of fleas in your house preventing your dog from coming into contact with wild or stray animals

When to contact your vet

Because excessive paw licking can be caused by a variety of factors, consulting with your veterinarian is usually a smart idea. Not sure if the condition is serious enough to warrant a trip to the veterinarian? A telemedicine service such as Fuzzy, Wilson suggests, noting that it may provide pet parents with additional insight into the alternatives available and prepare them before a full-service vet appointment. Wilson also recommends calling a veterinary telehealth service such as Fuzzy. Keep in mind that a dog that licks one region or paw more than the other may be in discomfort, so it’s important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if you see this sort of licking in your dog.

Insider’s takeaway

The process of determining the cause of your dog’s paw licking might take some time and careful observation on your part. Because dogs are unable to communicate, Wilson explained, they must rely on people to assist them in deciphering the situation. Despite the fact that you can often detect and manage the reasons of excessive paw licking at home, in certain circumstances your dog may require immediate medical attention. If there is any possibility that your dog has been wounded or is in pain, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to confirm a diagnosis and receive the appropriate treatment.

Steph Coelho is a freelance writer and homebody who has a particular interest in home and kitchen products.

Her experience as a full-time home worker who works from home 365 days a year has taught her how to create an environment that is welcoming and comfortable for every activity on her to-do list.

Send an email to [email protected], follow her on Twitter at @seestephrunmtl, or follow her on Instagram at @frontyardharvest.

Although we may gain a compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on one of our links, our reporting and recommendations are always independent and impartial.

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