Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?Updated: November 18, 2022
"In a clinical study that was conducted, dogs who were suffering from GI issues and abnormalities were more likely to lick their paws compared to dogs who were healthy."
Why do dogs lick their paws? A dog licking paws is a common pet behavior, but can lead to questions from pet parents. From time to time, you will see your dog licking their paws and feet. They do this for a variety of reasons. Let’s take a look at why dogs lick their paws so that you can answer the question, “why does my dog lick his paws?”
While it is absolutely normal for your dog to lick their paws, excessive paw licking is an indication that there is a problem. We will discuss possible problems associated with a dog constantly licking paws and solutions for your dog licking feet and paws.
Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws?
Your dog licking paws can be due to a number of reasons. It can be that your dog is a self-groomer and finds comfort in keeping themselves clean through licking. This is particularly common after meals, coming in after some playtime outdoors, and settling down for sleep. Dogs licking their paws can be as simple as being uncomfortable with fur that is out of place.
Even dogs who are not really into self-grooming will clean their paws (though not obsessively). So, why do dogs lick their paws? It's their natural instinct. However, you should be noted that this natural behavior can be a sign of a problem if dog is excessively licking paws.
Possible Causes of Dog Licking Paws
If you ever notice your dog constantly licking paws and feet, then it could be possible that there is a problem. It can either be a sign of an underlying health concern or a behavioral issue in dogs. The following are the most common possible reasons on why your dog lick their paws excessively:
Dog licking paws due to pain. A Dog licking his paws can be a sign of pain or irritation. If your dog is licking only one paw, it is an indication of irritation or pain. And this suggests that the pain is actually coming from the paw they are licking. Pain in that area can be caused by insect bites, wounds, thorns, etc.
On the other hand, if your dog is licking their paw and then limping (and you do not see anything (stuck) in their paw, it can mean there's a fracture, inflammation, or a muscle sprain. A dog limping and licking paws should be taken to the vet for an evaluation.
What you can do: Consult your veterinarian and have them examine your dog's paw. If there are foreign objects present, they will remove them. If there are none and yet your dog is licking and limping, then they will perform exams. Sometimes, the licking and limping paw in question will be examined with an x-ray to rule out the cause of the problem with your dog licking their paws.
Paw licking from yeast infection and allergies. Excessive paw licking can also be caused by allergies or yeast infections that are present in your furbaby's paws. Allergy triggers include your dog's diet, weeds, harmful chemicals in your lawn, like herbicides, pesticides or in your house like carpet cleaning products that your dog might've come in contact with. If you see your dog licking his paws and chewing at his paws be sure to take this into consideration. Paw licking after being outside or exposed to a common allergen are clear signs of allergies in dogs licking paws
What you can do: If it's caused by their diet, you can consider changing their diet for a hypoallergenic dog diet that will still sustain their daily nutritional needs. If your dog licking his paws because of harmful chemicals, make it a habit to always clean your dog's paws at certain times like after a time outdoor, after walking, after cleaning your house or lawn, etc. to prevent further irritation. Also, make sure to keep any harmful substances out of your furbaby's reach.
If allergies in dogs licking their paws are the cause, be sure to provide your dog with dog allergy supplments. Allergy SoftSupps® act as allergy meds for dogs that help prevent skin allergies through anti-inflammatory benefits. These dog allergy supplements can be fed to your dog every day as a part of a healthy dog diet. You can also wipe your dog's paws off with Pet WiPees™ Dog All Purpose + Allergy wipes after they spend time outside. These gentle wipes will help wipe away environmental irritants.
Dog licking paws due to gastrointestinal issues. The excessive licking of your dog on can also mean your dog might be going through some gastrointestinal problems. Why do dogs lick their paws with due to gastrointestinal issues? In a clinical study that was conducted, dogs who were suffering from GI issues and abnormalities were more likely to exhibit GI issues compared to dogs who were healthy.
What you can do: Your vet knows best. Have your furbaby checked for proper diagnosis and proper treatment plan that will help your dog synthesize important hormones. These hormones can support their body system and help balance out the helpful and harmful bacteria in the gut.
Dog paw licking due to boredom. Dogs are active animals who love to walk, run, play, and scavenge so it is disappointing to know that some of today's dogs are often just kept in cages or in a small yard for most hours of the day. Dogs who have naturally high-energies may seem to have endless energy. If they are not fulfilled by canine enrichment activities like brain games for dogs and exercise, they resort to negative activities, like excessive chewing, excessive barking, and yes, excessive licking of paws. A dog licking his paws and feet can be a sign that your dog is bored.
What you can do: Ensure that your dog gets enough activities for the day. Give them frequent exercises and playtime. Take them to a walk to the park, play fetch, socialize with other dogs and people in your neighborhood for at least 30 minutes daily. It's also important that you do these things on a fixed schedule every day so that your dog won't engage in destructive activities because of boredom since they have something to look forward to. We know you are busy, but these activities can make all the difference for your dog. It’s also recommended to give your dog Gnawtlers® to chew on to stimulate their brain. This will take some of the attention off paw licking.
Paw licking due to stress and anxiety. Anxious and stressed-out dogs find comfort and relief by licking their paws excessively. The triggers of such stress and anxiety depend and vary from one dog to another. However, you want to make sure that your dog is not using excessive paw licking as a coping technique to deal with anxiety, which is a common reason why dogs do lick their paws.
What you can do: Provide a healthy and stress-free environment for your furbaby. Determine what triggers their anxiety and avoid it as much as possible. You can also provide your dog with Calming SoftSupps® with Suntheanine® which promotes a sense of relaxation without the added drowsiness. That will help act as a calming aid in stressful situations so that you don’t end up with a dog licking feet or paws excessively.
Paw licking due to fleas and tick infestations. These parasites can cause excessive paw licking, especially if the fleas and ticks are seeking refuge on your dog's paws. Why dogs lick their paws can’t be explained by your furbaby, so it is up to you to check for all the possible causes. If your pup has fleas and ticks irritating him or her, there is a good chance your dogs licking their paws to deal with the irritation.
What you can do: Always check if your dog has fleas and ticks. You can provide proven-safe flea medications to your furbaby and always keep your house & lawn clean & disinfected all the time to get rid and prevent fleas and ticks from coming back.
Paw licking for relaxation. Sometimes dogs excessively lick their paws not because there is a problem but because this helps them sleep. Dogs licking their paws is their way of soothing themselves. Usually, a dog licking their paws to relax will not be excessive or obsessive.
What you can do: If there is no sign of any inflammation, redness, pain, boredom, or anxiety, then this shouldn't be a cause of concern.
How Pet Parents® Can Help with Dogs Licking Paws
Pet Parents® is here to help as we have products that can help you manage your dog from licking their paws. As mentioned above, some of the common causes of why your dog excessively lick their paws are yeast infections, allergies, stress, and anxiety.
Pet Parents® offers Pet Parents® Allergy SoftSupps® that contain colostrum that fuels your dog’s under-active immune system or reduces an overactive immune system. It helps seal your dog’s GI tract, which in turn prevents infection & allergy symptoms. Our Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that support healthy skin & coat, & has been presented to aid in a decrease in inflammation and an improvement in itchiness. Allergy SoftSupps® can be given daily with the number of supplements depending on your dog’s weight. If your dog licks its paws, do this every day so that you prevent allergic reactions.
We also offer Pet Parents® Calming SoftSupps® which contain Thiamine (Vitamin B1). These dog supplements assist in stressful situations by helping your dog’s nervous system & brain to function properly and strengthen their immune system. And L-Tryptophan, an amino acid, considered to be a natural anti-depressant, that produces serotonin. This is key in regulating the responses to stress & anxiety in your dog.
There are also Gnawtlers®, premium antler chews from elks and deer, that can help mentally stimulate your dog and prevent boredom. These elk antler chews and deer antler chews are safe as they do not splinter easily. They are also natural and contain no harmful dyes or artificial flavors. These are a great option to help provide canine enrichment and give your dog an alternative to licking their paws.
"Pet Parents® offers allergy-fighting supplements that contain colostrum that fuels an under-active immune system or reduces an overactive immune system & helps seal the GI tract, which prevents infection & allergy symptoms."
Have you found yourself asking, “Why do dogs lick their paws?” Dog licking paws can be a cause of concern for us, pet parents, especially when it becomes excessive. But there is always a reason why dogs lick paws, so you can find efficient ways about how you can deal with it. A dog constantly licking paws can be a sign that there is something deeper going on, like allergies or pain. A dog licking their paws can be a sign of some discomfort or nothing at all. So, don’t stress if your dog keeps licking his feet. Figure out the triggers that cause your dog to lick his paws and feet. Consult your veterinarian with any concerns for their health and provide dog supplements to help prevent any itchiness.
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