We know how it goes: We are just trying to enjoy some silence either trying to fall asleep or just have a moment of peace. And then we hear it — our dogs obnoxiously licking their paws, not meaning to stop any time soon. While in some cases it can just be something completely normal, like your dog grooming himself, sometimes it can be a sign of something much more serious going on. If your dog licking his paws are waking you up even later during the night, it continues throughout the day, and most importantly — you think your dog is experiencing some serious discomfort — it’s time to do something.
Your dog licking paws can be a sign of something being wrong with his health. It’s a symptom of pain, skin conditions, allergies, anxiety and much more. That’s why we advice you to inform yourself about all the possible reasons and when it’s time to visit a vet.
Let’s now go over the most common reasons on why do dogs lick their paws.
You know how cats clean themselves literally all the time? Well, dogs can be the same way.
If your dog got dirty during a walk outside and you didn’t clean him when getting home, there is a possibility that your dog will start licking its paws to clean them himself.
So if your dog is licking or chewing on his paws only from time to time, and you don’t notice any other symptoms of discomfort or pain — it’s probably just a way of grooming. So don’t worry.
Your dog might be licking their paws too much or only licking one paw after going for a walk or coming in from the yard. This could be because they have some kind of injury.
It’s important to look at your dog’s paws very carefully. Check the pad, nails, and spaces between the pads. Cuts, scrapes, blisters, and bites should all be looked for, as should any other signs of damage.
If your dog walks on salty roads in the winter, hot asphalt in the summer, or rough rocks on trail walks, it may hurt its paws. We don’t know for sure what happened to them. It could be that they trod on a bee. They could also have thorns in their feet or wood chips in between their toes.
In case your pup has small cuts, you may need to clean them and treat them with some kind of antibacterial wash.
If your pup has a more severe injury going on their paw pads the best decision would be to take your dog to the vet so he can check up on it. Open wounds can lead to secondary infections. And pet owners should never let it go that far.
Whether or not the pain is coming from another part of the body, a dog may lick their paws to deal with the pain. You can take your dog to the vet if he or she is hurting because of arthritis or because of a recent accident. It doesn’t matter if your dog’s paws aren’t the problem. If you notice excessive paw licking in your dog — maybe he’s trying to tell you something.
Food allergies, which are not the same as food sensitivities, are common in dogs and can make them very itchy. Whenever your dog’s body gets too sensitive about something it has eaten, they get allergies.
There are a lot of food categories that could trigger allergies. Protein, dairy, eggs, and wheat are some of them. Food allergies may be hard to spot at first, but they can show up over time with paw licking, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes. To find out if your dog is allergic to something, make an appointment at the vet’s office and ask for a skin test. Your veterinarian may tell you to feed your pet a certain way or not to eat certain kinds of pet food.
Allergies, dry, low-humidity weather, and a lot of baths can all dry out your pet’s skin, making it itchy, irritable, and flaky. This can make your pet more likely to scratch and bite. People notice when their dogs have dandruff on their fur. This means that their dog’s skin is split and flaking. Make sure you don’t bathe your dog too often. He might lose the natural oils that make his coat shiny. Canine skin issues will help you learn how to keep your dog’s skin and coat soft and shiny, so read about them. If you treat your pet’s dry skin, you might be able to stop them from licking their paws.
An allergy to things like grass, mold spores, pollen from plants and trees and lawn care and gardening products is pretty common in dogs.
Environmental allergies are a top concern if your dog licks its paws a lot after going for a walk or going to the yard. By washing your dog’s paws with water and a wet rag after a trip outside and not going to places where you suspected some known allergens, you may be able to lessen the effects of environmental allergies.
As long as there are no allergies or other problems with your dog’s paws, you should still make an appointment with your veterinarian to find out what is going on.
If your dog is experiencing some environmental allergies, the best decision would be to buy him some protective dog shoes. Here are our recommendations for the best dog boots.
Fleas are another common reason why a dog licks his paws all the time. Flea bites cause inflammation in the skin, which causes itching and redness.
You can sometimes even see fleas with your bare eyes. It’s even possible for dogs to have an allergy to fleas and flea bites, which would cause even more serious inflammation and itching. In that case you will have to do some precautions to make sure your dog doesn’t get any fleas.
Make sure fleas don’t get into your home in the first place. Your veterinarian should be able to help you find flea-control products for all of the pets in your home.
There are many different ways to prevent fleas, such as medications or special flea collars. Speak with you vet about the best options for you and your dog.
Infections (Bacteria, fungus, parasites)
Many dogs love meeting new pups or other animals in their neighborhood or at the dog park. Some of these new friends might have some hidden infections that could harm your dog.
Different infections can cause inflammation which leads to itching and your dog licking it’s paws. Most commonly that can be some parasites, like fleas, which we already talked about. However those can even be bacterial, viral or even yeast infections.
If you notice any other symptoms of an infection in your dog, make sure to contact your vet as soon as possible. These symptoms include redness, pain, swelling but also increased temperature on the affected area.
There is a possibility that your pup will need antibiotics or other types of medications that you can’t prescribe on your own. That’s why it’s best to go and see a professional.
Behavioral issues can also cause your dog to lick his paws. To keep their emotional health and well-being, dogs of all ages and breeds need to move and be stimulated on a regular basis. It might be more work for certain breeds and younger dogs. During the day, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Irish setters, pointers, labrador retrievers, and other working breeds need to move a lot. In order to pass the time when your dog is bored, it may lick and chew his or her paws.
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to stop this kind of behavior. Make your dog’s walks longer and more often. Increase the amount of time you play. If you can’t find the time, ask your family or a professional dog walker to help you. New and interesting toys, like chew toys and puzzle toys, can also keep your dog busy. People in your family should spend more time with your dog so they don’t have to worry about their paws.
He might be trying to relax or deal with a stressful situation by licking his feet to calm down or get used to the situation.
Is your dog’s normal routine being thrown off? New sounds, animals, or people have moved into the house. Is there anything new? When dogs are stressed out or are alone they may start to lick their paws excessively.
The best way to find out if this is true is to film your dog when you and your family leave the house. There are a lot of things your dog might be doing that aren’t good, like pacing at the door or barking. All of these are signs that your pup is having separation anxiety.
Compulsive behaviors can cause paw licking too. Pet owners can deal with their dog’s anxiety in a variety of ways, depending on the reason for their dog’s anxiety and how their dog is.
It may help to get rid of loud noises and other things that make your dog feel bad. In some cases, a dog may just need more time and attention to get used to new routines or family members before coping behaviors go away.
When to call a vet
After reading about all the possible reasons on why do dogs lick their paws, your probably aware by now that some of them require a visit to the vet.
if your dog is more likely to chew on one part of its body than another, that means it’s hurting. Make sure you know this. The first thing you should do if you see this kind of licking is to call your vet.
It’s not normal for a dog to lick their paws a lot. If you see this, don’t ignore it. Something is wrong, and your dog is telling you. If you can’t find and fix the problem right away, make an appointment with your veterinarian to see if there are other ways to help. It will get worse if you don’t do anything soon. Your pet will be in pain. You can get anti-itch medications, steroids to reduce inflammation, and any other medicines your veterinarian thinks will help your pet.