Paw licking is one of the most common dog behaviors, but it is important to know that a healthy dog will not excessively lick its paws. If your Golden Retriever is licking his paws frequently, you can assume that something is wrong.
Most Common Causes For Paw Licking
Intensive and frequent paw licking can indicate that your Golden Retriever has some underlying health issue. The most common causes for paw licking are:
Environmental And Food Allergies
Many types of food like chicken, beef, dairy can cause an allergic reaction in Golden Retrievers. An allergic reaction will manifest itself in the form of itchiness. Your Golden Retriever will try to relieve the itchiness by licking his paws or other affected areas of the body.
Dogs can also be allergic to various environmental factors, such as:
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
- Plant pollens
If your dog’s allergy is caused by environmental factors, you will notice excessive licking after coming back from a walk in the park.
Paw licking can also be caused by boredom or behavioral problems like fear or separation anxiety. In the case of boredom, you need to introduce more activity, playtime, toys, frequent walks, and exercises that will reduce the energy levels of your dog. In the case of separation anxiety or any other behavioral issues, it’s best to visit a professional animal behaviorist and determine the right course of action.
Excessive bathing and allergies can cause dry and flaky skin. As a result, your Goldens skin will become irritated and itch. As was the case with allergies, your Golden Retriever will start licking affected areas in an attempt to relieve itchiness.
Fleas cause flea allergy dermatitis or FAD in Golden Retrievers. This condition is manifested through extreme itchiness, which will force your Golden Retriever to scratch and lick affected areas.
Parasitic, bacterial, or fungal infection
Dogs can develop bacterial or fungal infections on their paws. We still don’t know the exact reason why this occurs. On the other hand, it is known that dogs only make things worse by constant licking since the paws stay damp, which creates a perfect environment for bacteria and fungi.
What To Do If Your Golden Retriever Is Licking His Paws Excessively?
As we mentioned, health problems and behavioral issues can cause paw licking. When you notice your Golden Retriever is licking his paws too much, you need to:
Inspect the top and bottom of the paws, toeas, toenails, spaces between digits. Look for cuts, bruises, signs of injuries, swelling, redness, discharge, anything that doesn’t seem right. In any case, you should visit the vet to rule out any potential health issues.
Once you are sure that the health problem is not the cause of paw licking, it’s time to address the possibility of behavioral problems. We already mentioned what you need to do in this case.
As we said, there is no reason to panic or overreact if you see your Golden Retriever licking his paws. This is a normal and common behavior in all dogs. However, if you notice frequent and intense licking, you should inspect your Golden Retriever’s paws, and visit the vet.