Why Are Dogs Licking Their Paws

Dogs may lick or chew on their paws for a variety of reasons, much like with other canine activities. These include wounds, skin conditions, allergies to certain foods, parasites, or the environment, as well as boredom or worry.

Dogs occasionally lick their paws as part of their self-grooming routine, especially when they enter the house after walking on sand or dusty ground. However, if your dog is licking his paws repeatedly and vigorously, you should be concerned.


Examining the paws to rule out any injuries like cuts, ripped nails, growths, or possibly a stone, thorn, or ice ball lodged between the pads is the first thing to do, especially if the licking starts very quickly and is just focused on one paw. Pay particular attention to the tops of the feet, in between the toes and pads, and to the nails.

It’s possible that your dog hurt his paw by stepping on something sharp, using sidewalks that were salty or hot, getting stung by a bee, or developing a blister. Some of these issues can be resolved with straightforward first aid, while others could need veterinary care.


If the paw pads and feet look healthy, the reason for the licking may be dermatitis, a skin ailment that is sometimes brought on by bacterial issues, allergies, or food sensitivities. Due to an allergy to deicing agents, chemicals used in your yard, or specific varieties of grass or weeds, your dog could develop dermatitis. It might be helpful to provide a bowl of water and a towel close to the door so you can gently wipe the paws when you enter.


The paws may become extremely itchy as a result of parasitic illnesses like fleas or mange. To get rid of the parasites, your veterinarian might suggest medicines, which should stop the itching.

Food Allergies

Itchy paws are a common symptom of food allergies, which are challenging to diagnose. To try to solve the issue, your veterinarian may advise a special diet or the removal of specific substances from your dog’s food.


Finally, a dog who is in pain from arthritis or other issues with his feet or legs might lick them. Some dogs may repeatedly lick their front paws to try to soothe themselves, even if the pain is in another part of their body. A veterinarian is needed to diagnose and treat this.

Behavioral Issues

Your dog might be experiencing boredom or a behavioral issue like nervousness if you and your veterinarian have ruled out all of the conditions listed above. Again, diagnosing this is challenging, but there are some things you can do to support. Paw licking is one of the obsessive behaviors that some dogs develop.

Try bringing your dog for additional walks, runs, or games with you and other dogs to burn off more mental and physical energy in order to combat boredom. To divert his attention from his paws, give him puzzle toys or secure chew toys.

There are many methods you can try to reduce the anxiety, including giving him calming treats, if you suspect that it may be causing him to lick his paws due to separation anxiety or dread of loud noises. A competent expert in animal behavior can make a number of recommendations.

Secondary Infections

It’s critical to understand that licking activity may indicate a health issue or even endanger the dog. To identify the issue and come up with a suitable fix, consult your veterinarian. Don’t wait too long to do this since continuing to lick your feet might lead to a secondary bacterial or yeast infection that will make your feet even more itchy, red, swollen, and prone to licking.

The veterinarian may also prescribe topical anti-itch sprays, steroids to reduce inflammation, antibiotics for a bacterial infection, or antifungals for yeast infections to treat the underlying issue and alleviate your dog’s itching. The sooner you can identify the issue and shed light on its root, the better.

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What can I do to stop my dog from licking his paws?

Your veterinarian may believe the paw licking is happening for behavioral reasons even though these are much less common if all health concerns have been ruled out. It can simply be boredom. It could also be a symptom of stress, anxiety, or dread.

It’s possible that your dog’s practice of licking himself out of boredom eventually turned into a calming or fulfilling behavior. In extreme circumstances, your dog could lick their paws constantly due to obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

Distracting your dog from the tendency of licking his paws is an easy solution. Increase the number of times you play with them, take them on walks, and give them toys to keep them occupied. They shouldn’t be chastised for licking, but you shouldn’t give them treats either. Consider having the vet check you again to look into other potential causes or treatments if these measures don’t help.

If the licking persists, think about training your dog using behavior modification methods. Ask for assistance from a dog trainer or behaviorist.


  • It requires time, patience, and persistence to change behavior to eliminate paw licking and chewing.
  • To prevent licking, think about using a topical treatment with a bitter taste that is safe for pets. If this doesn’t work, you might need to use a physical restraint like an e-collar.
  • Consider working with a dog trainer, an animal behaviorist, or a veterinarian who specializes in behavior if more assistance with behavior is required.

Why does my dog constantly lick his paws?

One of the most frequent causes of excessive paw licking in dogs is dry or itchy skin. Environmental allergens frequently cause skin rashes. Dogs can develop allergic reactions to some grasses, weeds, and dust, and your best buddy may lick their paws a lot to soothe the itch. Sneezing, swollen eyes, and a runny nose are some more symptoms that indicate allergies in your dog.

Cleaning up after your dog may help reduce allergy-related problems. Please speak with your veterinarian to determine whether your pet is allergic to the surroundings.

Can I use apple cider vinegar to the paws of my dog?

ACV will relieve the itching on paws that have developed bacterial infections as a result of excessive licking and scratching. Your dog’s paws should soak in a 5-minute soaking of two parts water and one part apple cider vinegar. Do not rinse the paws; simply pat them dry.

When my dog licks his paws, what message is he attempting to convey?

Do your dog’s paws get licked and chewed on? Your dog might just be engaging in routine grooming, but if you see your dog licking their feet excessively, it could be a sign of a medical or psychological problem. Paw licking may indicate a variety of issues, such as allergies, wounds, skin diseases, or simply boredom. Discover the most prevalent causes of your dog’s paw licking and what you can do to assist safeguard your puppy’s feet.

What amount of paw licking is typical?

You return after your nightly walk with your dog. You take a seat and sip tea. Then, you start to hear those annoying lick, lick, chew, chew noises coming from the doggie bed. When is a trip to the vet necessary if your dog is licking its paws?

“Dr. Amy Tate, a veterinarian and co-owner of Riverview Animal Clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, advises owners to take their pets to the vet if they experience persistent licking, swelling or ulcers on the paws, or rusty-colored feet. “It’s crucial to keep an eye on it because it can develop quickly and cause your dog great suffering. Examine your dog’s paws, and start keeping track of when and how frequently she does it.

Dr. Gary Landsberg, a veterinarian and veterinary behaviorist at the North Toronto Veterinary Behaviour Specialty Clinic, a former president of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, and a co-author of “Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat,” advises that there are a few medical conditions that need to be ruled out before looking at the behavioral aspects of the licking.

Here are five causes of dogs licking their paws, as well as advice on how to deal with them:

Seasonal sensitivity

According to Dr. Tate, an underlying allergy is the main cause of pets licking their paws. Both specialists agree that if the licking occurs in response to contact with an outside substance and begins and ends at the same time each year, it is likely a seasonal allergy. Dr. Tate suggests that dogs with excessive foot licking after a walk may be allergic to grass. She says, “Don’t put socks on to try to protect their paws. Pay attention to when the licking happens and try to clean the feet when they come in. Additionally, avoid using irritants when cleaning, such as hand sanitizer. Dry them off.

dietary allergies

According to both experts, licking a dog’s ears or other skin spots that are itchy could indicate a food allergy. ” According to Dr. Tate, food allergies can also cause itching in the feet and face. “Changing one’s diet can occasionally cease this behavior. If it persists, food allergies are probably to blame. Dr. Tate says that eliminating proteins like beef and chicken would be the first step in solving the issue. She believes there are simple alternatives like lamb and rice. Fatty acids can also be added as a supplement or purchased over-the-counter. They are already present in some foods.

Bacterial or Yeast Infection

“There are various forms of illnesses that could be present,” explains Dr. Landsberg, “if there is an odor coming from your dog’s paws. A veterinarian can identify the type of infection from the odor, the appearance of the area, and microscopic examination of small smears. If your dog is biting and licking his paws and there is a strong odor along with it, have him checked for infections. Before you take him to the vet, he suggests not trying to groom away the smell since you might wash away crucial skin signs that the doctor will need to test in order to identify the type of infection.

Skin Conditions

Another reason why dogs lick their paws could be skin conditions. “Licking, rawness, dirt in his ears or other portions of the skin,” and “scratching his ears” According to Dr. Landsberg, any of these could be a sign of many skin illnesses or interior issues. Do check your dog for any more skin lesions or hot patches and inform your veterinarian. If you believe your dog has an underlying skin condition, refrain from using any harsh soaps, including flea washes.

Cognitive Causes

According to Dr. Landsberg, pets should only lick at their feet to clean or groom themselves. Anything beyond that is unusual. Dr. Landsberg advises that even if your dog’s constant licking of one area could be behavioral, you should first rule out any possible medical explanations. Don’t just assume that it’s a behavioral problem.

Dr. Landsberg also advises owners to be aware of their dog’s medical history because dogs licking their paws may potentially be caused by parasites or, less frequently, immunological illnesses. Your veterinarian can perform a comprehensive examination to identify the precise cause and start you on the most effective course of action.

After a visit to the clinic, do you want to give your dog a little treat? View 17 Delicious Dog Treat Recipes That Your Puppy Will Beg For!