Why Dogs Lick Their Legs

When their owners are lying down, dogs frequently lick their legs. Dogs do it to express their affection for their owners as well as their submission and bravery. The act of licking one’s leg is frequently a gesture of appreciation. Dogs lick legs as a sign of appreciation to their owners for providing them with food and care.

Why does my dog lick his legs nonstop?

The reasons behind excessive licking or scratching activity can vary greatly. Because of this, it’s crucial to speak with your veterinarian to determine the best diagnosis and course of action. The culprit is frequently itchiness brought on by an allergy or particular food, but excessive licking can also be brought on by discomfort in your dog’s body. When an elderly dog has arthrosis, this is frequently the case. A behavioral factor, such as stress or worry, may also be to blame. In order to get a proper diagnosis and course of treatment, the first step is to consult your veterinarian.

Protecting the front and/or back legs comes next. The healing process might begin once the dog is no longer able to lick or scratch the injured region. Are you looking for protection for just one front leg? The MPS-TAZ Single Front Leg Sleeve is your best option. Due to its symmetrical construction, this sleeve can be worn on either the left or right front leg of your dog.

Choose the MPS-TAZ2 Double Front Leg Sleeves if both front legs need to be covered. Skin issues on both of the front legs are protected and covered by these sleeves. A soft protective covering has also been introduced for (older) dogs who need more comfort where the elbows are.

Finally, to protect both hind legs in the event of, say, skin issues, we created the MPS-HLS hind leg sleeves. Always use the MPS-TOP Shirt 4-in-1 in addition to these hind leg sleeves (sold separately).

If you intend to utilize the MPS-TAZ Single Front Leg Sleeve, MPS-TAZ2 Double Front Leg Sleeve, or MPS-HLS Hind Leg Sleeves for medical purposes, speak with your veterinarian first. A proper course of action can be suggested by your veterinarian. Continually check to see if the fit is comfortable for your pet. While using our products, we advise that you always keep your pet under the watchful eye of an adult.

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

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.

Is it okay if my dog licks his legs?

Handling a dog who licks its front legs nonstop can be a difficult experience. If your dog makes loud licking noises while you are trying to fall asleep after a long day at work, it can be difficult to overlook.

You might assume that a dog licking its front legs is commonplace, but unlike cats, dogs might not be doing it to clean themselves. Dogs do occasionally enjoy grooming themselves, but if your dog is continuously licking his front legs, there may be a problem.

Let’s investigate a few potential causes of the licking before choosing to ignore the habit or dismissing it as unimportant because “all dogs do it.”

A Case of Allergies

Dogs are just as prone to allergies as people are. They may sneeze every now and then (hey, their sniffer is much more acute than ours), but if something has upset their system, they are unlikely to be grabbing for the Kleenex or scratching at their itchy eyes. They’ll be licking those paws and front legs instead.

Atopy can lead to excessive front leg licking in dogs (intolerance to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites).

Consider what you might find on your feet and the lower sections of your legs if you walked barefoot while exploring the world (especially if you walk in tall grass). Dogs effectively leave the house in that manner every time. They see wonderful sights and fragrances, but they also bring back with them everything they have traveled through that day.

Many dogs who are continually licking their front legs may be allergic to food ingredients in addition to everything in their environment.

Solution: Taking your dog to the doctor for evaluation can provide much-needed relief and a break from having to listen to your dog constantly pawing at his front legs and paws.

In the big picture, that’s a small fee to pay to make sure your furry friend is content and healthy, even if a pill or an injection is required to treat the inflammation on their legs.

Though their saliva isn’t the nicest thing to be rubbing on those legs repeatedly, you don’t want to let it continue for too long. This excessive licking can cause ugly rusty stains on the legs, especially in lighter-colored breeds.

In the worst-case situation, some dogs may experience what is referred to as a “acral lick granuloma,” which is difficult to manage.

The Pain Game

Dogs can develop allergies just like people can. Although cats might sneeze on occasion (hey, their sniffer is much more acute than ours), it’s more probable that if something has upset their system, they won’t be grabbing for the Kleenex or wiping at their itchy eyes. Instead, they’ll be licking their paws and front legs.

Atopy can cause dogs to lick their front legs excessively (intolerance to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites).

Consider the strange things you might get on your feet and lower legs if you walked barefoot while exploring the world (especially if you walk in tall grass). Dogs typically behave in such manner every time they leave the house. They see wonderful sights and fragrances, but they also bring back everything they have gone through during the day’s excursion.

Many dogs who are continuously licking their front legs may not only be allergic to objects in their environment but also to food ingredients.

Solution: Visiting your veterinarian for an evaluation can provide your dog with much-needed respite and a break from having to endure the sound of your dog constantly grabbing at his front legs and paws.

In the broad scheme of things, that’s a small amount to pay to make sure your furry friend is happy and healthy. It might be necessary to give them a tablet or an injection to reduce the discomfort on their legs.

However, you don’t want to let it continue for too long because their saliva isn’t the nicest thing to be rubbing on those legs all the time. This excessive licking can leave obtrusive rusty stains on the legs of dogs, especially those of lighter coat colors.

In the worst situation, some dogs may grow what is known as a “acral lick granuloma,” which is difficult to treat.

My dog keeps licking its front legs, why?

It would be a sign of an injury or soreness if your dog was just licking one foot or leg. Untrimmed nails are frequently the culprit. He may have itchy skin brought on by a food allergy if he is licking both legs, especially if you just altered his diet.

Eddie may have arthritis at his age, and the licking is an attempt to relieve the pain.

If everything is in order, boredom, habit, worry, or a need for self-soothing are the most likely reasons for the licking.

My dog also engages in similar activity. His tongue is wider than his foot, so he frequently starts licking his paws when he’s sitting next to me, leaving big wet stains on the upholstery. Once, my small nephew complained that he was being forced to sit in the dog’s licker’s spot.

I only have to pull Bailey’s head away to get him to stop licking his paws when I catch him doing it. Although I believe he enjoys the sensation of licking his paws, he does not seem to be obsessed with it.

Even though they don’t do it as meticulously as cats, dogs do groom themselves. Sometimes the habitual licking can develop into a compulsive. Dogs who are bored will also concentrate on anything to occupy their time, which may include licking. It doesn’t seem like such a horrible habit, aside from the ruined upholstery, but it can result in hair loss and the development of blisters and red spots on the skin. It makes sense to stop it for those reasons.

It’s easy to treat a physical condition, but it might be challenging to handle a psychological problem. Try to divert Eddie whenever you notice him licking by giving him a toy, a reward, or some connection with you.

Even if he and his sister weren’t very close, they were each other’s company, and he might be feeling anxious because of that. Spending more time with him than usual will help to reassure him. Dogs enjoy being a part of a pack and are aware when a member goes missing.

Eddie may need to wear the cone of shame for a few days in order to break the habit of licking if he is otherwise healthy. Additionally, there are topical ointments that make the paws taste unpleasant, but Eddie might not even notice as dogs have fewer taste senses than people.

My dog is licking his inner thigh, why?

Finding the precise cause of your dog’s compulsive licking can be challenging. It may be necessary to keep an eye on your pet for a while to see any triggers, moments, or behaviors that could initiate a ferocious licking session. It’s also beneficial to keep an eye on the places your dog prefers to lick, taking note of where and how frequently. However, there are often four main reasons why licking issues arise:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • Pain

Allergies are frequently cited as the leading factor causing excessive canine licking. Your dog may be suffering from allergies if you notice them licking their legs, inner thighs, or between their paws. Environmental allergies, such as those to dust, pollen, and dander, can accumulate on a dog’s feet and legs during the day, producing itching and redness. When a dog rolls in something irritant like pesticides, it can cause contact dermatitis, which can cause allergies. Cleaning your dog’s legs and feet with a wipe after walks is an easy approach to reduce exposure to allergies.

Another typical reason for licking is anxiety. Simple stressors like loud noises, strangers, or bright lights can be overwhelming for certain dogs, leading to panic and obsessive behavior. In these situations, dogs are probably licking to soothe themselves or to divert their attention. But if a dog is anxious all the time, this licking can easily spiral out of control and become self-inflicted injury, leading to sores or hot areas, sometimes known as acute wet dermatitis.

As with anxiety, boredom is a behavioral factor in excessive licking. A dog may develop destructive tendencies if they do not receive enrichment throughout the day in the form of play, exercise, socialising, etc. This can sometimes be seen as tearing up shoes or having a serious lack of energy, while other times it can result in licking.

The last possible explanation for problematic licking is pain. Similar to how touching a sore joint or muscle temporarily relieves human pain, licking generates endorphins, which act as temporary pain relief for dogs. Your dog may be licking to relieve pain if they have been nursing an injury or have arthritis.

Even though these are the most typical causes of problem licking in dogs, it can be challenging to pinpoint the precise cause without a veterinarian’s help. It is advised to call your veterinarian and make an appointment if you observe your dog acting strangely or licking excessively. This is particularly crucial if you discover that excessive licking has left wounds like sores, lesions, hot spots, abrasions, etc.

Why does my dog keep licking himself so much?

  • Many dog owners see dogs’ kissing or licking as an expression of affection.
  • Obsessive licking could be a symptom of deeper problems, such as anxiety, boredom, or fear.
  • Trick training is a powerful tool for rerouting problematic licks in a constructive direction.

What could be better than getting a puppy’s kiss when you go home? The majority of dog owners view licks from their pets as expressions of love. The closest thing your dog can come to kissing, in other words. But is that true? What can you do if your dog is excessively licking things?

Is Licking a Dog’s Way Of Kissing?

What a dog licking actually means is up for debate. Unbelievably, what you would mistake for affection could actually be your dog urging you to vomit your meal in their honor.

According to Alexandra Horowitz, director of the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College and author of the book Inside Of A Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, “Researchers of wild canids, wolves, coyotes, foxes, and other wild dogsreport that puppies lick the face and muzzle of their mother when she returns from a hunt to her denin order to get her to regurgitate for them.

Similar to how your dog can just think you taste good. Dr. Mary Burch, a certified expert in applied animal behavior, notes that people have slightly salty skin, especially after working out. Consequently, such licks might have more to do with salt-seeking than with showing affection. According to Horowitz, if your dog enjoys licking your face, it will probably do it right after you’ve had a wonderful meal. Also, any food will do.

However, there is also proof that licking might occasionally be an indication of love. According to Horowitz, licking has evolved from a food-seeking activity to a ritualized welcome for many dogs. Wild members of the dog family may lick one another to welcome them home. Therefore, those daily slobbers may simply be your dog’s way of letting you know that he enjoys seeing you.

Dr. Burch says, “Licking can be a gesture of affection.

The same sense of security and comfort that the dog had when its mother licked it as a puppy may likewise be provided by it.

When Is Licking a Problem?

Most dog licking is harmless and often encouraged as a form of self-expression. Burch asserts that there is no cause for concern that it represents a type of dominance—quite the contrary, in fact.

She claims that one view is that the licking is an indication of submission.

The theory is that submissive canines will lick a more dominating group member.

However, there are specific circumstances in which you might want to prevent your dog from having a drool fest. The first has to do with human comfort; some people just don’t enjoy being licked. It’s better for your dog and your friend if you can change your dog’s behavior if you have a germaphobic friend who gets nervous whenever your dog comes close.

However, licking could occasionally be a sign of a more serious issue. It could be an indication of worry, boredom, or pain if your dog is licking themselves, you, or things excessively to the point where it appears to be a self-stimulatory habit. Self-licking out of obsession can also be an indication of allergies or other medical conditions.

What Can Dog Owners Do About Problem Licking?

Have your dog’s veterinarian examine them and take care of any medical issues or discomfort if they are self-licking excessively. Behavioral remedies are an option after medical causes have been ruled out.

“According to Dr. Burch, one solution is to refocus your dog. ” Change the activity when they lick. Choosing a behavior that is incompatible with licking, such as solving an interactive puzzle to obtain a treat, is an excellent alternative. Additionally, you can educate your dog to perform tricks or play with a ball.

Without ever employing negative reinforcement, you can progressively reinforce the lesson that you don’t want your dog to lick by repeatedly performing this redirect.

A particularly effective approach to transform a persistently undesired action into a chance for positive reinforcement is trick training. Have the dog sit first, which may cause the licking to cease on its own. Then, reinforce the behavior with a goodie. Why not train your dog to give you a hug so you can take advantage of their affection? or to speak when called? You may even practice sitting up, crawling like an army, or weaving your legs. You might even look into Trick Dog competitions if you and your dog decide that trick training is truly fun.

Whether you decide to start teaching your dog tricks or not, you should always make sure that he receives a lot of love and exercise. Unused energy in excess might result in excessive licking as well as other more harmful habits.

Do you need assistance training your dog? In spite of the fact that you might not be able to attend live training sessions during COVID-19, we are still available to you electronically through the AKC GoodDog! Helpline. With the help of this live telephone service, you may speak with a qualified trainer who will provide you with unrestricted, personalized advise on anything from behavioral problems to CGC preparation to getting started in dog sports.