Why Dogs Lick Their Paw

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.

When your dog licks its paws, what is it trying to tell you?

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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Why does my dog constantly lick his paws?

Finding out if there is a health issue with the paws is the first thing to do if you believe your dog’s paw-licking is abnormal. When their paws are uncomfortable, inflamed, or itching, dogs frequently lick them excessively.

A quick commencement of paw-licking may be explained by a paw injury or foreign object. The dog might have stepped on an uncomfortable object, such as a sharp object or hot pavement. Or, he might have been bitten or stung by an animal or an insect. He may even need assistance removing something that is attached to the animal’s paws. Splinters and grass awns can become lodged in the paws and irritate the skin.

Another option is that your dog has an abnormal growth, such as a cyst or tumor, on one of its paws. Alternatively, your dog could be suffering from arthritis or a paw bone or soft tissue damage. The latter might not be visible to the unaided eye.

It’s more likely that your dog has a paw injury, a foreign object, or a growth if they are concentrating on one paw more than the others. However, multiple paws may have these issues at once.

Dog allergies are a fairly typical factor in licking paws for comfort. A dog may lick its paws in order to get relief from an allergy that has caused itching or irritation to the paw pads. Many dogs suffer from allergies, which scratch their paws. Itching paws can be brought on by allergies, especially food and environmental sensitivities.

Dogs frequently experience bacterial or fungal infections on their paws, necessitating a trip to the clinic. These infections could develop as a result of allergies or for other unidentified causes. When a dog licks its paws regularly, they remain damp and are more prone to bacteria and fungi.

The paws can become extremely scratchy from external parasitic illnesses such fleas, mange, or hookworms, which can cause excessive licking.

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

The underlying cause of your dog’s paw licking can be painful and frequently result in complications. Additionally, the frequent exposure to saliva results in discoloration of the paw fur.

Fortunately, there are several straightforward, do-it-yourself home remedies for treating paw inflammation and giving your pet much-needed relief (from the paw problem and the licking obsession).

Soak Your Dog’s Paws in an Apple Cider Vinegar Mix

In the interim, dabbing apple cider vinegar on your dog’s paws will help you identify the source of the issue. Your dog won’t chew on its paws because of the taste of apple cider vinegar, which will also stop secondary infections.

Mix apple cider vinegar and water in a 50/50 ratio because dogs could find pure apple cider vinegar to be too strong. Additionally, make sure to check your dog’s paws in advance for any wounds or scrapes—apple cider vinegar should not be applied to open sores.

Use a Baking Soda Soak

Baking soda has a special capacity to neutralize acidic irritants and has natural anti-inflammatory qualities. As a result, it’s a great treatment for dogs with dry, itchy skin, and it also lessens the urge to lick their paws.

In a bucket of warm water, add half a cup of baking soda. If possible, soak your dog’s paws for about 10 minutes, then do it again two or three times daily. To keep the dog in the tub for the full ten minutes, use treats.

Soak Paws in Oatmeal

Oatmeal baths, which are excellent for treating rashes as you undoubtedly already know, can also be used on pets. Due to its inherent moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, oatmeal is beneficial for dry, chapped skin.

Allow your dog’s paws to soak for about 10 minutes in a pail of warm water and two cups of natural, flavor- and sweetener-free oats. After a few soaks, your dog’s paws should appear better and the licking should lessen.

Apply Coconut Oil

Coconut oil promotes the health of the skin and aids in preserving regular moisture levels. Additionally, it might relieve irritations of the skin. Furthermore, it is entirely safe to eat, so you need not worry about your dog licking it off.

You can either choose to add a small amount to your dog’s food bowl or choose to massage the coconut oil directly into its paws. Just be sure to use extra virgin or organic coconut oil that is of a high caliber.

Reassess Your Dog’s Diet

Food allergies are likely to be the cause if your dog’s excessive paw licking is followed by regular episodes of diarrhea, in which case you should reevaluate what your dog eats. Wheat, soy, eggs, dairy, meat, chicken, or fish are common dog allergens.

To soothe your dog’s immune system and identify the food triggers, switch to a basic diet (homemade or commercially available hypoallergenic formulas), gradually introduce new foods to the menu while closely observing reactions.

Try a New Dog Shampoo

Since dog shampoos are designed to be extremely gentle, they are not prone to irritate skin. To cure dry or inflamed skin, you can, however, use a particular type of dog shampoo. There are numerous solutions made specifically for irritated skin.

Before purchasing, check the ingredients. The best dog shampoo should be hydrating and made of natural components. Try the Honest Paws 5-in-1 Dog Wash, as we recommend it. The shampoo is made in the USA and is suggested by barbers.

How can I tell if my dog’s paws have a yeast infection?

Low levels of yeast are a typical component of a dog’s skin, but when there is an overwhelming quantity of yeast in one region, it can cause an infection. If you see any early indications of a yeast infection in your dog, it’s usually nothing to be too concerned about because yeast infections in dogs are frequent and can happen anywhere. It may be wise to keep in mind that some dog breeds, particularly those with more skin folds like Boxers and Poodles, are more prone to yeast infections.

The fact that a yeast infection is typically a secondary issue—one that weakens the skin’s defenses so that yeast grows in much higher numbers than it normally would—should also be noted. Red, itchy skin, discoloration, and a sweet, musty odor are signs of a yeast infection.

The paws, one of the most typical sites for yeast infections, will turn hot and itchy, and there may even be a brown discharge in the nail beds. Dogs who have a yeast infection in their paws may lick them more frequently than usual, which may lead to hair loss. Antifungal wipes, lotions, sprays, and shampoos are just a few of the many options available to treat your dog’s paws and restore them to normal. If your dog has had a yeast infection in its paws for some time or it appears to be getting worse, talking to your veterinarian might be a good idea. In more serious situations, antifungal treatment may be utilized.

Assure routine cleaning with our natural yeast shampoo once a week and a daily spoon of our yeast powder to stop subsequent yeast infections in your dog’s paws. This ought to prevent any problems.

The paws of my dog can I apply apple cider vinegar to?

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.

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!