Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws

Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws?

Occasional paw licking is common when it comes to dogs. At Doggy Brace, we notice this all the time with our pets — they lick their backs, paws, and stomachs every single day. You’ve more than likely noticed that your dog licks his paws after a delicious meal, while preparing for a nap, or after a fun game outside in the mud. It is known as a part of self-grooming. However, if your dog licks his paws excessively that is obviously not normal, you can investigate the reasons for it.

Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws?

You’re probably asking yourself why your dog likes his paws so much. Firstly, understand how much is too much. If your dog is leaving saliva stains on their paws, then it’s likely excessive behavior and needs to stop.  

Paw licking may be a signal for an injury, pain, uncomfortableness or some behavioral issues which are related to the furry friend’s psychological state. Notice when your dog starts to lick. Do they lick their paws too much too often? Is there something making them uncomfortable? If your dog licks his paws too often and aggressively, these may be the reasons.

1)  It May Be An Injury

If your dog licks his paws excessively and you think it is abnormal, the first thing to do is to check their paws to see if there is any distinguishable injury such as a broken nail, a cut, a stone or a splinter stuck between the pads. Your dog simply may be licking to dislodge the debris or to clean their wound. 

Also, your pup may have walked on something that’s too hot or too cold. You need to look very carefully between the pads of all paws to find burns or blisters. Your dog could be licking their paws to help relieve the pain. You might want to visit a veterinarian to be sure there is no serious problem.

2)  It May Be Because Of Dermatitis

If you do not see an injury on the paws of your dog, it could be dermatitis — a skin condition. Dermatitis may bother dogs because of some bacterial problems, sensitivities or allergies. Some dogs may have allergies to chemicals that you use to clean the house or your yard, or some types of grass. 

You can keep a bowl of water and a towel to use for cleaning the paws when you and your buddy come home from outside. A food allergy may also be the case because food allergies may cause itchiness and dogs try to relieve it by excessive paw licking. Therefore, you can look for a rash to identify the problem.

On the other hand, dry skin may cause this discomfort. It can be a result of excessive bathing which leads your dog’s natural oils to decrease. Therefore, it is important to make a healthy grooming plan for your furry friend because they need a healthy coat.

3)  It May Be An Abnormal Growth On The Paw

One of the answers to the question “Why does my dog lick his paws?” is abnormal growth on the paws. If you do not see a problem on the paws, it may be something that you can not see with naked eye. 

It is one of the possibilities that there is abnormal growth or problem under the skin. It may be a cyst, a tumor or arthritis. If you can’ find any obvious problem and if your dog only licks one paw, take them to the vet just to be safe. It could be nothing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

4)  It May Be A Behavioral Problem

You look for the distinguishable problems carefully, but you and your vet cannot find anything that may bother your dog and lead him to lick his paws excessively. You have eliminated all the possibilities related to his physical health. 

The answer can be in your dog’s mental state. Dogs have coping mechanisms just like humans do. Some destroy pillows, some get into trash cans, others lick their paws. How is his psychology these days? If your buddy’s mood is happy and comfortable, maybe they are just bored; but if you have noticed that they are uneasy, they may be stressed or have anxiety. 

When dogs feel bored or anxious, they may start licking their paws and it can become a habit or an obsession. Under these conditions, you may visit a dog trainer or behaviorist to see if your dog has obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Please note that it will not help if you scold your dog for licking his paws. To interrupt the paw licking, you should keep your dog occupied. Going for walks, playing games more often and offering him toys that satisfy his mystery-solving instincts.