Maybe your doggo is fond of corn chips, or maybe he just likes the paw-some whiff of his paws. There could be several reasons why your dog indulges in licking his paws.
But when this habit becomes an overindulgence, it’s time to reach out to a dog behavioral expert or a vet.
Occasional paw licking is justified as it is associated with a self-cleaning and grooming regime.
This action is usually followed up by an outdoor activity session. But when you notice unusual and aggressive licking, know that there is trouble in paradise.
Here’s everything you need to know to get to the bottom of this curious behavior. Our article will cover the major possible reasons why your furry friend is glued to its feet.
Alongside that, this read will focus on proven methods on how to stop dog from licking paws.
So what are you waiting for? Read and learn because it’s high time you put a halt to that itchy and licky business.
6 Reasons Why Dogs Lick Their Paws
If you want to know how to stop the dog from licking its paws, you must aim on finding the underlying issue.
Remember, excessive licking is not normal. Your furry friend is irritated or in pain and is licking to soothe itself.
Here is the 101 on the most asked question; why do dogs lick their paws?
1. Food Allergies
Having food allergies can get your dog lick paws like crazy. Why? Because for dogs, the paws become extremely itchy when an allergy strikes.
The best way to detect if a food allergy is the main culprit behind the itching and scratching is to notice your dog’s behavior after meals.
Corn, wheat, and soy are common allergens that make your doggo go haywire. Your vet can help you in this regard by detecting the element that is not suitable for your dog to eat.
2. Bacterial and Fungal Infections
Fungal and bacterial infections are a major cause of excessive paw licking in dogs.
Localized fungal infections caused by ringworm are highly contagious and can take a serious turn. Fungal dermatitis also causes that dog to itch madly which opens doors for more licking.
Fleas, ticks, mites, or lice; could be any invasion that is irritating your furry friend. Dogs are even more prone to these infections during their time outside.
One way to deal with it is to wipe their paws with an antibacterial or antifungal solution before they enter the house after their playtime.
Dermatitis is a skin condition that may cause your doggo to scuff up. Dermatitis is mostly caused by allergic reactions to chemicals, mold, or pollen.
It causes redness, inflammation, itchiness, and hair loss amongst other things.
Your dog might have to face serious skin conditions if dermatitis is left untreated. Topical creams and ointments should take care of it if caught in the initial stages.
You might also want to consider a change of your dog shampoo if you detect that it might be the cause of outrageous licking.
Minor injuries that are causing discomfort or pain can irritate the dog to make them lick its itchy paws – out of the blue and more than usual.
The first thing to do is scrutinize the paw. Does it show any signs of injury? Cuts, growth, or torn nails; anything abnormal can be triggering.
Your doggo may have swollen his paw by a bug bite or maybe been stung by a bee.
When they go outside to play, the chances of getting their feet hurt are plenty. But not to worry as this problem can be easily solved by a simple first aid treatment.
Pro Tip: Dog booties might prevent them from getting blisters from stones, thorns, or stepping on hot pavements.
5. Cyst or Growth
A cyst is a sac-like growth that is filled with fluid or air that is usually formed between the webbing of the toes.
It can cause inflammation, redness, and an uneasy feeling that makes the pup want to itch. These are usually found on the front paws.
Licking the paws satisfies the need to itch, temporarily, of course. Cysts can not only be uneasy but extremely painful for your doggo as well.
These can result from various skin conditions as well as ingrown hair and obesity.
6. Behavioral Problems
You have seen a vet and closely examined everything that can be causing issues but still hasn’t concluded anything. There might be something else.
Did you know that your dog can lick its paws more when they are anxious or in stress?
Or maybe they are just bored. Yes, boredom can also cause them to do that.
Taking help from good animal behavioral specialists can prove to be quite useful when it comes to relieving your dog’s anxiety.
Behavioral issues may take time to dissolve. Patience is a virtue during this correctional period.
How Much Dog’s Paw Licking Is Normal?
Dogs only sweat through their paws and not through the rest of the body. That is why the paws emit a special odor that they simply love.
And hence, the secret to why doggos love to slurp on their feet is revealed.
Mild licking is cute. Mild licking is for gussying themselves up. Mild licking is occasional. Period.
We hate to break it to you but when you catch your doggo licking and chewing for more than an hour and that too several times a day, here’s where the trouble begins. This marks the beginning of excessive and constant paw licking.
More licking means more wetness. That means a grand invitation to fungal and bacterial infections. And the story continues…
So the whole gist behind this is that licking paws is a vicious circle that won’t seem to end unless you reach the core issue and address it properly.
How to Stop Dog from Licking Paws: 6 Proven Methods
Let’s straight away get down to business. Here is a list of “how to stop your dog from licking paws” methods. Read, bring into play, and see paw-sitive results.
1. Regular Grooming Session
A dapper doggo? Yes, we’d like to order one with a side of a large cuddle. On a serious note, who doesn’t like a well-groomed dog?
But did you know regular dog grooming is not only associated with appearance but the mental and physical well-being of your dog also?
Moisturizing the paw pads with coconut or olive oil will keep away the flaky paw skin and heal many minor cuts.
This will also help you keep in check if the skin is being invaded by a foreign body.
Brushing regularly can also save from a lot of skin issues. The use of apple cider vinegar solution for cleaning will help shoo away a lot of paw infections.
2. Detect The Underlying Issues
Detecting the root cause should be the first step toward the treatment if you catch your dog unduly licking its paws. There could be gobs of reasons behind this action.
You need to direct your treatment towards a specific cause. And unless you know what the main reason is, your efforts are fruitless.
The reason could be anything from food or environmental allergies, cysts, injuries, and infections, to separation anxiety.
And then there are secondary infections. These are caused by excess licking just to pacify the first triggering element.
3. Regular Visits to the Vet
Get an expert involved. Hoax and guesswork are not going to help you find the right solution. If you detect something fishy, visit a vet.
A vet will give you the best diagnosis and how to take about that further.
The vet will tell you how grave the situation is. For example, what kind of medicines do you need to use or does your dog need a further check-up?
Somehow, a visit to the vet is always reassuring. So let the experts handle it in a better way.
Better yet, keep your vet visits regular so that issues like these can be dealt with in time before they turn into something serious.
4. Target the Allergies
Allergies are one of the main culprits to cause your dog to lick paws more than ever.
As we covered before, allergies can be triggered by anything – like literally anything. Just try to detect what is causing your dog’s paws this sensitivity.
Sometimes a dietary change might help as the allergy may be coming from the dog food.
Other than that, numerous environmental factors such as pollen, dust, mites, bug bite, mold, shampoo, or your home cleaning products can also cause allergies.
Dealing with allergies might not be a quickie as the detection is a slow process and may take months sometimes.
5. Offer More Support
Sometimes the underlying issue is not medicinal but behavioral. That needs completely different remedial work. It’s time for a lifestyle change.
Separation anxiety, boredom, or in need for more affection are factors that might be instigating your dog’s paw licking habits.
Consult a behavioral expert. Indulge in more activities and playtime with your dog. Have some mind exercises, more cuddle time, or anything that will kill the anxiety.
And soon enough you will start noticing a positive change that will be less directed towards licking paws.
6. Use Feet Protection
Protective footwear during extreme weather is not a bad idea. It might save your dog’s paws from frostbite in winter or a burn from the hot pavement in summer.
If the terrain your dog walks on is rough with fallen twigs and branches, expect a paw injury; may it be small or big.
Dog booties, whether you are crazy about them or not, are a good way to protect your dog’s paws from snow, ice, or salt.
Just make sure that you get the right size for your furry friend. You don’t want to invite more trouble while just trying to dodge one.
Dogs adopt licking to express themselves. That is one way to tell their humans how they are feeling.
So naturally, your dog will rely on you to decipher the underlying issues that are making them anxious enough to lick their paws more frequently.