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Why does my dog lick his paws?-3 reasons to look for

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vet examining a dog's paw

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We all know that dogs are loyal companions. They’re always happy to see us, love going on walks, and are always eager to please us. But have you ever stopped to wonder why your dog licks his paws? There could be several reasons, and it’s essential to be aware of them to protect your pup’s health. This article will discuss why dogs lick their paws, how to protect them from potential harm, and when is the right time to contact your vet.

Why does my dog lick his paws?

1-Behavioural reasons

If you’ve ever caught your dog licking his paws, you may have wondered why he’s doing it. While it could simply be a case of boredom or curiosity, there are also several behavioural reasons why your dog might lick his paws.

Separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is a common reason for paw licking, as dogs may lick their paws to self-soothe when feeling anxious.


Boredom is another possible explanation, as paw licking can be a way for dogs to pass the time and relieve boredom.

Phobias and compulsive disorders.

Phobias and compulsive disorders can also lead to paw licking, as dogs may lick their paws to calm themselves down when feeling scared or overwhelmed.

Moving to a new environment.

Moving to a new environment can also be stressful for dogs, and some may start licking their paws to cope with the change.

If your dog licks his paws frequently, you should contact your vet to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Once any health issues have been ruled out, you can work on addressing the behavioural reasons for paw licking.

For example, if boredom is the issue, try giving your dog more toys and puzzle feeders to challenge his mind.

If separation anxiety is the issue, slowly increase the time you leave him alone until he’s comfortable being on his own.

If your dog has a phobia or compulsive disorder, you may need to consult a behaviourist or animal behaviourist to help him overcome his anxieties. No matter the reason for paw licking, there are some ways to help stop the behaviour and keep your dog happy and healthy.

2-pain or discomfort.



If your dog has injured his paw, he may start licking it as a way to soothe the pain or discomfort. Here are a few tips on how you can help your pup relieve his pain:

1-Check the wound regularly for signs of infection, such as swelling, redness, or discharge.

2-Apply ice packs to the wound to reduce inflammation and swelling.

3-Apply a warm compress to the wound to promote healing.

4-Clean the wound with gentle soap and cool water.

5-Apply an antibiotic treatment to the wound if an infection is present.

6-Seek veterinary attention if the wound does not improve after a few days of treatment.

dog with a bandage on his paws


Arthritis is another common cause of paw licking, as dogs may experience joint pain and inflammation. This can lead them to lick their paws as a way to ease the discomfort.

If your dog is suffering from arthritis, here are a few home remedies you can use to help relieve his pain:

1-Give your dog a regular massage. Massaging your dog’s joints can help reduce inflammation and swelling.

2-Apply ice packs to the affected area. Ice can help reduce inflammation and pain.

3-Give your dog supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which can help improve joint health.

4-give your dog a healthy diet that consists of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation.

5-Try using a heating pad to warm the affected area.

6-Consult with your veterinarian about medications that can help relieve arthritis pain.

3-Skin conditions and infections.

Dogs can suffer from various skin conditions and infections that can lead to them licking their paws. Some of the most common are:


Allergies are one of the most common causes of paw licking, as dogs may lick their paws to relieve the itchiness and inflammation caused by allergies.

Hot spots.

Hot spots are red, itchy areas on a dog’s skin that various things, including allergies, insect bites, or contact with irritants like poisonous plants, can cause. Hot spots are painful for dogs and often lead to them licking their paws to soothe the irritation.

Yeast infection.

Yeast infections are another common cause of paw licking, as they can cause the skin on a dog’s paws to become inflamed and itchy. Yeast infections can be treated with antibiotics or antifungal medications.

Flea allergy dermatitis.

Flea allergy dermatitis is a type of skin allergy that is caused by contact with fleas. Dogs with flea allergy dermatitis will often lick their paws excessively to relieve the itchiness. Treatment for flea allergy dermatitis includes using flea control products and treating the home for fleas.

Parasitic infection.

Parasitic infections such as roundworm, tapeworm, and hookworm can also lead to dogs licking their paws excessively. These parasites can cause severe itching and inflammation and often require treatment with antibiotics or antiparasitic medications.


Allergic reactions can cause inflammation and irritation, leading dogs to lick their paws to relieve the symptoms. Different allergens can cause dogs’ allergies, including pollen, grass, dust mites, and pet dander. If you think your dog may be allergic to something, it’s best to consult your vet to determine the root of the problem.

There are some ways to help manage your dog’s allergies and stop the excessive paw licking. Some tips include:

  • Keeping your home clean and free of allergens. This includes regular vacuuming and dusting and removing all pet hair from surfaces.
  • Avoiding Exposure to allergens. Try to keep your dog away from areas where it’s likely to come in contact with allergens.
  • Give your dog antihistamines or steroids to help relieve the symptoms of allergies.
  • Bathing your dog regularly to help remove any allergens from his coat.
  • Try out a hypoallergenic diet for your dog. Many commercially available diets are designed for dogs with allergies.

It’s essential to protect your dog’s paws from further damage. To do this, you should avoid walking your dog on hot or rough surfaces, as these can cause discomfort and lead to increased licking. Always ensure that your dog’s paws are properly padded outdoors, and consider using paw balm to provide an extra layer of protection.

Food allergy.

Dogs can be allergic to certain foods. A food allergy is a reaction by the body’s immune system to food it considers harmful. Dogs allergic to food may exhibit various symptoms, including excessive paw licking.

Food allergies are dogs’ most common type of allergy, and different foods can cause them. The most common allergens include wheat, soy, dairy, and eggs. However, any food can cause an allergy in a dog.

Why does my dog lick his paws? takeaway.

It is not uncommon for dogs to bite or lick their paws, which various reasons can cause. Common reasons your dog might be biting or licking its paws include skin allergies, injury, boredom or stress, parasites or fungal infections, and arthritis. If your dog is constantly crunching and licking its feet, it could indicate something is wrong. If you see any signs of swelling, redness, limping, or bleeding from the paw pads, you should contact your vet immediately, as these can all indicate underlying health issues.

Protecting your dog’s paws is vital to keep their nails trimmed and the fur between their toes clear of dirt and debris. Additionally, you should ensure your pet does not come into contact with toxic chemicals that could cause irritation or an allergic reaction. Further, regular check-ups at the vet can help catch any issues early on before they worsen.

If your dog is biting or licking its paws, then it is best to contact your vet so they can examine your dog’s paws and determine the underlying cause. Sometimes, a simple change in diet or lifestyle might be enough to reduce irritations and itching, but if there are deeper medical reasons, more specialized treatments may be required. You can help ensure that your pup’s paws stay safe and healthy with proper care.

Picture of MiM


I decided to create this blog because I wanted to share the joys of being a dog owner with others, as well as provide valuable insights on how best to take care of our beloved four-legged friends.


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