Why do dogs lick their paws?

Dogs can often be found licking their paws when not snoozing, playing, or running behind their tails.

Should this be a cause for concern for the owners? There is no easy answer, as there are many reasons why a dog may become overly interested in their paws. Therefore, it is best to identify the problem before any complications arise.

What does it mean when dogs lick their paws?

The golden retriever licks its paws. If you can’t explain your dog’s persistent paw licking, it’s a good idea to call your vet.
chandongshan/Getty Images

Sports injuries

Kirsten Dillon, an animal behaviorist for pet food retailer Natural Instincts, explains that licking comes naturally to dogs, but owners should notice that their pups are acting out of the ordinary around their paws.

“Licking any part of their body is a completely natural behavior for a dog because they like to be clean and irritant free. Often, they will lick their paws because this is the area that comes into contact with, literally, everything. is,” she said newsweek,

“If you notice your dog licking excessively, it’s time to investigate without delay.”

Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Kennel Club agrees, adding: “Paws and pads can be thoroughly examined.

“When a dog licks a paw excessively, there is often an injury such as a wound or irritation or foreign material causing pain or swelling.


Little Dog Licks His Paw While Lying Down
A dog that keeps licking a single paw may be in pain from an injury or infection.
Cavan Images / Getty Images

Kim Melotte of dog supplement brand Buddy & Lola suggests that allergies may be to blame. “These reactions usually come in one of three forms,” ​​she said. Greeley Tribune.

“Seasonal – allergies like pollen may be more prevalent at certain times of the year.

“Food like humans, dogs can be allergic to food. Wheat, as well as beef and dairy products, are common dog allergies.

“Household products—cleaning products, floor cleaners and detergents—can potentially cause a reaction. It’s not common, but it’s possible.”

She also cautioned that some breeds were more prone to allergies than others. “Terriers, cocker spaniels and German shepherds have a higher risk of food intolerance. If your dog is one of these breeds this could explain the bite on their paws.”

Raw animal food specialist Halle Yetken-Salvadori, owner of Petcooler’s Little Shop, believes that healthy dogs will deal with allergies better than others.

He said newsweek: “Health begins with the gut. Balance the gut microflora and make natural substances easily accessible to your pet to give them a better chance of healing themselves.

“Keep chemical use in the home to a minimum. This includes scented candles and plug-ins [air fresheners],

“Reducing stress is also very important. Active household, out-of-the-ordinary activities and new visitors can all cause stress. Give your dog a safe place to de-stress.”

dry skin

Showing Affection To A Friendly Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell Terrier shows affection to its owner. Dogs’ paws come into contact with all kinds of surfaces and substances, so it’s no wonder they clean them over and over again.
Irina Kazlova / Getty Images

Melotte also suggests that dry or irritated skin may be a contributing factor in paw licking.

She said: “Like humans, in extreme temperatures, dogs are more likely to get dry skin. If it’s really hot or really cold, that could explain it. If it’s the cause of the paw biting, then You can help your dog.”

She recommends salmon oil. It contains Omega 3 and 6, which improve the moisture level in your dog’s skin. “On top of that, salmon oil can help with joint health and promote a healthy coat.”


Dog Licking Its Paw
The dog is licking its paw. Fleas and ticks can cause irritation.

When dogs are exploring the world, their paws are usually the first point of contact with parasitic critters such as fleas, ticks, and lice.

Melotte said: “If you’re a dog owner, this is the real ‘F word.'” Flea bites cause itching all over your dog, and they can also spread to other animals or other surfaces. An infection is a bad one it’s a dream.

“Another complication is flea allergy dermatitis. This is a condition that many dogs experience. It is an allergic reaction to flea saliva, and if they have any bites around their legs or feet it can cause your dog to obsess over this area. Can do.”


Great Blue Gascony Hound, Licking Dog
A Great Gascony Blue Hound licks its paw. Excessive licking may be related to separation anxiety or other stressors.
slowmotiongli/Getty Images

Boredom and separation anxiety can lead to excessive licking as well as other unhealthy habits such as barking, digging and destructive chewing.

Melott said: “Dogs often try to calm themselves down. This can happen when they are feeling lonely, sad or anxious.

“You can try to prevent this in a number of ways. Stimulating your dog and providing lots of interaction is a good way to prevent anxiety from setting in.

“Some anxious feelings cannot be resolved with attention. Separation anxiety, for example, is a fairly complex issue. Paw licking and biting can be a sign of this.”

“Of course, you must support your dog psychologically. Providing them with plenty of attention and taking away anything that triggers anxiety. On top of that, dietary supplements can be an effective treatment.”

Why do dogs lick their paws before bed?

Owners often see their dogs licking their paws while sleeping. Dr. Klein of the American Kennel Club describes this behavior as understandable, as it “could be a way of cleansing and relaxing” before bedtime.

However, he added: “If the licking is excessive and there is only one paw, the paw should be carefully inspected to make sure there is no underlying medical problem, such as a foreign body, cracked nail or an interdigital laceration.” or swelling that causes the dog to lick. If so, your vet should be contacted.”

According to Melotte, excessive licking can be a problem. “Dogs have rough tongues and can injure themselves if they keep licking their feet.”

Malinois Puppy Dog ​​On Green Meadow
Malinois puppy licking its paws in a green meadow. Some dogs suffer from seasonal allergies.
K_Thalhofer/Getty Images

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