5 Reasons Why Your Dog is Licking Its Paws

Posted by Christy Caplan
Dog Licking Paws

There are many reasons your dog may be obsessively licking their paws. It's a little frustrating to watch them lick their paws all day long, and unfortunately, this behavior may indicate they have allergies or another behavioral or medical issue.

You should take some notes for your veterinarian, too. Is your dog licking only after walks? Do their paw pads look red and swollen? Are they bleeding or limping? Does this only happen twice a year and then goes away on its own? We researched possible five reasons why a dog licks its paws.

1. Pain

Is your dog licking and limping? Your dog may be sprained or injured their leg, and excessive paw licking is their way of telling you he's in pain!

If you're not seeing an obvious limp, then there may be an insect bite, a foxtail or something sharp stuck in their paw pad. Do a really comprehensive exam and also look for broken nails.

2. Allergies

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According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), if the paw pads and feet appear normal, the licking could be due to a skin condition (dermatitis), which often is the result of bacterial problems, allergies or food sensitivities. Your vet can help diagnose this, and you should also let them know what you're feeding your pup! 

3. GI issues

A behavior study tells us that gastrointestinal issues can be linked to licking behavior. GI abnormalities were identified in 14 of 19 dogs in the licking group they studied! Never dismiss licking as just something your dog is doing because they're bored yet that may very well be the case. 

4. Boredom or anxiety 

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Natural Dog Company tells us that boredom can be a factor. We know this all too well.

Dogs tend to become anxious when they are left alone for long periods of time, when they are bored, feeling depressed or are becoming ill. Licking a dog's paws is often a way to comfort themselves. However, excess licking can cause eventual irritation and possible bacterial infections of the skin. This licking can cause hot spots. 

5. Fleas and ticks

Always check for ticks after a walk or hike and make sure your dog is on preventative medication!

There are so many different conditions you may want to consider if see your dog licking their front or back paws. Excessive licking can be the result of food allergies, yeast infections, allergens, dry skin & itchiness, a health problem, environmental allergies, dog food, skin problems, a foreign body, separation anxiety, dust mites, or a skin disease.

This common behavior may need a dermatologist or vet to diagnose the problem, but don't chalk this dog behavior up to 'boredom' as that isn't always the root cause. Watch their paw licking and perhaps add some fatty acids!

Do you know a dog that was treated for coccidia?  Please leave us a comment below!

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5 Reasons Why Your Dog is Licking Its Paws