When your dog starts doing something out of the ordinary it can be cause for concern. If your dog starts licking his paws excessively for no apparent reason, it's certainly something to look into. If you're concerned about Fido's new quirk, you can easily learn how to stop a dog from licking paws.
Occasional paw licking is nothing to get worked up about. Your dog will lick his paws to clean them, but excessive licking is a red flag that there is a serious problem. Whether it's a strange new compulsion or a sign of injury, it's best to have any concerns addressed by your veterinarian.
The most common causes of dog paw licking and chewing include:
- dry skin
- obsessive behavior
- stress and/or anxiety
The good news is, no matter what the reason may be, you can usually stop this problem behavior with an easy home remedy. If your dog is showing any signs of a more severe health problem, you need to consult your veterinarian before trying any of these home treatments.
How to Stop a Dog From Licking Paws
Your dog may have a minor cut on his paw. In that case, licking is completely normal. His natural instinct is to keep the area clean. Licking the area for a few minutes at a time is not something to be concerned about. The concern comes when your dog is excessively licking his paws to the point that they are constantly wet.
Constant licking can lead to hair loss. The continual moisture will also make your dog's paw an ideal home for bacteria and fungus to grow. What I'm saying is, if you don't break this habit quickly it will lead to more serious problems.
Pay close attention to you pet if notice him excessively licking or chewing any part of his body. If you notice any of these signs, seek veterinary attention immediately:
- open wounds
- lumps near the area
If you don't see any signs or symptoms of a more serious issue, you can learn how to stop a dog from licking paws with these simple home remedies. I would recommend having one or two of these remedies on hand in case you need it in the future.
If your dog is playful, you can try to redirect him with a toy or chew. This strategy will probably only work if your dog is licking his paws due to boredom or stress.
You can also try a bitters spray. I recommend this Bitter Spray for Dogs from Rocco and Roxie. Dogs hate the taste of the spray, which stops them from licking the effected area.
Elizabethan collars or “cones” will stop your dog from licking his paws, but this might not be your dog's favorite option. You can purchase cones from your vet or at any pet store. You can also make your own cone with just a few supplies.
If all else fails, you can outfit your dog with a pair of boots or wrap his paw as if he was injured. A lot of pet owners use Ace Bandages to wrap their dog's feet. While this method definitely works, it's easy for a dog to remove this type of wrapping. It's best to use a self-adhesive bandage wrap.
Don't wrap the bandage too tightly; just tight enough to stay in place. I like to secure the top of the bandage with medical tape, just to make sure my dog can't pull it off when I'm not watching. If you want to do this, make sure to get the tape that doesn't stick to hair.
No matter what you do, you'll need to find the best way to keep your dog from licking his paw. The right option will depend on why your dog is licking and your dog's temperament. Some dogs won't be easily redirected, while others may be uncomfortable wearing boots.