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.
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Why Do Dogs Lick Their 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.
Dog Paw Licking Common Causes
The most common causes of dog paw licking and chewing include:
- wounds or foreign objects
- insect or animal bite
- dry skin
- obsessive behavior
- stress and/or anxiety
Wound or Foreign Object
It's possible that while your pup was roaming or walking outside they stepped on something or got a cut from some grass or a splinter.
If they are licking their paws and there is extreme temperatures outside, it could be from hot pavement or some salt from the road.
Insect or Animal Bite
Depending on where you live bugs can cause problems. Ticks and mange can cause irritation in the paws if that's where the infection or insect sits, that's why it's important to check their paws after they have been exploring.
Wild animals in more rural areas are just a part of life. But sometimes your dog gets a little too curious and aggravates the creature and gets bitten.
Bites and stings on a paw definitely make your dog feel discomfort since they use it every day.
If they are consistently licking and it seemed shortly after they were outside, check their paws to look for a raised area or a bite mark.
Dogs that are perfectly healthy can develop skin allergies like a yeast infection. This type of fungal infection can make your dogs paws itch which is why they will like it incessantly.
If you suspect any food or environmental allergy make sure to bring in your dog to the vet for a visit.
If your dog is showing any more severe health problems, you need to consult your veterinarian before trying any of these home treatments.
Dry, Itchy Skin
Dry and itchy skin can not only affect certain part of a dog's body, but also their paws.
Whether it be from environmental or food allergies, or climate, a dog's nose and paws can become cracked and dry out. This dry area can become incredibly itchy, making it very prone to them licking and chewing their paws.
If they continue, it can cause them to break skin if it hadn't already leaving a wound open for infection.
Stress or Behavioral Problems
Both of these can be coupled together because they are usually found in tandem. If your dog is stressed, they can pick up all kinds of different habits.
More often they are negative, or ones that seem harmless on the surface but have consequences down the road.
Paw licking can be a nervous tick in dogs and if they don't break the habit, the consistent moist environment can cause bacterial or fungal infections.
If your dog has this issue, we have some ways to treat it….more on that later. If you'd rather not go through the trouble, then contacting an animal behaviorist for consultation might be your best bet.
The good news is that no matter the reason, you can usually stop this problem behavior with an easy home remedy.
How to Stop a Dog From Licking Paws Home Remedies
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 growing bacteria and fungus.
I'm saying that 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.
You can try redirecting your dog with a toy or chew if your dog is playful.
This strategy will probably only work if your dog licks 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.
Many pet owners use Ace Bandages to wrap their dog's feet.
While this method 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 to ensure my dog can't pull it off when I'm not watching.
If you want to do this, get the tape that doesn't stick to hair.
How To Stop A Dog From Licking Paws – Summary
No matter what you do, you'll need to find the best way to stop your dog from licking his or her paws.
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.