Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws: Reasons Explained

Has your dog ever started licking its paws nonstop? There could be many causes for it. It might be brought on by wounds, skin issues, environmental variables, parasites, or dietary sensitivities.

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws

Dogs are known to sometimes lick their paws, particularly after walks or after visiting unclean areas. However, if you see the dog engaging in combat, there may be more going on.

Dogs lick their paws as a part of their grooming routine. Even if it does not take much pleasure in grooming itself, your dog can sometimes wipe its paws. If you only see them do it sometimes, there may not be anything to be concerned about.

However, extensive or intense paw licking by dogs is considered abnormal. It can suggest that anything is wrong with their behaviour or health. The first thing to do if you’re concerned is to check whether their paws hurt. Similar to how they lick wounds, dogs that are in pain, annoyed, or both will often lick their paws violently.

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Your dog may be licking unexpectedly because it has an injury or something stuck in its paw. They could have walked on unpleasant ice melt or uneven, hot pavement. Or maybe they were stung by an insect or bit by an animal.

Occasionally, their paws get stuck on something, and they need help to free themselves. They might be irritated by grass blades and splinters getting stuck in their paws.


Your dog may be licking one paw excessively because a cyst or tumour is growing there. It’s also conceivable that they have arthritis in their paw or an internal injury that is not apparent to the human eye.

It’s more probable that a growth, injury, or stuck object is the reason your dog is focusing on only one paw. Maybe they even start to limp. However, bear in mind that several paws could have comparable issues at the same time.


One of the main causes of dogs licking their paws so often is allergies. They lick their paw pads to ease allergy-related itchiness or discomfort. Many dogs have paw itching due to allergies, especially when they are allergic to certain foods or environmental allergens.


Dogs should see their veterinarian if they have paw infections caused by bacteria, fungus, or yeast. These diseases may have unclear etiology or be allergic in nature. Dog paw lickers often keep their paws wet, which raises the possibility of bacterial or yeast infections.

Additionally, if your dog has really itchy paws from fleas, mange, or hookworms, it may lick its paws often.

Behavioral Concerns

If your dog seems to have healthy paws, there may be behavioural explanations for all that licking, albeit they are less common. Maybe they’re just bored, or maybe they’re anxious or disturbed.

It might start as a boredom-inducing habit and grow into a comforting or enjoyable one. Dogs who have extreme compulsive behaviours may lick their paws excessively.

How to Handle Your Dog’s Paw Licking

First, give your dog a thorough examination to check whether it seems to be licking its paws often. Look at everything, the toenails, the spaces between their toes, the tips and soles of their feet.

Keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary, such cuts, swelling, inflammation, or a strange smell. If anything doesn’t seem right, provide them first assistance if needed. You may also use a safe dog paw cleaner to keep their paws clean and in good condition.

Keep in mind that frequent licking, especially on light-colored hair, may result in rusty stains on the fur around their paws. Staining suggests that they lick often.

Even if your dog seems well, it’s a good idea to contact your veterinarian if they are licking their paws excessively. Your veterinarian may check you for any health issues before trying to treat any behaviour issues.

Remedy for Paw Licking

The veterinarian will check your dog and go over its medical history with you. They will then recommend therapy based on their findings. Your doctor can suggest foot soaks, sprays, or other treatments if your pet is in pain or has an infection.

They could also suggest antifungal or antibiotic drugs if your dog has a bacterial infection or a yeast infection. In addition, your dog could need surgery to remove any foreign item or tumour that is discovered.

Should the problem with your dog be more complicated, your veterinarian may suggest that you see a specialist a dermatologist or a surgeon, for example.

If your dog is excessively licking its paws and there’s no medical reason for it, there could be a behavioural issue.

Home Remedies Licking Paws

If your dog is having paw problems, it is best to see your veterinarian before trying any at-home remedies. Some over-the-counter medications may not be the best choice and could even make the issue worse.

Though you should always see your veterinarian first, here are some ideas to think about:

  • For dry or cracked paws: To assist soothe your pet’s dry or cracked paws, use paw balm or coconut oil.
  • For yeast infections: Apple cider vinegar and water may be used to treat yeast infections. Give the paws a good 10 minutes to soak, then give them a thorough rinsing and drying.
  • For itchy paws: Crush some oatmeal, add it to some warm water, and let the paws soak for around ten minutes to soothe itchy paws. Rinse and pat dry afterward.

Behavioral Solutions

Your veterinarian may suggest that the problem is behavioural in origin if there isn’t a medical one. Keeping your dog busy is one way to deal with it. Spend more time with them, give them toys to play with, and take more walks.

Try not to criticize them for licking, even if you shouldn’t praise them for it either. Toys that solve riddles and deliver food might help keep them active and focused.

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whether these suggestions are ineffective, speak with your veterinarian once again to find out whether there are any more reasons or treatments. If your dog keeps licking and there isn’t a medical issue, you may need to try some behaviour modification techniques. A behaviourist or dog trainer may be able to provide you advice.

How to Prevent Your Dogs From Licking Paws

If you want to stop your dog from licking their paws, you must take care of their feet and skin. Give them a bath when they need one, and make sure their nails are clipped short. Check their paws often, especially after they’ve spent time outside.

Don’t walk your dog in very hot or cold weather. Using dog boots or paw balms may help shield your dog from inclement weather even more.

Don’t forget to take your dog for regular veterinary examinations as well. As soon as you see your pet often licking its paws, make contact with your veterinarian.


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