As you may know already, some dogs lick their paws. The first thing to know is that if your dog is doing this occasionally, it is perfectly normal. They are using this to groom their paws hence there is no need to do anything. But, if your dog is doing this all the time and he stops reacting to all the things around him, you may need to investigate the main reason why he is licking his paws.
Today, we will answer why do dogs lick their paws and how you can stop it.
Due to displacement behavior
This happens rarely and usually, it is caused by a dog having to make a decision. It means that a dog doesn’t know what to do at that very moment or he must make a ‘’tough’’ decision. Some dogs show displacement behavior when they cannot have something they want.
The solution is to train your dog and to use impulse control exercises. Both of these are very helpful and they can have a huge, positive effect on the behavior of your friend. There is no pain or anything related to the health of your dog in this case which makes things less stressful.
He is in pain
The most common reason why your dog is licking just one paw is pain. That paw is in pain due to muscle strain, thorn, wound, or anything similar. If your pet is limping as well, you need to go to a veterinarian. In most cases, it is a simple thing such as a thorn, but in some rare cases, it can be more complex than that.
It can even be a fracture that will require professional help. Keep in mind that if he licks both paws, this probably isn’t the main reason why he is doing that.
Hormones are not well-balanced
Your dog may develop Cushing’s disease (excess production of cortisol). He can also develop a condition in which thyroid hormone isn’t produced as much as needed. When this happens, he may develop balding, red spots, and other skin-related issues. If this happens on the paws, he will lick them.
This is a more severe condition because he can also infect those areas. Visiting a veterinarian is mandatory and you should do it as quickly as possible.
Paws are affected by allergy
A very common reason as well is allergy. Your dog will lick both paws in this case scenario. You can see that almost countless issues can cause an allergy. For example, it can be caused by pesticides in the grass, cleaning products you use for your carpets, dust mites, mold and so much more. It can be yeast infection as well.
You need to investigate and determine what causes the allergy. If he licks his paws after walking, it can be pesticides in the grass. If he has a poor diet as well, it can be a yeast infection. In most cases, you will have to visit a veterinarian and get professional help.
Ticks or fleas
As you would expect, fleas can cause your dog to act weird. One of the symptoms is licking the paws. When this happens, your dog will become stressed and the condition can become compulsive. Some dogs are even allergic to fleas which make things even more complicated. Make sure you remove all the fleas from your home and your pet. There are non-toxic methods you can use for this purpose. They are recommended if your pet is allergic to toxic solutions for killing fleas.
He is bored or anxious
These days dogs spend a lot of time in an apartment or a backyard which is usually small. They can be bored easily and they may start licking their paws. Luckily there is nothing health-related in this case scenario. The only thing you need to do is to start spending more time with your friend, walking him, playing with him and he will stop doing this.
Some dogs also lick their paws as a way to relieve stress. When a dog is anxious due to some reason (separation anxiety for example) they tend to lick the paws. Keep in mind that a real cause for anxiety can vary. It can be caused by depression, illness, boredom, or something else. You need to determine the cause and solve it.
His skin is dry
Dry skin can occur in dog breeds that are hairless. Some examples include Xoloitzcuintli, American Hairless Terrier, and Chinese Crested. They don’t have hair to protect the areas so dry skin is common. Another reason is excessive bathing when an owner is using strong soap or shampoo. Dry skin can also be caused by weather. It is common for dogs who live in dry and also cold climates.
As you know, he will lick his paws if the skin is dry on them. You need to determine the reason for that and apply a solution. If it is strong shampoo, change it. There are specific treatments and solutions for the hairless breeds that suffer from dry skin.
Deicing salt or ice balls
Your dog may lick his paws only during the winter. This is a common issue. It happens because of deicing salts or ice balls. The first issue means that the salt used to melt the ice and snow is present on the paws of your pet. It causes a burning sensation and can cause small wounds. Your dog will lick the wounds, so we can see that the pain is caused here. Always avoid driveways and paths that are layered with salt.
Secondly, your dog may have ice balls on the paws or between the toes. Ice balls can cause bleeding, hair pulling and so much more. Licking is one of the methods your dog may use to remove ice balls.
The final word
Today you learned the answer to why do dogs lick their paws and how you can stop it a question. The most important thing to remember is that there are several reasons why dogs lick their paws and each one requires a separate solution. As an owner, you need to discover that cause and apply a proper solution.
You can read my Why Is My Dog Ignoring My Commands.