How to Prevent Your Dog From Licking Their Paws
Let’s face it. Dogs can have some weird behaviors. Some of these quirks make the animal extra adorable (like when they chase their tail for hours). Others, are a bit gross, such as their fascination with licking everything in their sight.
When your dog occasionally licks their paws, it’s a natural part of their grooming. But when it becomes obsessive, it’s more than a gross habit your dog picked up. Chances are, there may be a health problem you need to address.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?
Unlike humans, animals don’t have the ability to jump in the shower anytime they feel unclean. Instead, they adopt their own self-grooming habits.
A dog’s personality shows up in the way they groom themselves. Some dogs don’t care if they’re loaded in grass and mud (and are, in fact, happy to be so). Other dogs are meticulous groomers, cleaning themselves after every meal, and after they’ve been outside.
If your dog is in the latter category, you’ve probably noticed them licking their paws a lot. If so, that’s completely acceptable, and part of good grooming habits you can encourage. But if it becomes more frequent, or you see your dog biting their paws, it’s time to pay more attention.
When paw licking turns into a constant battle, it’s time to figure out what’s going on.
Health and Behavioral Concerns of Paw-Licking
Unusual paw-licking activities could be a sign of a health problem going on in your dog’s paw. The first thing to look for is something on the surface that’s easy to spot, such as cracked or chapped paws.
If your pup’s paws are too dry, they will start to chafe, much like our own skin does. The dryness could be from coming into contact with surfaces that were extremely cold or hot. It might be because of a temperature change in your weather. Or it could also be the signs of an allergy. Whatever the reason, your pup’s paws are dry and chapped, driving them crazy with the itching that comes with it.
The problem is that dogs use their paws to help them stay stable on slippery surfaces. Chapped paws can also cause them to slip and slide when they are on tile, hardwood, and other slippery floors. Sliding this way can injure your dog.
A quick and easy fix for chapped paws is to apply lotion to your pup’s irritated soft padding until it’s healed. Burt’s Bees Care Plus dog lotion is one example of a product that can get rid of chapped paws and stop your dog’s licking problem.
The licking could also be a sign that there’s an injury beyond the basic dryness. If your dog twisted or sprained their paw, they can’t tell you. Similarly, there could be something stuck in their paw that they’re trying to dislodge. Getting stung or bitten in the soft padding of the paw is very uncomfortable for dogs, too.
Check your pup’s paw for any signs of injury, bites, or stings. It may be something simple, like a splinter or sharp grass that you can easily remove for them. But if they were stung or bitten, you’ll need to watch for allergic reactions.
It’s also possible your pup might have a condition like arthritis or an injury you can’t see.
Before you head to the vet for an expensive checkup, try these remedies to see if you can et Fido to stop the paw-licking.
Dog Licking Paws Remedies
So now you have the answer to the question, “Why do dogs lick themselves?” It may be nothing but a self-grooming habit, or it could be a behavioral or health condition.
Depending on the reason for the paw licking, these remedies could solve the problem without vet intervention:
Find the cause of an allergy.
One of the most common reasons for irritated paw pads is an allergic reaction.
If you recently changed your dog’s food, gave them a new toy, or washed their possessions with a new detergent, it may be an allergy causing the itching. Try to go through each thing you’ve changed and eliminate them one by one to see if the licking stops.
Check for infection.
Dogs walk on some dirty surfaces. It’s common for them to develop infections in their paws from bacteria and fungus that they come into contact with during the day. Infections are also a sign of allergies.
But, since bacteria and fungi thrive in moist conditions, your dog’s paw licking is making the problem worse. Dogs can also get yeast infections and parasitic infections. This article gives you more information on identifying and treating paw infections.
Administer basic first aid.
Inspect your pup’s paws for signs of injury. Don’t forget to look inside the spaces between their toes. If you see any foreign objects, cuts, swelling, bleeding, etc., you can do basic first aid. For instance, grab your tweezers and pull out splinters or stingers or clean a cut with an alcohol swab.
If you see anything beyond a simple fix, call your vet to see if they think you should bring your pup in for a more thorough exam.
Cover their paws.
Covering your pup’s paws serves two purposes. It fixes the problem if it’s a matter of contact with hot or cold surfaces, infection, bites, or stepping on sharp grass. And it prevents your dog from being able to get to their paws.
If you’re struggling with the question, “How do I get my dog to stop chewing his paws?” the answer could be as simple as a paw cover. Walkee Paws, for example, has dog leggings designed to be easy-on and to stay-on as they connect over your pup’s back. There are both indoor versions with socks and outdoor ones with waterproof rubber boots to protect from all the ruff stuff. Another advantage of covering paws outdoors is to prevent Fido from coming home and licking harmful chemicals off his paws .
Because of a comfortable fit, Walkee Paws leggings are popular for dogs of all varieties. After a few days of use, your pup will adjust to the new accessory, and the dog licking issues should go away.
Watch for behavior issues.
If you have ruled out simple causes, a behavioral problem might be the issue.
Often anxiety is the root cause of excessive licking. Supportive clothing, supplements, and behavior therapy can all be solutions.
Was there something new that happened in your dog’s environment? A move, a new addition to the home, or other major changes can be big stresses to a dog.
Walkee Paws indoor grippy socks is a solution to prevent your dog from licking their paws. The indoor dog leggings also bring comfort by making your pup feel secure + supported.
If nothing has changed, and your pup is tired of their routine, they could be bored. Licking their paws gave them something to do, and then it became an obsessive habit. The best way to solve this problem is to engage your dog in activities that distract them from the paw-licking.
A bored dog is one who gets in trouble. Your pup could benefit from more attention, frequent walk, and playtime. Give them toys to play with, and when you’re not around, a brain toy holds their attention.
For serious paw-lickers who don’t stop the behavior with distractions, you may need to consult a dog trainer or a behaviorist for help.
The main thing to remember is that paw-licking could be something simple and an easy fix.
Paw-Licking Habits Must Be Broken
Dogs that lick their paws for grooming reasons are a benefit to their owners. They keep themselves clean, and you don’t have to do as much work. But if your dog has never been a fastidious self-groomer and suddenly begins to lick their paws all the time, something’s up.
These tips will help you pinpoint the reason behind Fido’s paw-licking habit. Whether it’s an easy fix that can be corrected with Walkee Paws dog leggings, or you need to call the vet for an exam, your dog’s paw-licking habit needs to go. Too much licking and even more problems arise, like bacterial and fungal infections.
When your pup is obsessively or aggressively licking their paws, this guide will teach you how to solve the problem!