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How To Stop Dog From Licking Paws

How To Stop Dog From Licking Paws

How To Stop Dog From Licking Paws

If your dog is licking their paws obsessively, you should attempt to stop it by identifying the reason and treating it or training them. Excessive paw licking can lead to further medical issues if ignored. 

Why Does My Dog Lick Their Paws?

There are several reasons why your pup may be licking their paws. Here are some common reasons and how to handle or treat them if necessary. 


The first step to take, especially if the licking begins very suddenly and is focused on one paw, is to examine the paws to ensure there is no injury. This could include anything from a cut, torn nail, growth, or perhaps a rock, thorn, or ice ball stuck between the pads. Look closely at the nails, between the toes and pads, and at the tops of the feet.

Your dog may have injured their paw by stepping on something sharp, walking on salted or hot sidewalks, being stung by a bee, or getting a blister. Some of these problems can be relieved by a simple first aid treatment, while others might require treatment by a veterinarian.


If the paw pads and feet appear normal, the licking could be due to a skin condition (dermatitis), which often results from bacterial problems, allergies, or food sensitivities. Your dog could develop dermatitis by being allergic to chemicals used in your yard, de-icing products, or certain types of grass or weeds. Keeping a bowl of water and a towel near the door to gently clean off their paws when they come inside may help.


Parasite infections such as fleas or mange can cause the paws to be very itchy. Your veterinarian can recommend treatments to eliminate the parasites and relieve the itching.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are known to cause itchy paws, and these types of allergies are difficult to pinpoint. Your vet may suggest a special diet or elimination of certain ingredients in your dog’s food to alleviate the problem.

What to Do If Your Dog Is Licking Their Paws Too Much

You can begin by taking a close look at the paws. Inspect the tops and bottoms of the feet, the toenails and nail beds, and the spaces between their toes. Look for foreign objects, cuts, bruises, bleeding, swelling, redness, crusting, scabs, discharge, broken nails, and anything abnormal. Administer first aid if necessary.  

It's essential to contact your veterinarian whether or not the paws look abnormal to you. Your vet needs to rule out health problems before you start addressing a behavior issue.

Note that excessive licking often causes saliva stains on the hair around the paws. This rust-colored staining is easiest to see when their hair is a light color.

If your dog has a problem that may need advanced testing or treatment, your vet may refer you to a specialist, like a veterinary dermatologist or a veterinary surgeon.

If there is no physical reason for your dog to lick their paws excessively, then there's a chance your dog has developed a behavior issue.

Is It Normal For My Dog to Lick His Paws?

This can be a normal, healthy behavior and a sign that your furry friend simply wants to be clean. However, it is not normal if your dog focuses on only one paw or licks excessively. 

This shows that something is possibly irritating your dog’s paw, and they are licking as a way to try and find relief. Or, it can mean that your dog has some sort of behavior issue or is potentially feeling very anxious or stressed. You may also find that your dog does this due to separation anxiety or boredom due to a lack of stimulation. Make sure that your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise, attention, and love.

When left unaddressed, it can lead to your dog developing a potential sore or wound and require further medical intervention. 

People also ask:

How can I get my dog to stop licking its paws?

Some dogs develop compulsive behaviors, which include paw licking. To alleviate boredom, try taking your dog for more walks, runs, or playtime with you and other dogs to use up more mental and physical energy. Give him puzzle toys or safe chew toys to take his focus away from his paws.

Why is my dog licking their paws so much?

As with other dog behaviors, several reasons lead dogs to lick or chew their paws. These include injuries, skin irritation, parasites, food allergies, and boredom or anxiety.

What to put on dog's skin to stop licking?

You will want to start by visiting your vet and having your dog checked for allergies, skin sensitivities, fungus, and parasites because they could be licking the area because it is itchy.

If you notice that your dog begins to develop irritation due to licking, you can bandage the area to prevent them from getting to it. However, it’s important to note that some dogs may chew through their bandage or simply swap to licking another leg. 

Paw licking could be a result of boredom or unspent energy that is being directed into licking. Make sure that you’re walking or running your dog every day for an adequate amount of time based on their size and breed. 

If you find that none of the above has helped, you may need to visit a dog behavior specialist. Your dog could be facing an obsession, and no matter what you do, you might not be able to change it by yourself. Seek outside help with dealing with licking due to OCD or anxiety.

Final Thoughts

If your dog starts obsessively licking their paws, you should not ignore it. Paw licking can be a sign of more serious issues or could be the start of an issue itself. 

Although dogs clean themselves with their tongue, any licking that breaks the skin should be monitored and stopped. Be sure to always consult your vet to rule out any health problems and get proper treatment and care.