A dog may lick his paws for several reasons. This habit can be part of self-grooming, but it’s important to find out the underlying cause. Here are some possible reasons to determine the cause of paw licking, spotting other symptoms, and treating and protecting your dog’s paws:
Hot spots – are local areas of inflammation caused by repetitive licking of an area. It’s a response to intense itchiness and often happens overnight. There can be hair loss with moist, red, itchy skin. A topical anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial spray made for dogs may help treat a hot spot on a dog’s paw until the cause can be determined.
Allergies – can be caused by the environment, food, or an irritant that comes in to contact with your dog’s skin. Redness, dark pigmentation, or brown staining on the paws from constant licking may be signs of allergies. Bathing or wiping your dog’s paws after going outside will reduce the allergens on your dog’s skin.
Overgrown nails – may cause discomfort when a dog walks, leading to excessive licking of the affected paws. A regular grooming appointment that includes trimming of the nails can help prevent this.
Burns – can happen when dogs walk on hot surfaces, such as pavement, or from undiluted chemicals, such as cleaning products used on floors. Medicine for secondary infection or pain relief may be needed.
Snow and Ice Melts – Winter snow and salt used for de-icing may also cause skin irritation that leads to a dog licking their paws. The extreme cold and irritation from the salt may cause redness of the affected areas. Using booties when walking in the winter may help avoid this. You can also use paw wax or dog-safe de-icers for your own yard.
Anxiety and boredom – commonly cause a dog to keep licking their paws. The repetitive motion is soothing for them. The area may show hair loss with thickened, raised skin, or a lick granuloma that can be treated with prescribed medication.
In order to prevent your dog licking his paws, it’s important to check them daily, so that to catch the problem early and correct it. You can examine the top and bot tom of the paws, along with the toes, nails, and toe pads. Look for any indication of injury, irritation, foreign objects, or any obvious abnormality. It’s also advisable to use a pet-specific moisturizing cream or lotion on a regular basis. Remember to thoroughly wipe your dog’s paws after walks which will decrease the environmental allergen on the skin. Schedule regular grooming appointments to have your furry friend’s nails trimmed, avoiding the discomfort of overgrown nails in to the paw. If walking in the snow or hot surfaces is necessary, cover your dog’s paws with protective boots or a salve that’s specially designed for dog paw protection.
We hope these tips will help you to take care of your furry friend!