Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?

It’s normal for all dogs to lick their paws from time to time, as a part of their regular self-grooming routine. If yours, however, always seems to be licking or biting at its paws, it could be an indication of something deeper going on, and our veterinarian at Compassion Animal Hospital in Woodland Park can help you get to the bottom of it. The following are some of the more common reasons why some dogs lick their paws excessively.

6 Reasons Why Your Dog Might Be Licking Its Paws


1. Food Allergies

Dogs can be allergic to different ingredients in their food, and one of the symptoms of allergies in pets is itchy inflamed skin and paws. If your dog’s licking its paws, and they appear red or swollen, allergies could be the cause.

2. Skin Irritation

Sometimes dry weather, hot pavement, or icy sidewalks can irritate the skin on your pet’s paws. You can soothe them with a dog-safe paw balm or consider protecting your dog’s paws with booties.

3. Musculoskeletal Pain

When a dog experiences persistent pain or discomfort, they instinctively lick, chew, or bite at the location of the pain. Excessive licking can indicate arthritis or an injury affecting the area.

4. Parasites

As your dog goes out exploring the world, they can easily pick up parasites like fleas and ticks on their paws, and the parasites can easily hide between your dog’s toes. Be sure to thoroughly check your pet for parasites after playing outdoors and always use a parasite preventative medication.
Our veterinarian can help you choose one that will be safe and effective for all the residents of your household.

5. Foxtails

Foxtails are barbed seeds from foxtail plants that pose a safety concern to dogs. Dogs can get these stuck in their fur, where they then work their way into the skin of the paw, causing pain, irritation, and even infection.

6. Anxiety or Boredom

Sometimes, bored or anxious pets will groom and lick themselves excessively. Try adding more exercise and enrichment to your pet’s day.

Relief for Your Dog's Itching in Woodland Park

If your dog has been working on its paws more than usual or exhibiting any other unusual behavior or symptoms, we recommend scheduling a checkup with our veterinarian at Compassion Animal Hospital. We can take a look at your dog’s paws, talk with you about your dog’s lifestyle and other signs or symptoms you might have noticed, and work with you to determine and treat the underlying cause.