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Paw Licking? Reasons Why Dogs Lick Their Paws.

Why Does My Dog Keep Licking Its Paws?

It is very frustrating when you watch your dog incessantly and obsessively licking their paws, especially when they lose interest in everything around them. So what does it mean when a dog licks or chews its paws all the time? While it's normal for dogs to groom their paws every now and then, too much licking is often indicative of an underlying problem.

You don't want to let your dog's paw-licking get out of hand. Sometimes, it can become an addicting habit that is difficult to eradicate. Dogs who lick their paws excessively often develop swelling and stains on the fur of their feet (if they are light-colored). Sometimes, excessive licking may cause moisture to become trapped between the dog's toes, creating an ideal setting for an opportunistic infection.

Once inflammation or an infection sets in, a vicious cycle can form. Inflammation and infection can cause discomfort and itching, and this can cause your dog to lick their paws even more. Continued licking can further contaminate the area with bacteria and impair the healing process indefinitely.

This article discusses 10 common causes of paw-licking and outlines several strategies to stop the behavior and prevent it in the future. Once you and/or your vet have identified the issue, you can address the underlying cause and stop your dog from constantly licking its paws.

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?

  1. Pain
  2. Allergy
  3. Gastrointestinal Issues
  4. Boredom
  5. Anxiety
  6. Hormonal Imbalance
  7. Dry Skin
  8. Fleas and Ticks
  9. Cold Weather
  10. Yeast Infection

1. Pain

If your dog starts licking their paws suddenly, it may be indicative of pain or irritation, especially if they are licking only one paw. If the licking is limited to one paw, the source of the trouble is likely right there on the paw. The pain in that area can be caused by almost anything, but common culprits include insect bites, thorns, small wounds, small pieces of embedded glass, broken nails, etc.

If you do not see anything, don't ignore it. Take your pet to the vet as soon as possible. Sometimes, there may be something going on at a deeper level, such as a muscle sprain or some type of inflammation or fracture, especially if the licking is accompanied by limping.

2. Allergy

Chronic licking is usually attributed to allergies, and these can come from just about anything. It could be their food, the chemicals in your yard, your carpet-cleaning products, weeds, grass, medicine, or something else.