Why do dogs lick their paws?
If pet parents know anything, it is this: dogs do a lot of weird stuff. A prime example is head tilting. And why do dogs eat grass or poop, anyway? Another common perplexing canine behaviour is a paw licking. “When a dog licks their paws constantly or concentrates on licking just the paw area, it may be a sign that something is wrong,” cautions veterinarian, Dr RuthAnn Lobos. Here are seven explanations that can help answer the question. “Once you’ve figured out the probable cause, the next step is to answer the question “How can I get my dog to stop licking his paws?” We have information that can help there as well.
First things first. Why do dogs lick their paws? They may just be grooming themselves, which is totally normal. Occasional paw licking – a few minutes a day – is far from unusual. While not as fastidious as cats, dogs do make some effort to keep themselves, particularly their paws, clean. It’s common for a dog to lick his paws briefly after coming in from a walk, especially if he might have gotten sand or a lot of dirt on them. If you’re wondering, Should I stop my dog from licking his paws? and the behaviour fits that description, then no. If your dog seems to be constantly licking his paws, read on.
If your dog is chewing his paws, it may be a sign that he’s been injured. Stepping on glass or a thorn, breaking a claw, being stung by a bee, or getting burned on hot asphalt are just a few things that may have happened to your pup to cause this behaviour. A boo-boo is especially likely to be the culprit if the licking starts out of nowhere. Take a good look at each nail, in between your dog’s toes and pads, and the top of his feet. Depending on what’s wrong, you may be able to take care of it yourself with a good canine first aid kit. If you have any doubt, though, check in with your vet.
Fleas, ticks, and mange can irritate and itch like crazy anywhere on your dog’s body, including, of course, his feet. Especially during the summer months, parasites could be the cause of your dog licking his paws. Numerous treatment options are available for canine parasites, and your veterinarian can help you decide which is the best one for your dog’s particular situation.