3 Reasons Why Your Dog Licks His Paws Excessively & How to Fix

Dog Licking Face

Is your dog suddenly starting to lick his paw more often than usual? In most cases, dogs that lick their paws is not something to be super concerned about but you may want to check on the following things in case the licking behavior does point to a health or behavioral issue. Here are the most common reasons for dogs that lick their paws excessively.

Your Dog Has a Paw Injury

The first thing you should do is to check your dog’s paws and see if there are any injuries or foreign objects that are causing your dog major discomfort. Paw injuries can occur if your dog steps on something sharp or if the paws have been exposed to a really hot or cold surface for a prolonged period of time. Dogs that have an injury to their paws are likely to display other symptoms like limping, bleeding, and a discoloration of the paw pad.

If this appears to be the primary cause of the excessive licking then we strongly suggest you take the dog to the vet as soon as possible for the appropriate treatment. There might be minor cases that you can handle on your own, such as when a tiny object gets lodged into the dog’s paw, but it’s best to leave the treatment to the professionals, especially if your dog is displaying a lot of discomfort.

The Paw is Affected by a Bacterial Infection

There’s also a possibility of the paws being affected by a fungal and bacterial infection. A dog’s paw is exposed to many different species of bacteria, which may grow out of control and cause an infection. You may also notice other symptoms like swelling and discharge coming out from the paw pad.

Again, this would be a case where you need to take the dog to the vet as soon as possible so that he can be treated with the right medication. You don’t want the infection to spread to other parts of the body as the dog continues to lick the infected paw.

Your Dog is Bored or Anxious

On the behavioral side, excessive licking may indicate your dog is feeling bored or anxious. Licking their paws may help a dog feel better as the act of licking supposedly helps with reducing the level of stress hormone in the dog’s body. If your dog is not getting enough time doing a mix of physical and mental exercise then this is the time you start introducing such activities. There are plenty of affordable and mentally-challenging dog toys you can introduce to your dog.

If you think the excessive licking has more to do with the dog feeling anxious then you need to establish what is causing the anxiety in the first place. This may happen as a dog gets older or if there’s something unusual in the dog’s environment (such as a strange) that’s causing him to feel anxious.

It’s also possible for the excessive licking to occur due to separation anxiety. For example, you may notice a small puddle of saliva near your dog’s feet when you get back home from work. Dogs that feel anxious may feel other symptoms like excessive panting and urinating.

How Can I Get My Dog to Stop Licking His Paws?

The solution will largely depend on the cause of the excessive licking, which could be any of the above problems we have listed. If the licking occurs only on rare occasions then there shouldn’t be a need for you to try and stop the dog from licking his paws. This issue should only be considered if you feel the licking is abnormal compared to his usual behavior.

Unless it’s an issue related with a physical injury, we would suggest increasing the exercise and activities that your dog takes part in, especially if he spends a lot of time at home alone. Indoor toys like flirt poles are a great way to exercise your dog in a short amount of time.

If you leave your dog in the crate then it may also help to put a bedding material that can soak up the saliva. Wet conditions may result in infections, rashes, and other unwanted health issues.

John at My Pet Child

is the Founder of My Pet Child, where he shares his tips on living with a dog in an apartment.

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