Paw Licking in Dogs: What It Means and How It Can Be Managed
Here’s Why Dogs Constantly Lick Their Paws and What You Can Do About It
Paw licking is a normal part of a dog’s self-grooming process. However, it can be a problem if your pet does it too frequently and with more intensity. If this happens with your dog, you’ll want to take him to a trusted veterinarian near you and have him checked for injuries or any other problems.
Common Causes of Aggressive Paw Licking
Injuries are some of the most common reasons behind constant paw licking. This comes from the fact that dogs usually lick areas of their body that are bleeding and/or hurting to promote the healing process. If your pet starts aggressively licking his paw, inspect if it has a cut, blister, or torn nail. You should also check if there’s a thorn or small stone that’s stuck in between the pads or if he injured his paw by walking on hot or salted roads or after getting stung by a bee.
Aside from injuries, constant paw licking can be caused by other health issues. Pain caused by arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions can also cause dogs to lick their paws for comfort. Food allergies and sensitivities, meanwhile, can lead to dermatitis (skin inflammation), which can make the paws feel sore and itchy. Dermatitis can also arise if your dog is allergic to your de-icing products, pesticides and other yard care chemicals, and even certain types of weeds and grass.
Of course, physiological health problems aren’t the only cause behind aggressive paw licking. Behavioral issues due to anxiety and/or boredom can also cause dogs to excessively lick a certain part of their body, and some dogs tend to focus this action on their paws.
How Constant Paw Licking Can Be Managed
The first step to managing paw licking is to determine what’s causing it. If your dog has been injured, for example, your veterinarian at Staten Island Veterinary Group will provide the appropriate treatment and ensure that the injury will heal properly as soon as possible. If your dog is licking his paws due to fleas, mange, or other parasitic infections, your vet will recommend treatments to eliminate the parasites and make the itching go away.
Managing allergy-caused paw licking can be tricky since your veterinarian may have to narrow down the allergens that are causing your dog to itch. A special diet might be recommended to ensure that your dog isn’t exposed to ingredients that irritate his skin and make his paws itchy.
Working with a professional animal behaviorist can be a good idea if your dog’s paw licking problem is caused by behavioral issues. Giving your dog more playtime and taking him on longer and/or more frequent walks can help him burn more physical and mental energy and make him focus less on paw licking. If your dog has anxiety, giving him calming treats like Solliquin or melatonin chews can be helpful.
Get in Touch with Our Experts
Aggressive paw licking can be a sign of serious health issues that should be resolved as soon as possible. If your dog is displaying this behavior, make sure to reach out to a reputable veterinarian in your area, like us. With our help, you can get to the core of your dog’s health or behavioral issues and ensure that he will stop licking his paws constantly.