6 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Licking His Paws
A dog licking its paws isn't an uncommon sight. After all, their self-grooming process includes licking themselves clean. If it's happening mostly on the paws, you may have to consider other reasons for it besides personal hygiene.
Lots of dog owners often ask the question, "why is my dog licking its paws?" The reasons vary from the state of the weather too severe medical conditions. If it's the latter, insurance for dogs will come in handy when you need to pay the vet bills.
So what are the other answers to the question, "why does my dog lick his paws?" Read on to find out 6 things that may be the cause for the constant licking. Some solutions are available for each problem, but a visit to the vet is best.
Pain or irritation of the paws is one of the most common reasons why dogs lick them. If they're licking one paw in particular, it's a safe bet that it's the one causing problems. Pain can be the result of wounds, thorns, insect bites, broken nails, or any object stuck there.
Besides licking, dogs indicate that they’re in pain by whining. Some changes in behavior can also show that a dog is in pain. That includes limping, being less active or slow, and eating less.
You may not find anything when you check the paws, but if the licking continues, a visit to the vet is necessary. Sometimes, the dog limps too, meaning the cause of pain might be something internal. The vet should be able to determine whether it's a sprained muscle, fracture, or something else.
Allergies or Yeast Infection
Yes, dogs have allergies too, and itchiness is usually the most common symptom of those. Your dog may attempt to scratch that itch by licking, which alerts you to the problem. The allergies can be to something they came in contact with or ate.
If you notice that your dog only starts licking paws after eating a particular food, they may be allergic to it. Likewise, chemicals in your yard or on certain surfaces in your home may be the problem. Some blood tests done by the vet can help to determine the exact problem to find the right solution.
Countless yeast organisms exist on your dog, and most of them aren't a problem. However, even benign yeasts can multiply, causing an infection, itchiness, and inflammation. A poor diet may lead to this multiplication, and you can change it by following the vet's advice.
Licking paws may be a sign of boredom. Staying home all day with nothing to do and nowhere to go is not in a dog's nature. Unfortunately, the busy lives of dog owners resign their dogs to this fate.
The paw-licking is part of their way of showing their frustration to you so you can do something about it. Since it's not a medical issue, this one is pretty easy to solve. When you're free, you can do fun things like exercise with your dog and letting them play with other dogs.
Remember Max, the dog from the movie The Secret Life of Pets? He portrayed how dogs left alone get anxious because they don't know where you've gone or when you're returning. This separation anxiety in dogs is only one of the many reasons a dog may feel anxious and lick its paws.
Other causes of anxiety in dogs include loud noises, past abuse, and even medical problems. If you can't figure it out yourself, a vet can help you rule out medical issues. Anti-anxiety medication and behavior modification exercises can help to treat the condition.
Cold, dry weather and washing your dog too much can lead to skin problems in dogs, such as dry skin. In some cases, this skin condition only occurs in certain breeds of dogs. Some dog breeds like the American Hairless Terrier, are more susceptible because of the direct exposure to the elements.
To ease your dog's discomfort, you can get a natural dog lotion or oil to apply as a protective layer on their skin. Alternatively, you can add oil supplements to their diet to fix the issue from the inside.
In case it's too cold for your dog to be outside, you can keep them in. It will protect your dog from skin problems resulting from the harsh weather. Plus, you find fun things to do indoors to keep them entertained.
In other cases, dry skin can result from allergies or bigger medical problems such as hypothyroidism. With hypothyroidism, dogs gain weight and lose hair, leaving their skin exposed to harsh weather conditions, hence the dry skin.
It's important to get such allergies and medical conditions treated as soon as possible before the problem gets worse. You can also use milder soaps and refrain from washing your dog too much to prevent dry skin.
Fleas or Ticks
Such parasites are some of the common health issues in dogs that dog owners have to deal with often. They cause itchiness, leading to scratching, chewing, and paw licking. These parasites can even kill your dog if the problem is not taken care of right away.
Some dogs are allergic to fleas and ticks, which makes them more dangerous to man’s best friend. Flea and tick repellants can help to get rid of them, but you should still consider going to a vet. If you don't want to resort to chemical treatments, you can try natural methods such as:
- Dietary changes
- Cleaning pets with plain, lukewarm water and grooming with a flea comb
- Washing the dog's bedding in hot water
- Cleaning carpets often
Plain water is enough to kill the fleas so you can skip the chemicals to avoid drying the dog's skin out. That only causes more problems for you and your dog instead. Washing with chemicals can also crack the dog's skin, which invites more parasites, so you're back to square one.