Why dogs lick their paws? 7 Causes Explained

Dogs licking is one of their bad things, which the dog owners very dislike. But the owners need to understand that it's actually due to different issues, including injuries, skin problems, environment, parasites, food allergies, and boredom. Many dog breeders believe that it's a main part of the dog self-grooming process. Usually, dogs start licking their paws when they come inside after walking on dirty or sandy ground. But if you notice that your dog is continuously licking his pays, there is something wrong with him.

Yes! It's a common behavior in dogs, but healthy and good dogs don't lick their paws excessively. If your dog is doing this all the time, it indicates that something more going on with your dog. Skin allergic reactions are the more common cause of the dogs excessively licking. Let's see some of the common issues, which can be responsible for your dog's excessive licking.


Whenever your dog is excessively licking his paws, one thing you can do is to check your dog's paws for any kind of injuries. Your dog may have any injury such as a cut, torn nail, growth, or perhaps a stone, thorn, or ice ball stuck between the pads. Makes sure to closely look at their nails, between the toes and pads, and the top of the feet. Sometimes the dogs are irritated by placing their paws on something sharp, walking on salted or hot sidewalks, being stung by a bee, or getting a blister. The good news is that you can handle many of these issues with just a simple first-aid treatment. Although some serious injuries also need treatment by a veterinarian.

Skin conditions

If your dog's paws are looking normal, then the licking can be due to skin conditions. These conditions are usually due to bacterial problems, allergies, or food sensitivities. Sometimes people use chemicals and deicing products in their yard for a certain type of grass and weeds. So make sure to clean off your dog's paws with water or a towel to minimize the skin issues due to yard chemicals. Make a habit of cleaning your dog's paws whenever he comes inside.


Sometimes the parasite infections are also responsible for the dog's paws to be very itchy. These parasites can be carry from anywhere into the paws of your dog. In this case, you need to consult with your veterinarian as he can recommend you the ideal treatment to eliminate the parasites from your dog's paws. It will relieve the itching, which ultimately leads your dog to lick free paws.

Food allergies

Food allergies can also be responsible for the itchy paws, which lead your dog to paws licking. The bad thing about these allergies is that they are very difficult to pinpoint. In that case, you should consult with your vet as he can recommend you a special diet to eliminate certain ingredients in your dog's food. It's necessary to alleviate the problems due to food allergies.


Sometimes the pain due to arthritis or other foot conditions can also be responsible for the paws licking in dogs. In many cases, if the pain is in any other part of the dog's body, they try to deal with it by licking their paws, especially the front paws. You should consult with your vet for diagnosis and the treatment of your dog's pain.

Behavioral issues

If you think that your dog doesn't have any of the above issues, he may be suffering from boredom or anxiety. It's another difficult condition for your dog to diagnose, but certain steps can help you. Many times the dogs also develop compulsive behavior, which leads them to paws licking. Maybe your dog is suffering from noises or separation anxiety.

Secondary infections

The dog owners need to understand that the licking behavior is a sign of health problems in dogs and can be very harmful to the dogs. Whenever your dog is licking his paws, you need to consult with your veterinarian to find the cause and an appropriate solution. Make sure to don't wait for too much to consult with your veterinarian, as it can lead your dog to secondary bacterial or yeast infections. In more serious cases, it can also be responsible for itching, redness, swelling, and licking. Depending upon your dog's condition, the veterinarian may recommend you any anti-itching spray, steroids to reduce inflammation, antibiotics for a bacterial infection, or antifungals for yeast infections.

What to do if your dog is licking their paws too much?

If you feel that your dog is licking his paws too much, you need to take a close look at your dog's paws. Try to focus on tops and the bottoms of the feet, the toenails and nail beds, and the spaces in between the digits. You may found any foreign objects, cuts, bruises, bleeding, swelling, redness, cruising, scabs, discharge, broken nails, and anything else, which look abnormal. Sometimes the excessive licking can also cause saliva stains on the hair around the paws. You can easily notice this rust-colored staining where the hair is a light color.

But whether the paws look abnormal or not, try to contact your veterinarian. He can recommend you anything best, depending upon your dog's conditions. Maybe your dog has some serious issues, which need some advanced testing or treatment. If your dog doesn't have any physical issues, then there is a chance that your dog may build behavioral issues. 

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