What is that noise? The pup is in the corner licking her doggone paws again. Is it something I should be worried about? It is just part of her nightly routine? Could it be more than just a little personal grooming before bed? What are some reasons your dog is licking her paws?
Like most pet parents we worry about our pets. They can’t verbally tell us if there is a problem, we have to rely on observations and our intuition most of the time. If your dog is is suddenly favoring a leg or paw and licking it more than usual, it could be the result of pain, stress, yeast infection, or just plain old boredom.
Is your dog is licking her paw in pain?
When my furry canine roommate is licking her paws or leg a lot, the first thing I like to do it to gently take a look at the area. She is a senior , but you wouldn’t know it when we are out on a walk. We only walk about a mile a day but sometimes it is through the trail behind our house, full of dirt roads, and burrs and brush. I have made it a habit to do a paw inspection when we get home. A small sticker or foxtail can easily work its way between fur or sensitive skin between toes and be hard to reach. If you have even accidentally stepped on those little burrs yikes… they are sharp !
“It’s not unusual for dogs to suffer cuts or other wounds from accidentally stepping on glass, debris or other objects. Wounds that are smaller than a half inch in diameter can be cleaned with an antibacterial wash and covered with a dog bootie. For deeper paw cuts, see the vet for treatment.”–Pets.WebMd
Dog paws are a very sensitive area. Pads can also become dry and cracked in dry weather. If your walking buddy is excessively licking check for the most obvious reason for the discomfort first. It is very easy to miss small cut on the paws. Occasionally, those tiny cuts can become infected. If it becomes a yeast infection is can be itchy and sore. Inflammation can be painful. Dog instinctively lick to help keep wounds clean.
Is the licking accompanied by limping?
Once you have ruled out a cut or sticker your pup’s paw, the behavior might mean she is experiencing some internal pain or soreness. Pets are excellent in hiding their pain. Observing their behavior sometimes is the only way know if they are hurting or nervous. If your dog is licking her paws more normal and favoring the hurt leg or limping, is a clear sign not to be dismissed. A trip to the Veterinarian may be the best option. Licking could be a sign your dog is experiencing the first signs of arthritis, or has small hairline fracture.
Is it a new Allergic reaction?
Constant licking can also be a sign of an allergy. If you have changed your pets’ diet, a new brand or flavor , or treats, perhaps it doesn’t agree with your dog. A new food doesn’t always cause an upset stomach, but may cause itchiness. Some dog I know, that is sleeping on the floor next to me, loves to roll on lawns around the neighborhood. Don’t rule out a reaction to a pesticide, fertilizers, or other new environmental causes. Pets are good at trying to heal their wounds or distressed. Licking is your dogs way of trying to scratch that itchy sore spot, to make it better,
Is your dog stressed ?
Like a lot of people or pets, routine is a welcomed thing. A change in environment can be stressful for a dog. New roommate or partner, a move or just a change in your schedule can upset your pal. A sudden new habit of excessive licking paws can be a soothing. If dinner has been served at 5pm for a years and now you aren’t home until 7pm, somehow they seem to know that you are late , although pets can’t tell time. Stress or boredom can lead your dog to look for ways to comfort themselves.
Tips to help stop your dog from licking her paws
We like to use Petal and Tails Lavender Fields Forever Balm with Eucalyptus, Arnica and CBD. It is a beautifully packaged, delicious smelling healing salve. CBD is known for its calming properties , and arnica is great for healing. It is a nice product to help with most these root causes of the problem. But here are some other suggestions.
- Spa Paw treatment /care – Extra attention to those paws is useful. Make sure they are kept clean and in a moisturized. There are many products to use to keep paws from getting dry and cracked. Even a simple layer of Vaseline is good to help protect the pads of their feet.
- Massage the leg getting all the attention. Gentle rubbing ( towards the heart) can provide relief if the licking is related to soreness or arthritis.
- Redirect… Boredom leads to unwanted behavior. Introducing a new toy can help distract from unwanted licking. Dogs with working pet parents spend a lot of time alone sometimes. Stimulation is important.
Last resort for licking behavior that won’t stop
Dogs are stubborn and at times they just can’t help behaviors that are no good for them. Licking is a natural response and pets shouldn’t be punished for it, however sometimes we need to step in and get them to stop for various reasons. This is an excellent and EASY DIY cone alternative.
Another option is doggie booties, or bitter apple.
I love having a dog at home. She is definitely well loved and she has been a great company this year. I have learned a lot including dog behaviors like this one. She is really sensitive and doesn’t like anyone touching her paws and spends a lot of time licking them. We help manage her pain and keep an an eye her grooming habits. She has been to the Veterinarian, and at 11years old, aches and pain are just a part of life. She still spends time of those sensitive paws so we keep tabs on their health.
I’m a busy blogger pet parent to my senior-aged cat Pizza. We have traveled all over Los Angeles, endured several moves, jobs, roommates and now global pandemic together. Today we write, learn, and share information and our favorite products, in hopes you can experience your best life with pets too, We currently live with other humans and their beautiful dog.