Casual barking episodes, passionately chasing their tail or other peculiar actions of dogs can be quite entertaining, but many pet owners don’t really know what their furry friend is trying to communicate. Whether you are just preparing for owning a dog or you have been a proud pup parent for a while, canine behavior will definitely make you feel puzzled from time to time.
If you have noticed your furry ball of love licking its paws, you may feel confused and don’t know if you should do something about it or is this something that doggies normally do. Why do dogs lick their paws, and when is it a sign of a problem? The answer may be an eye-opener.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws? When Is It a Sign of a Health Problem
Although it is normal for pups to lick their paws from time to time, if it is an excessive and aggressive licking then you need to determine what could be the cause. A visit to the veterinary clinic will help you with finding out the exact reason for your pooch’s behavior, as well as with getting the appropriate medicine.
Your Pup Injured its Paw
If your dog allows you, look at the paw that it has been licking and examine if it has been injured. Your pup will lick its paw to manage the pain.
It may have burned its paw while walking on hot pavement or its toenail may have been caught in fabric or grass and it was partially torn off.
Furthermore, your sweet furry ball may have stepped on a foreign object and now it is stuck in its paw. This can cause quite a big discomfort and irritation, so if you can, remove it safely.
Another type of injury your pooch may endure is a bee or wasp sting, and a bite from another insect or animal.
Nevertheless, the safest step to take is to consult with a veterinarian about what further actions to take.
Your Pooch Has Skin Health Problems
Your furry friend may be licking its paws because of a skin condition that can appear if it is allergic to certain cleaning chemicals you use or to some types of weeds. One way to help your dog is by cleaning its paws after you come back from a walk. You can wipe its feet with a wet towel as soon as you get walk through the door.
If your doggie is allergic to dust or certain types of weeds and grass, it will lick its paws to soothe the dry and itchy skin. This skin condition may be accompanied by other symptoms like swollen eyes or a runny nose.
If you suspect your pup has an environmental allergy, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Your Dog Has Food Allergies
If your doggie has food allergies, it will feel itchiness around its face, paws, and tail. In relation, your pup's licking of its paws may be due to an allergic reaction to a certain food. Usually, dogs are allergic to a protein source, but to be certain you will need to take your furry ball of love for a checkup.
Other allergy triggers may be ingredients such as wheat, soy, or dairy. Pay attention if your furry friend licks their paws only after mealtimes or after consuming certain foods.
Furthermore, your vet may suggest changing your pet’s diet or eliminating certain ingredients that trigger the allergy.
Your Doggie Has Made Friends with Ticks, Fleas, or Other Parasites
Since their paws are the first thing that comes in touch with surfaces where lice, fleas, ticks, and mites live, it is easy for pests to irritate your pup’s skin. Your dog’s common reaction would be scratching or licking the affected area.
You could find out if parasites are the reason for your dog's licking its paws by inspecting its skin, and then you could ask your veterinarian for a piece of advice on how to proceed. Also, you may want to consider avoiding your usual route where you walk your pooch if it is a wooded or grassy area because pests normally are found there.
Your Furry Friend’s Skin Is Dry and Flaky
If you notice flakes in your doggie's fur, dry skin may be the cause for the little ball of love to lick its tiny paws. This is something that can be treated with appropriate products, but don't use anything without approval from a veterinarian.
There Are Hot Spots on Your Pup’s Skin
Hot spots can appear suddenly and overnight as a result of excessive licking. This condition is often accompanied by other symptoms like skin that is itchy, red, and moist.
In relation, there are some anti-inflammatory sprays that could treat hot spots, but first, you need to be certain that this is what makes your pooch lick its paws.
Your Pooch Has Bacterial or Yeast Infection
Bacterial infections can be the cause or the result of your dog's constantly licking its paws. If the skin is damaged, red, and flaky, and there is loss of hair, bacterial infection can be the cause of paw-licking behavior.
Furthermore, when yeast overgrows it can cause an infection while leading to the appearance of odor and itchiness of the skin. Also, with a yeast infection, the skin can feel a bit greasy.
On the other hand, your pup's constant licking may result in the accumulation of moisture causing a perfect environment for yeast or bacterial infection.
Your dog’s bacterial and yeast infection can worsen paw licking, so you should take the furry ball of love to the veterinarian for a proper diagnose and treatment.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws? Maybe Your Dog Is Bored
Behavioral issues may be yet another cause for your dog licking its paws. If you have observed your pup, and you haven't noticed any of the above-mentioned health problems, then it is possible that your furry friend is bored.
When you aren't at home, ensure that your dog has a lot of items it can play with and feels comfortable being at home alone. You leave fun toys it can chew on, or maybe it has a favorite blanket that it enjoys snuggling with.
Moreover, taking your pooch for frequent walks and play-time activities will keep it entertained and reduce compulsive behavior such as paw licking, or even digging, destructive chewing, and barking.
Do whatever you can to distract your furry ball of love and direct its attention to other activities. But, bear in mind that it will take time and a lot of patience. Try to avoid scolding or giving treats when it is licking its paws.
In addition, separation anxiety or fear may be another trigger for your dog to lick its paws. If a veterinarian has diagnosed that your doggie is suffering from anxiety then it would be a good idea to reach out to an animal behaviorist or a dog trainer.
Nevertheless, always consult with a veterinarian and don’t make your own diagnosis. If you suspect that there is a bigger and more serious reason for your dog licking its paws, then take it for a check-up.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws? When There Is No Reason for Concern
Paw licking can be just normal dog behavior. If your healthy pup doesn’t excessively lick its paws, there is no reason to be concerned. But, why would your doggie lick its paws if it isn’t related to its health?
Our furry friends usually self-groom themselves by licking their little paws. You may even notice your pooch lick its paws after meals or after coming back from a walk outside. Although you may think that dogs unlike cats aren’t that dedicated to self-grooming, it is perfectly normal for your furry ball of love to lick its paws in order to remove debris.
Even if your canine companion isn't into self-grooming, it still may lick its paws occasionally, which is normal, healthy behavior.
To Sum Up
It is crucial that you observe your dog’s behavior and recognize if the paw licking is an indication of a serious health problem. Excessive licking can lead to swelling, redness and can further worsen your pup’s health condition. When it comes to bacterial and yeast infections, waiting too long can cause more damage to your doggie's skin.
In relation, a consultation with a vet is essential because they could prescribe a medication that can alleviate your dog’s symptoms and prevent it from licking the affected paw.
In most cases, paw licking is just a normal dog behavior that shouldn’t alarm you. In fact, it can help your pooch stay clean.
However, if your canine companion is constantly licking its paws and you suspect that there is a health issue, then you should take an action right away. If you identify the cause sooner, your doggie can go back to its normal life, and you can stop worrying and spend more quality time with your furry best friend.