Is your dog licking his paws all the time? What does this indicate, and is there a treatment for it? It would help stop your dog from licking by identifying the reason and treating or training him. If not, excessive paw licking can lead to further medical problems.
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Keep reading this space to learn about possible causes and what you can do to help your dog stop licking his paws.
What are the Causes of Dog Licking Paws?
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Pain or irritation can cause your dog to lick his paw. For example, if you observe your dog licking only one paw, your pet may be experiencing pain. Pain could result from a bite from an insect, thorns, a small wound, a broken nail, etc.
Don’t ignore this behavior even if you don’t see any of such reasons. Instead, take your dog to the vet. There may be some problem internally, like a muscle sprain or fracture.
Allergies might cause chronic licking. Your dog may be allergic to some foods, chemicals, grass, medicine, etc.
Finding the reason for itchiness in the paws may take some time and observation, but you should know what is allergic to your dog to handle the problem. Your veterinarian may also recommend a blood test to obtain more information.
Your dog may experience various illnesses and health issues that cause itchy skin and make him lick his paws. This includes:
- Thyroid disease
- Metabolic diseases like Cushing’s syndrome
- Kidney disease
- Nutritional deficiencies
Thus, it’s highly essential to have your dog checked out to decide the root cause of their continuous paw licking and chewing.
A study named ‘Gastrointestinal disorders in dogs with the excessive licking of surfaces,’ published by the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, concluded that gastrointestinal issues were present in many dogs that displayed abnormal licking.
Out of the 19 licking dogs, 14 had gastrointestinal abnormalities, such as lymphocytic-plasmacytic infiltration, a gastric foreign body, or chronic pancreatitis.
Boredom and Anxiety
Boredom is one of the most common issues for a dog that won’t stop licking his paws. Some of the things you can do to prevent your dog from feeling bored are:
- Taking your dog out for walks often
- Not leaving him alone for long periods
- Playing with your pet
- Allowing him to socialize
Anxiety can also cause dogs to lick their paws, just as humans bite their nails. The possible causes are separation anxiety, noise phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Your dog can lick his paws obsessively due to hormonal imbalance. When there is a hormonal balance, your dog’s body can produce too much cortisol or not enough thyroid hormone. This may cause a dog to develop skin problems that can become itchy.
In some dogs, dry skin will be a breed-specific issue that might have been caused by over-bathing or the climate. However, when a dog has dehydrated skin, it will likely become itchy, which causes your dog to start licking to calm the itchiness down.
Fleas or Ticks
If your dog’s fur is filled with fleas or ticks, the bites will cause itchiness leading to compulsive paw-licking, as well as chewing. It can get worse if the pet is allergic to these parasites. Eliminating fleas and/or ticks is the solution to solve this issue. In addition, your vet will likely need to prescribe medication for further treatment and prevention.
De-icing Salts and Cold Weather
Last but not least, de-icing salts or sore paws caused by ice balls can also cause dogs to lick their paws. De-icing salts are nothing but chemicals used to melt ice on roads and driveways during the winter leading to chemical burns on your dog’s paws. Alternatively, ice balls get stuck between hairy toes and cause cracking, bleeding, and hair pulling, causing irritation.
Have your dog wear pet boots to avoid chemical burns. Rub Crisco between the pads and the fur to prevent snow from getting stuck between your dog’s toes. Be sure to keep the hair in the area trimmed.
Steps to Stop Your Dog From Licking Paws
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Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar has antifungal properties. So if your dog is licking their paws due to a fungal infection, apple cider vinegar can help overcome the problem. Vinegar is diluted acetic acid, effectively killing fungi without harmful effects.
To do this, dilute the vinegar in the water at a 1:2 ratio. That is two cups of water for every cup of vinegar. Then, soak your pet’s feet in it for at least 5 minutes.
You’ll need to do this 2 times a day to work correctly. This method is best for mild fungal infections but not serious ones. If it doesn’t work, you should consider speaking to your vet.
Of course, this method is only helpful if a fungal infection causes your dog’s licking. If it isn’t, you’ll need to try a different way.
Try Baking Soda
Baking soda is a safe product that has anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it is recommended for a variety of canine conditions. In addition, baking soda is beneficial for at-home treatments because it is practically harmless.
To use this effectively, make a paste using water, and apply it on your dog’s paws for an hour or so. Dog boots will be necessary to keep your pup from licking it off.
This method will not treat a dog’s underlying condition, so it will not stop the itching altogether. However, it will reduce the irritation quickly, allowing other treatments to start. It works well when combined with boots, which prevent your pup from licking its paws at all.
Add Vitamin E to Your Dog’s Diet
Adding Vitamin E to your dog’s diet is necessary for his skin health. Boosting their vitamin E intake might help reduce some irritation even if vitamin E deficiency didn’t cause your dog’s skin problem.
The simplest way to boost their vitamin E intake is to pick dog food that contains a reasonable amount. Dog food brands also prepare vitamin E supplements you may want to try. Remember, excess vitamin E can be a bad thing. Always follow the directions on the supplements you buy and speak to your veterinarian if you have any questions.
Try Fish Oil Supplements
Generally, fish oil supplements improve a dog’s skin and coat. Your dog may need extra fish oil in his diet if he has any skin problems. Fish oil supplements are also available. Alternatively, you could switch their food to a different recipe containing added fish oil. Fish-flavored dog foods are more likely to include fish oil supplements.
The antibacterial properties of honey are well-known to everyone. It is high in sugar, contains hydrogen peroxide, and has a low pH. All these factors prevent the growth of bacteria.
If your dog has any sort of bacteria on his paws, applying honey may help. Honey is non-toxic as well, which makes it another very safe option. Many dogs will happily lick honey off of their paws. Due to this reason, you may want to consider using boots or some type of dressing over the honey. Otherwise, your pup will likely lick all the honey off before it has a chance to be of much help.
Purchase a Calming Shampoo
There are many different dog shampoos to calm itchines. Many of these shampoos have contents like oatmeal, which can help ease your dog’s problem. However, do not bathe your dog too often. Bathing your canine too much can lead to dry skin, which increases irritation. So clean your dog when he is dirty or starts to smell odd.
Some breeds need more bathing than others. So ensure to look up specific information about your dog’s breed to figure out exactly how much they should be taking a bath. It is always better to bathe your dog less than more when in doubt.
Use Protective Boots
Using protective boots can be the right choice, even if you have figured out why your furry friend is chewing his paws. These boots prevent your dog from chewing and licking its paws, preventing further damage.
Use a Chewing Deterrent
Chewing deterrents are distasteful sprays that you put on your dog’s paws. These sprays make their paws taste bad, which discourages chewing.
Generally, it is not recommended to use these sprays over protective boots. Because many dogs don’t care if their paws taste bad, also these sprays are more time-consuming since you have to apply them now and then. In addition, they don’t work well on dogs who work during the day, as they might rub it all off before you get back home and revert to their chewing behaviors.
Tools Required to Stop a Dog From Licking Paws
- Fish Oil Supplements
- Calming Shampoo
- Dog Boots
- Baking Soda
- Chew Deterrent
- You must be patient and consistent with overcoming your dog’s paws’ licking owing to behavioral problems.
- Apply a dog-safe, bitter-tasting topical product to your pet’s paws to prevent licking. Also, you can use a physical restraint like an e-collar, no-lick strip to discourage his licking habits.
- Please keep your pet engaged by purchasing new toys and involving him in games and activities.
- Handle any behavioral issues, such as noise anxiety, by reducing stress triggers and using pheromone sprays and diffusers and calming treats.
- Distract your pet from licking or chewing his paws by offering him a Kong toy, Nylabone, or other dental chew.
- Consult and get in touch with a dog trainer, animal behaviorist, or vet to stop your dog from licking his paws.
- Regularly follow your vet’s prescription for your dog’s health conditions in controlling parasite infections and allergies. Follow the diet chart, medicines, and supplements suggested by the vet.
How to Stop a Dog From Licking Paws? Videos
If your dog starts licking their paws obsessively, you should not ignore it. Paw licking can signify more serious issues or create a problem itself. Although dogs clean themselves with their tongue, you should monitor them licking their body as it breaks the skin.
Try the techniques listed above and see if your dog stops licking. A happy dog will not have any frantic or obsessive behavior.