Why Do Dogs Lick their Paws?

Why Do Dogs Lick their Paws? | Pup Wax

A little biting and licking of a dog's paws is normal behavior. But if your pup is constantly licking their paws and has a history of excessive paw licking, that is a red flag that things are not quite okay. Luckily, we have some quick tips to help you help your dog stop constantly licking their paws.

Before you can help your pup, you need to understand why your dog is licking their paws. Do you notice paw licking only after walking on muddy trails or along the beach?  This could simply be your dog's self-grooming efforts to get their paws clean again.  Do you see a lot of paw licking before they go to sleep?  This might be typical self-soothing behavior, something you might also notice when they are anxious. Do you notice excessive paw licking only after going for walks outside?  This could be a sign that an environmental allergy to something like grass or pesticides is causing irritation and itching. 

Pup tip: if you live in a place where you can't avoid letting your dog walk over grass that's been treated with pesticides, we highly recommend using a high quality wax-based paw balm such as Pup Wax® as a protective barrier on your dog's paw pads.  

Pup Wax dog balm collection

 Stopping excessive paw licking

If your dog is licking their paws really excessively -  meaning All. Of. The. Time.

... then you may need to dig deeper to ferret out the cause. 

First, take your pup to the vet and be sure to mention anything unusual you've noticed. A thorough check-up will help you confirm the real cause of the excessive licking and rule out other possible causes such as anxiety disorders.

You'll want to look for signs of:  

  • Food allergies
  • Injury
  • Parasites
  • Dog skin conditions 

Food allergies

A sudden change in your dog's menu could cause them to itch and lick their paws. A food allergy reaction can also arise if a new ingredient has made its way into dog food that you've already been buying for some time.  Besides your dog licking their paws and legs, they may also try to lick their entire coat as itching spreads.  Our next blog post will be all about allergies! Take a moment to make sure you're on our mailing list so you can be first to find out when our next blog post is up.  If you suspect food allergies, stop giving your dogs any foods that you recently introduced into their diet and work with your vet to confirm the exact ingredient or dog food brand that is causing your dog's potential food allergy reaction. 

Injury

A cut or bruise to the leg or paw instantly activates licking mode in your pup. Licking helps soothe the wound and clean it as well. Inspect your pup's paws regularly, especially if you've been outside in areas where your dog is more likely to get splinters or thorns. Treat and dress any paw wounds.

Parasites

Parasites are tiny little pests that can cause your dog to itch, paw, and lick themselves constantly. Ticks and fleas are two most-wanted culprits that can trigger excessive paw licking in your pup. Fleas alone, if left unchecked, can escalate the problem to a more severe condition like allergic dermatitis.  Rescue dogs can be particularly at risk, depending on their prior situation. If you suspect either of these parasites are present, it's time for a quick visit to the vet.  The vet can prescribe medication to eliminate existing pests and prevent a recurrence. 

Dry skin problems

Your dog's skin is thin!  It's 1/3 as thick as human skin and especially prone to excess dryness and dermatitis - which causes extra itchiness.  A lot of paw licking is caused by dry dog skin because excessively dry skin leads to rough, cracked paw pads, which can be itchy.  Cracked paws, if not taken care of, can become painful and affect your dog's mobility.    

How do you treat dry dog paws?
Treating your pup for rough, dry paw pads depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, getting rid of irritants and applying a good wax balm such as Pup Wax® on the affected surface takes care of the problem. In severe cases, you may have to bandage the paw and restrict your dog's movement for a while.

Click here for our step-by-step method for healing dry, cracked dog paws fast!

before and after Pup Wax

If your dog has dry paws or suffers from generally dry skin, moisturize your dog's rough paw pads with Pup Wax® to soothe your dog quickly, give them fast relief, and help your dog say goodbye to dry itchy paws for good! 

Pup tip: There are plenty of wax dog balm products on the market today. Though they may moisturize a dry cracking paw pad, they usually contain cheap fillers and other harmful ingredients, that may cause more health problems for your pup over time.  Pup Wax® balms soothe and moisturize dry cracking paw pads using only high quality and clean ingredients to form a gentle, healing protective barrier over dry paw pads. 

As a rule of thumb, avoid wax balm products that contain:

  • Essential oils that may cause harm to your pet. Even those included in many paw balm products can actually be harmful to dogs.  Find out which natural oils are considered pet-friendly.
  • Cocoa as an ingredient. Theobromine in cocoa is toxic to dogs
  • Ingredients that are not FDA approved as pet-friendly. Only buy pet-friendly products that are reviewed by other users as safe.
  • Petroleum-based oils. These oils when absorbs into your pup’s body become toxic.
  • The ingredient comfrey. This ingredient was flagged as unsafe for pets.
  • Redundant ingredients. Ensure all ingredients in wax balm products add value to your pup.
  • Fragrances. Dogs with their strong sense of smell will find the artificial scents irritating.

Shop Pup Wax® now and stop paw licking fast! Click here to get started.

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