dogs licking paws

Why a Dog Licks its Paws?

Why a dog licks its paws? The question is simple, but the reasons are varied. Every dog licks its paws from time to time, and we do not have to worry about that either. However, if this behavior becomes disproportionate, it can quickly become a serious health problem.

If it itches at the dog paws, the dog tries to get relief by licking or nibbling. The saliva on the skin provides the medium for soothing and cooling, at the same time reduces the itching.

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Licking constantly destroys the skin barrier, causing inflammation and annoying itching. This allows bacteria and fungi to penetrate easily. These then cause further deterioration, it will lick even more, and so it cannot heal. The underlying disease, which has triggered the leak, is often followed by a secondary disease. This can also imply a vicious circle.

Dog Licks its Paws

When your dog realizes that the licking of his paws reduces the itching, and this reduction releases positive messengers in the brain called endorphins. In the long term, therefore, the licking in itself or even without itching can be a cause of happiness. The excessive leakage will then be maintained even though the skin condition may have been resolved long ago. Also, dogs who suffer from extreme boredom tend to turn paw licking into a compulsive offense.

Why a Dog Licks its Paws? Some Things to Ponder

For the licking of the dog paws, there are different causes. The reasons for a morbid licking or gnawing of dog paws are quite different. Some of these include:

Foreign Body


The first thing to check, and one of the most frequent reasons why a dog licks its Paws is that there are wounds or foreign bodies stuck between the paws. This is a rather sensitive area, and it is probable that it does not like the contact.

If the dog always licks the same paw, a small foreign body can be the cause. Maybe a cereal seed has drilled it’s hard point under the skin. Even a thorn may have become stuck or even encapsulated in the tissue. Explore the inside of the paw with a finger, especially between the bearings. If you cannot find anything serious, take a look at the bearings themselves. Sometimes when in contact with asphalt, small and annoying wounds can be created.

If the foreign body cannot be removed with tweezers or pulling ointment, the vet usually only needs a small incision, and the trigger for itching is already eliminated.



On the skin of our dogs live numerous mushrooms. Among other things, a yeast mushroom with the name Malassezia. This is just like the mites. For a healthy dog, this is completely unproblematic. Only when the skin flora of the animal is seriously disturbed, for example, by an allergy, hormonal disorders or constant licking, the fungus reproduces rapidly and leads to strong itching. A pronounced wrinkling favors an increase of the fungus, especially on the ears and between the toes.

To diagnose, the veterinarian takes samples of skin cells from the dog paws and can check them with a staining test immediately. For successful treatment, usually, a special medical shampoo is sufficient. If the itching comes back, the triggering cause must be increasingly sought, such as an allergy.  Fortunately, yeasts are not contagious to humans or other animals.

Dog paws

Skin Fungi


Skin fungi usually lead to a circular hair loss and are often accompanied by an unpleasant itching. So that the veterinarian can clearly prove the fungus, a culture is created and depending on the type of fungus and its growth rate, there is clarity after 4 to 21 days. The skin fungi are usually contagious for both humans and other animals. As a result, it’s best to examine the other animals in the household for an infestation and be careful with the treatment. With a special shampoo and ointments, however, the skin fungus is treatable.

Harvest Mites


Especially in the late summer between July and October, these parasites are annoying for our dogs. The adult autumn grass mite ( Trombicula autumnalis ) does not disturb our four-legged friends. Her larva, on the other hand, leaves a salivary secretion during the sucking action on the paws, which in the affected dogs causes massive itching sometimes. The dogs would, therefore, start to lick.

The animals belonging to the arachnids can be detected under the microscope. The veterinarian can also treat the dog thoroughly with a suitable anti-parasitic drug.

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Hair Tangles


Especially with long-haired dog breeds, the hair on the paws can be a problem. It should be checked regularly and if necessary shortened, otherwise there is a risk of tangles, which can then also cause pain and skin inflammation. As a result, the affected dog would continue to lick and nibble on the paws.



With the exclusion of the physical causes by the veterinarian, the dog’s psyche can also be causally involved. In particular, sensitive and nervous dogs may start to lick their feet in a stressful situation – much like some people who start to chew on their fingernails when nervous. This should be counteracted with targeted training and behavioral therapy since excessive licking of the paws can cause harm.

Dog licking of his paws

Claws Break


Trauma or accident can crack or tear the dog’s nails. It is less likely to bleed; sometimes, the owners overlook so injuries to the claws. These are naturally painful for the animal and can also inflame if left untreated. The four-legged friend then licks his paw constantly because it causes him pain. Take a careful look at its nails too. One or more may have broken (running on the concrete is frequent), and the dog would try to remove the part not yet fallen by licking itself.

Often, a limp is also a clear indication that something is wrong with the dog’s paw and is quite painful for the dog.

Food Intolerance


Another possible reason why a dog licks its paws is due to food intolerance. This may seem absurd, and not entirely logical, but sometimes even just one ingredient can create a local nuisance with dermatitis or other forms of discomfort.

The intervention of the veterinarian is essential, also because it is rather challenging to identify the culprit. It is advisable to go by trial and error, excluding suspicious ingredients from time to time. It will not be easy but would sure ensure success in the end.

Why a Dog Licks its Paws



The products you use to clean the house can be very irritating to the dog. If you have changed the brand of detergent recently and the dog has begun to lick its paws incessantly, you have the solution before your eyes. Generally beyond the legs also the abdomen is affected by this type of allergies, with redness, itching and sometimes loss of hair.


If you have just taken a walk in a garden or the countryside with your dog, it is normal that once you get home, the dog spends a few minutes cleaning its paws. Dogs don’t usually do it with the accuracy of cats, but they also like to be clean. In some cases, however, excessive cleaning can hide a problem. Sometimes, several factors can come together, as highlighted above. However, you should consult your veterinarian for a detailed explanation if the dog tends to lick its paws excessively.

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