Why do dogs lick their feet and What you can do about it!

Why do dogs lick their feet and What you can do about it!

There is nothing quite like being woken up in the middle of the night or trying to enjoy some TV when you hear the constant sound of your dog’s licking their paws! It not only is an irritating noise and wet spot to us but did you know it often is a sign something is bothering them? So, before we get too annoyed at the constant excessive licking… lets take a look at some possible causes and what we as pet parents can do to try and help!

The most common reasons include:

  1. Itching or irritation: If a dog's paw is itchy or irritated due to allergies, insect bites, or wounds, they may lick to alleviate discomfort. Persistent licking in such cases can lead to further irritation or even infection. Additionally, the added moisture can create a buildup of yeast and skin irritation – resulting in the increased desire to lick, creating a snowball effect. Yeast paws are commonly associated with your pups’ feet smell like corn chips!
  2. Pain relief: Licking can provide some pain relief for minor injuries or discomfort in their paws. It is always a good idea to examine their paws, nails, foot pads and in between their toes to ensure nothing is visibly wrong.
  3. Stress or anxiety: Many dogs chew, some lick! Dogs may excessively lick their paws when they are stressed or anxious. It may be due to separation anxiety or even be tied into boredom for the same reasons. Some may develop this habit over time. Generally dogs will do this the entire time they are alone or until they tire themselves out- often becoming a repetitive behavior. This is more commonly referred to as self-soothing or coping mechanisms.
  4. Medical issues: In some cases, excessive paw licking can be a symptom of underlying medical issues such as skin allergies, dermatitis, fungal or bacterial infections, or arthritis. Additionally, when done in excess, with no apparent reason, the culprit could be due to imbalanced levels thyroid hormones This may result in other symptoms such as red spots, shedding, hair thinning or loss.

Now that we went over some of the reasons why they may be triggered to lick their paws – lets discuss some of the things you can do to help them! Tip: A lot of these strategies’ can be combined to expedite results!

  1. Bath Time! – Sometimes it’s that simple! Your pooch needs a bath! Try Ari Probiotic infused shampoo and conditioning line. There is even an anti-itch spray for an additional soothing sensation. But it doesn’t stop there. They offer a matching set of deodorizing sprays, in a variety of scents, that are infused with organic essential oils. The entire collection is full skin care line for dogs! The best part about this company - With each Ari purchase, a donation is made to cancer research in memory of a cherished family member with a love for pets.
  1. Paw Massages– Depending on the severity you may find your pup finds comfort from rubbing coconut oil on their paws. It has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Another amazing benefit, it often provides fast relief from skin irritation. Just make sure it is rubbed in well or they may want to get a taste, defeating the purpose! You can also distract them with a treat or long-lasting chew! Chewing also calms anxiety so you get a 2 for 1 here!!! We wouldn’t suggest putting any type of medicated ointments, topical corticosteroids or anti-fungal treatment to avoid the risk of them ingesting it.
  1. Supplements – Your pups could benefit from a little boost to their daily dish. Especially those prone to allergies and other health conditions. There are a ton of options out there but Health Extension has 2 that stand out from the rest! Belly + Immunity and Advanced Immunity +. These incredible supplements each have a unique way of helping boost the immune system and allowing the body to not overact to allergens.  Although additional changes to their diets may be needed – you can often rule out a lot of other factors faster if you really are not sure.
  1. For a quick fix - In some cases, dogs lick their paws as part of their grooming routine. It's considered a natural behavior to keep themselves clean especially if they were just outside and got wet or dirty. To help avoid this behavior, you can always clean their feet with lukewarm water, or wipe with damp cloth and then again with dry one to see if that helps reduces how often they are licking. If they have simply stepped in something that is causing the irritation – this is a quick fix to a sometimes complex issue!

If you notice the issue persists and your dog is still licking their paws excessively or if it's accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as swelling, redness, limping, or abnormal behavior, it is essential to have them fully checked. There is a good chance they are in pain or are suffering from something that needs further investigating. We always suggest you consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health problems and address the issue appropriately.

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