Why Dogs Lick Their Paws Ultimate Guide
One of the most annoying sounds known to the human race has to be that of a dog licking or chewing their paws! Or maybe it’s just a sound that annoys me? All joking aside, this can become a severe problem.
I’m not talking about a few licks here and there I’m talking about full-on constant licking and chewing even biting of nails!
All dogs do it, but sometimes it’ll become evident that they are obsessively doing it. Fear not, because we have the best dog licking paws raw treatments around, so keep reading!
NEVER ignore dogs that lick their paws
Why Does My Dog Lick and Chew Their Feet
1. Foreign Bodies
If your dog suddenly becomes fixated on licking their paws, then 9 times out of 10, it’s due to one of the foreign bodies listed below.
- Fleas and Ticks can cause severe itchiness, which leads to constant paw licking and chewing. To make things worse, some dogs are even allergic to fleas!
- Grass Awns and dog paws don’t mix very well, not even a little bit. Grass awns are sharp grass seeds that can burrow into your dogs’ skin. Making paws a prime spot for them to invade. If that weren’t bad enough, some are equipped with barbs and can burrow into your dogs’ chest cavity.
- Physical Wounds are one of the primary reasons why dogs start licking their paws and probably the easiest to spot. Since most of the time they only obsessively lick one of their four paws.
Types of physical wounds to look out for are puncture wounds, broken nails, fractures, and even burns.
Burnt paws are common during the summer months and can occur within minutes if the pavement is hot enough.
Apply medical treatment ASAP to physical wounds to prevent severe infection.
2. Allergic Skin Disease
If your dog doesn’t have any foreign bodies on their feet, then your second main culprit is generally allergic skin disease. This can be triggered by a multitude of things in the environment that are usually harmless like dust mites, grass, dander, pollen, mold spores, and more.
When dogs have an allergic reaction, their immune system goes haywire and causes severe irritation.
- Atopic Dermatitis is among the most common skin diseases associated with dog allergies, which causes chronically inflamed spots all over the body, also known as (eczema).
Unfortunately, there is no known cure at this time, but there are several ways to manage it.
Treatment will need to be provided by a licensed veterinarian who will administer medications or injections depending on the severity.
Atopic Dermatitis symptoms include
- Dry Skin,
- Severe Itching,
- Red brownish discoloring of fur
- Small red bumps
- Raw, sensitive, swollen skin from licking or gnawing
3. Dog Food Allergies
Food allergies in dogs have become alarming in the past decade, all thanks to bad dog food. This is the third most popular reason why dogs start to suddenly lick excessively.
Yes, just like humans, dogs can have food allergies. The simplest of solutions to this is to change your dogs’ diet. I would highly recommend you try a variety of different dog foods until you find the one that fits your dog.
Here is a small list of high-quality dog foods you should try.
- Taste of the wild
- Blue Buffalo
- Wellness Core
- Solid Gold
- Natures Variety
Many dogs are allergic to grains, corn, wheat, and other preservatives and fillers that go into most dog foods.
If Your dog is sensitive to grains, you might want to consider one of the GRAIN-FREE, HIGH PROTINE recipes. I personally switched my dogs over to Taste of the Wild Dog Food and have never looked back.
One of my dogs, an American Pitbull Terrier, struggled half his life with allergies until I made the switch. He is now 7 years old and going strong.
There is no actual dog food allergy test. You have to do an elimination diet to figure out what your dog is reacting to.
4. Dry Skin on Dogs
People often forget that dogs can also suffer from dry skin. It is not as uncommon as you might think. In fact, it can be very common, even breed-specific or environmentally induced or a mixture of both.
What causes dry skin on a dog
Weather: Dry skin occurs when dogs are subjected to extremely dry or cold climates over a prolonged period.
Bathing: Too much of a good thing can quickly turn into a bad thing. You will find that your dog’s skin will become dry and irritated with too many baths.
Breed: Short and hairless breeds like the American Pitbull Terrier and the American Hairless Terrier are among the many dog breeds that suffer from dry skin.
Dog Treatment for Dry Skin
Lucky for us, dogs that are licking their paws raw due to dry skin are the easiest to treat! Just grab some dog paw moisturizer and bam, problem solved!
Some dogs are merely bored and pass the time by grooming themselves. Can you blame them? Many modern-day household dogs spend 90% if not more of their day indoors with nothing much to do.
Before we domesticated wolves into our modern-day dog breeds, they used to roam the countrysides hunting.
That same energy still resides inside your dog, and if they don’t get an outlet, they can become bored and frustrated and often engage in destructive activates. Which also may include excessive licking and chewing of the paws.
Boredom Dog Licking Treatment
- Interactive Dog Toys
Many of you might not know this, but dogs can suffer from anxiety, just like humans. They deal with their stress in much of the same manner as we do as well, like obsessively chewing their nails or licking their paws raw.
Generally, humans don’t lick themselves. You get the point.
Licking and chewing can also be early signs of Dog Separation Anxiety, which is an even bigger issue to deal with if left untreated.
Dog Anxiety Treatment
- Dog Training
- Dog Anxiety Medication
- Dog Anxiety Music
- Dog Anxiety Vest
Dogs know when things are wrong; it’s like they have a sixth sense. They will often time lick themselves as a way to heal or cope with pain. Several things could potentially be under the surface that we cannot see, such as tumors, cysts, autoimmune diseases, even cancer.
Dog Cancer Treatment
- Clinical Trials
- Prescription Medication
How To Stop Your Dog From Licking Their Paws
If you fear your dog has cancer, DO NOT wait until it’s too late. Take them in to see a vet and get blood work done. The earlier you catch a problem, the higher the chance you have to solve it.
Nearly all of the reasons listed above can be controlled or cured completely. Ideally, you will want to consult your veterinarian if your dog persists licking themselves raw.
Questions to ask your veterinarian:
- Would hills prescription diet benefit my dog
- Does my dog need year-round flea and tick control
- Would anxiety medication help my dog
- Does my dog have a bacterial or yeast infection
- Does my dog need a dermatologist
DO NOT take shortcuts, or listen to people that have no idea what they are talking about. I have seen countless stupid comments telling people to put socks on their dogs’ feet or wrap them in bandages, even to spray them with cayenne pepper.
1. Bitter Spray for Dogs
Caution is to be advised here because you don’t want just to buy any ole bitter spray. You should triple check whatever spray you choose is safe to use on your dog’s body.
I highly recommend Grannick’s Bitter Apple Original Taste Deterrent Dog Spray, wow that’s a mouth full “pun intended.”
All jokes aside this deterrent dog spray is the real deal, crafted back in 1960 by Irv Grannick, a pharmacist and owner of Grannick’s Pharmacy.
Fast-forward a couple of decades and the “Grannicks Bitter Apple” has become a household name and recommended by veterinarians, groomers and pet lovers around the world.
- Discourages fur biting, hair chewing, and hot spots
- Convenient easy to use spray bottle
- Inhibits licking and chewing on furniture or fabrics
- Invented by a pharmacist and trusted by veterinarians
2. Elizabethan Collar for Dogs
Depending on how bad your dog is licking or chewing, it might be a good idea to fit them for a preventive collar, especially if they have physical wounds.
I personally recommend upgrading from a traditional Elizbeth collar to the new and improved Kong Cloud Collar For Dogs & Cats. This thing is like the Cadillac version of dog cones without the hefty price.
- Protective yet comfortable
- Allows your dog to eat and drink without interfering
- Fully adjustable for a snug fit
- Does not adhere to your dogs’ vision
- Doubles as a comfy pillow while on
- Machine-washable fabric
- Will not scratch furniture
- Available in five sizes from XS to XL
3. Interactive Dog Toys
This method is ideal for dogs that suffer from boredom, licking, chewing, or anxiety. It’s perfect for making sure your dog is being stimulated mentally and physically each day.
It just so happens that Dog Toys make for the perfect outlet for both.
Home Remedies for Itchy Paws
1. Povidone Iodine Soak
The best dog paw disinfectant soaks you can provide your itchy pawed friend will be an organic iodine solution. This treatment is safe, non-toxic, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-yeast.
Iodine is a potent healing agent that you can get over the counter at any pharmacy, which is super convenient if you ask me.
Making an Iodine Soak is simple!
- Fill a container with warm water, enough to fully submerge your dogs’ feet. A bathtub works well if you want to get all four paws at the same time.
- Dilute the water with povidone-iodine until the water turns the color of iced tea, “the more water you have, the more iodine you will need.”
- Let your dog soak in the solution for 5 minutes, “you don’t need to mess with their feet whatsoever, the soak will handle everything.”
It only takes five minutes for the treatment to thoroughly do its magic. Once you have met the required time, take your pooch out of the water and pat their paws dry with a soft towel.
The Povidone Iodine will kill any yeast that might be growing, allergens, bacterial infections, and other contaminants.
About 50 percent of foot licking and chewing can be cured by soaking away allergens and other irritants collected on your dog’s feet.
2. 50/50 Apple Cider Vinegar and Water
A quick-on-the-spot home remedy to cure itchy feet, but ONLY if your dog has ZERO open wounds, including raw paws.
Vinegar will sting and cause more harm than good if used on open wounds.
Otherwise, it makes for an excellent solution to cure irritated paws and can even be used as a soak. Vinegar makes an excellent choice to combat bacteria and fungus by stabilizing PH levels.
3. Green Tea Soak
Yes, soaks are all the rage when it comes to curing itchy paws! Green tea is good for nearly everything. The anti-inflammatory properties alone make for a wonderful treatment for dogs with itchy feet.
4. Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda is one of those miracle substances that seem to have limitless uses. Instead of baking a cake, we are baking away itchy feet, rashes and more.
- Add 50% baking soda and 50% water in any amount to get the perfect paste.
- Apply to the infected area and let sit for about 20 minutes and rinse.
- If your dog has itchy spots on other parts of their body, you can apply the paste anywhere that is not an open wound.
If your dog keeps licking or chewing their feet, they are doing it for a reason and not just to annoy you. Take the time and figure out why it could mean life or death in some cases for your dog.
I hope the ultimate guide to why dogs lick their paws was able to help you, please feel free to leave a comment if you have any additional questions.