Explaining Dog Behavior: Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?

Jan 1, 2024 | Canine Behavior, Dogs | 0 comments

Why do dogs lick their paws

Dogs will lick their paws for a variety of reasons. It’s up to us as pet owners to discover the underlying cause, which will sometimes require a visit to the veterinarian. Paw licking can be a normal canine habit, such as when your furry friend grooms themselves; however, excessive paw licking may be a sign that can reveal a multitude of serious health problems. Before abruptly taking your furry friend to the vet over what could potentially be typical self-grooming, below we list some possible other reasons which explains why dogs may excessively lick their paws.

Parasites or Insects

Fleas is one of the most common reasons why dogs will lick their paws. While being extremely itchy, fleas are fortunately fairly easy to deal with from home if treated with flea prevention medication. Mites, on the other hand, causes an uncomfortable canine condition called mange, which is unfortunately more difficult to treat and will require veterinarian intervention. Symptoms of mites can include severe itchiness, scabbing, hair loss, and inflammation. Additionally, it’s common for dogs to be bitten or stung by insects while running around outside, and they’ll soothe this pain by licking the affected area. In these circumstances, a veterinarian will likely prescribe topical steroids or antihistamines.


A sudden onset of paw licking may be explained by a recent injury or a foreign object stuck in their paw. A sharp item, ice, or even hot pavement can lead to paw injuries, and objects such as splinters, pebbles, or plastic bits can get embedded into a paw, both of which issues results in your dog licking the affected paw. It’s important to take your dog to the vet following an injury, although, if an object is stuck in-between their toes, simply removing the object should solve the issue.

Various Allergies

There are various possible allergic reactions that could cause your dog to excessively lick their paws. The source of canine allergies can come from chemically treated grass, ingredients in their nutrition, pollen, mold, dust, among many other common environmental sources. Allergy symptoms can include inflammation, swelling, redness, sneezing, and diarrhea. To help prevent your dog from suffering debilitating allergies, be sure to wipe down their paws after playing outside.


Bacterial or yeast infections can cause canines to aggressively lick their paws. In these situations, it’s important to act quickly and take your dog into the veterinarian to provide the appropriate diagnosis. Furthermore, the mere act of constant paw licking can result in additional infections, called Secondary Infections, due to excess moisture. Ringworm and yeast infections are among the most common infections in canines.

Abscess or Growth

If your dog has an abnormal lump or pocket of puss under the skin, these are likely signs of a growth or abscess. In this serious scenario, it’s important to take your dog to the veterinarian immediately as this could be the sign of a cyst or tumor. Abscesses or growth can cause debilitating canine pain and, if left untreated, can lead to severe results.

Behavioral Issues

If you’ve concluded that there’s no health concerns causing your dog to excessively lick their paws, then the problem may stem from a behavioral issue. Whether this behavior is triggered by anxiety, fear, stress, or simple boredom, paw licking is a habit that should be stopped in its early stages. Compulsive paw licking can be eased with regular walks, playtime, new toys, or anything that requires mental and physical energy. If these tactics don’t work, Dr. Bill’s Canine Behavior Support is a natural delicious treat that has been proven to curb unwanted canine habits, such as paw licking.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Excessively Licking Their Paws?

If your furry friend’s compulsive paw licking habit stems from behavioral issues, then Dr. Bill’s Canine Behavior Support is your ideal solution. Dr. Bill’s Canine Behavior Support tablets are made of a unique and effective combination of natural ingredients that help reduce the negative effects of stress in your dog. These may include anxiety, aggression, fear, separation anxiety, hyperactivity, or motion sickness.  It is exceptionally useful when boarding, traveling, or training your dog.



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