Common Reasons for Obsessive Paw- Licking by Dogs

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Dogs like any other animal don’t do anything without a good reason. If you find your dog obsessively licking its paws, there may be a reason for it. Anything from injuries, skin problems to environmental, biological, or food allergies; loneliness or anxiety can be the underlying cause of this behaviour.

It is common for dogs to occasionally lick the hoff off of their paws as part of their grooming process, especially when they get inside after walking on dirty or sandy ground. But if your dog licks too often and hard on its pins, you may think something is wrong.



The first step you should take, especially if the licking starts abruptly and focuses on a single paw, check the claws to make sure there are no injuries such as cuts, torn nails, growths, or perhaps a stone, thorn, or snow stuck between the pockets. Look closely at the nails, between the toes and pads, and on the tops of the feet.

Your dog may have irritated his paw by stepping on a sharp object, walking on salty or hot roads, being bitten by a bee, or receiving a blister. Some of these problems can be reduced with simple first aid treatment, and some may need to be treated by a veterinarian.

Infections or Dermatitis 

If the paw pads and feet appear to be normal, licking may be due to a skin condition (dermatitis), which is usually the result of bacterial problems, allergies, or food allergies. Your dog can develop dermatitis by not reacting to the chemicals used in your yard, deicing products, or certain types of grass or weeds. Keeping a container of water and a towel close to the door so that you can thoroughly clean your paws when you enter can help.


Infection with germs such as fleas or mites can cause the feet to become very itchy. Your veterinarian may recommend treatment to eliminate parasites, which should reduce itching.

Allergies to food

Allergies to food are known to cause itchy feet, and these non-body types are difficult to identify. Your veterinarian may recommend a special diet or supplement of certain ingredients in your dog’s diet to try to reduce the problem.


A dog suffering from arthritis or other conditions of the foot or leg may lick its paws due to pain. Even if there is pain somewhere in their body, some dogs will try to deal with it by licking the front foot continuously. A proper diagnosis and treatment may be required.

Behavioural issues- Anxiety, Fear, etc.

If you and your veterinarian have removed all of the above problems, rather than your dog being suffering or having a behavioral problem such as anxiety. Again, this is difficult to diagnose, but there are some steps you can take to help. Some dogs have compulsive behavior, which includes licking the paw.

To reduce boredom, try moving your dog with a variety of walking, running, or playing time with you and other dogs to use more mental and physical energy. Give her puzzles toys or safe chewing toys to remove her focus from her hands.

If you think that anxiety, such as fear of noise or anxiety about separation, may cause him to lick his paws, there are several ways you can try to alleviate your anxiety. Good animal behavior can suggest a variety of options to try.

Dry skin

Dry skin is one of the most common diseases of the dog’s skin that causes the dog’s skin to become irritated, cracked and weak (dandruff). Curved skin can be caused by a number of factors, including excessive bathing which removes the dog’s natural oil, dry moisture, or allergies mentioned above. It is important to follow a good grooming plan to ensure that your dog’s coat stays healthy. Symptoms of dry skin can include itching, hair loss, redness, dandruff and scabies.

Stress and Obsession 

If there is no known health-related cause that can be diagnosed with excessive paw licking, then it could be behaviour- related. Dogs, like humans, tend to seek ways to comfort themselves in times of stress. Are there any environmental changes (sounds, routine procedures, new pets, or people) that could cause your dog to demand this type of stress relief? In addition to stress, some dogs have canine compulsive disorder which is a type of stress disorder, but in dogs. Common practices for forcing dogs with CCD include paw licking, sucking a toy / blanket, licking the tail and chasing the tail. Try to identify the causes of your dog’s stressful and stressful behavior and use repetition and exercise to relieve it.

Other reasons

It is important to note that licking behavior can indicate a health problem or can harm a dog. You should work with your veterinarian to find the cause and find the right solution. Do not wait too long to do this, as the constant licking of the foot can cause a bacterial infection or secondary yeast – causing more itching, redness, swelling and licking.

Meanwhile, depending on the root cause of the problem, a veterinarian can relieve your dog’s bite by prescribing topical anti-inflammatory sprays, anti-inflammatory steroids, antibiotics, or antifungals for yeast infections. The sooner you can deal with the problem and clarify the cause, the better.

Wendy Hendriks

Wendy Hendriks

This is Wendy Hendriks From iClean Internationals Ltd. Life-long learner, committed to working hard at self directed learning environment.

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