Every dog owner has seen their dog lick their paws on occasion. Many dog owners wonder why dogs lick their paws. Are they just being cute, or do they have another reason for this unusual behavior? Let’s take a look at why dogs lick their paws and what it means.
#1: Your dog has allergies
Environmental allergies frequently affect dogs, and one of the most common signs is itchy, inflamed skin, especially in the ears and on the paws. Dogs with allergies to molds and pollens routinely lick their paws after a stroll in the grass, particularly in the spring and summer. Remove the allergens from your pet’s paws with unscented baby wipes or waterless shampoo, or make a tea bath from a plain Lipton tea bag whose tannins will draw out the inflammation and allergens.
#2: Your dog has a behavior disorder
Boredom, anxiety, and stress can cause your pup to lick its paws obsessively. They may have a favorite paw but will often lick at both front paws and sometimes their back feet for entertainment or to help them relax. Paw licking associated with anxiety is typically seen at night when the family is unwinding for the day. You’ll notice your nervous pooch licking their paws while you watch TV or read in bed.
#3: Your dog is painful
Animals lick to clean and soothe their wounds, and your dog may be suffering from a foot sprain, torn nail, or paw-pad cut that requires the healing power of constant licking. Constant licking because of arthritis pain in the wrist or hock can create a lick granuloma, which can become infected if not allowed to heal. In some cases, your pet will continue to lick at the spot long after the injury has healed, turning the licking into a behavior issue.