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9 Reasons Dogs Lick Their Paws, and When to Visit the Vet

Posted on 15 February 2022
9 Reasons Dogs Lick Their Paws, and When to Visit the Vet

Dogs lick their paws, and there are a bunch of reasons why– good and bad.

 

 

Why do dogs lick their paws?

Dogs lick their paws for several reasons. If you’re concerned about your pet’s habit, you should contact us or make a booking online for an accurate diagnosis and treatment advice. 

9 common reasons dogs lick and chew at their paws

Apart from grooming, skin issues, infections, and injuries are some of the most common reasons that dogs lick and chew their paws. 

Some more common reasons dogs lick their paws include:

  1. Burns

  2. Hot spots

  3. Nail injury

  4. Dandruff or flakes

  5. Emotional stress, anxiety, and boredom

  6. Cysts

  7. Yeast

  8. Blisters

  9. Ticks, mites, or other insects and arachnids

Allergies

Both food and environmental allergies can make dogs agitated and motivate chewing and licking at paws.

  • Food allergies can develop throughout a dog's life, but will commonly develop when they’re young– usually as puppies or under a year of age. 

  • Environmental allergies can also develop at any stage, but most commonly arise between two and four years of age and can accompany a change of season.

Some Australian native grasses, weeds, and plants around the Toowoomba and South East Queensland region could be agitating your pet’s paws. 

Book an appointment with Highfields Vet for an assessment.

Pain

New, obsessive licking and chewing at paws can indicate that your pet is in pain. Arthritic joints, sprains, and fractures are common causes of pain and agitation in paws. 

The pain may be accompanied by redness, swelling, and behavioural changes. 

If your pet is exhibiting signs of pain in its paws, or anywhere else, contact us as soon as possible.

Environmental factors

Penetrated or lodged objects like small rocks, grass seeds, or sticks can also cause pain and distress for pets. They might attempt to unlodge the objects or ease the pain by licking and chewing.

 

Should you stop your dog licking or biting its paws?

There are several reasons for dogs to lick their paws, and often it shouldn’t cause concern. However, if your pet is showing a new or specific interest in their paws, or is exhibiting other symptoms, you should contact us for advice.

Continued licking can show signs of obsessive-compulsive behaviour in pets which can cause health issues if left unchecked. 

Secondary infections

It’s important not to let your pet continue licking its wounds and infections on its paws. The moisture of constant licking and chewing can cause infections to worsen or secondary bacterial or yeast infection. 

This can cause further itchiness, redness, swelling, and pain for your dog.

 

Training your pet to reduce its licking and chewing its paws

The first step to treatment for any problem is consulting your veterinarian expert. They can first diagnose the behavioural change and recommend a treatment plan specific to your pet.

To distract your pet from licking and chewing their paws, you could try:

  • Long-lasting treats

  • Puzzle toys

  • A mentally stimulating walk in a new, exciting area (check first with your vet for injuries and infections to your dog’s paws)

To prevent or combat obsessive-compulsive behaviour, you shouldcontact us or make a booking online.  

 

 

 

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