Tips For Dogs

Reasons why your dog compulsively licks its paws

Reasons why your dog compulsively licks its paws

We all have habits that are hard to break. Whether we’re biting our nails, smoking, or fidgeting, we know there are ways to control these actions. With pets, however, you might think it’s a different matter altogether. If one day you notice your dog licking its paws, your first instinct is that it might be a normal reaction to something. If after a few days you find that the licking has not stopped, there may be cause for concern. First, it’s important to narrow down the cause of this behavior.

Why is your dog licking his paws to the point of losing fur? There can be a number of reasons and the following may not immediately apply to your pet. If you can’t get to the vet in time, consider the following options and see what can be done to determine the real cause:

  • Your dog may experience pain in its paws and joints. If your pet is old, he may be affected by joint irritations or arthritis that make movement difficult. Licking can be one way to relieve the pain, if only temporarily.
  • Your dog may have an undiagnosed allergy. If this happens in the spring, it could be a pollen problem, or if your dog walks in an area treated with pesticides, it could be experiencing a reaction to the chemicals. Be careful to notice your dog’s behavior when he goes outside to run.
  • A less serious reason: there might be something stuck in there! Just as we find a pebble in our shoe annoying, if it gets in the paw, it can mean a lot of pain for your four-legged friend. If you suspect this, do a careful inspection of the paw.
  • Finally, a dog may lick its paws for the same reason we bite our nails…it’s a habit we need to stop. Some dog owners and veterinarians may recommend a product that is safe for dogs but tastes very bad. Place it where the dog licks and hopefully you can dissuade the habit.

For problems that cannot be easily solved by this or by checking your dog’s paws, seeking the help of your veterinarian is important. From there, you can determine if an allergy is involved and if medication is needed to help your dog feel better and kick the bad habit.

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