This is one of the infinite mysteries of the dogs’ world. This is one of the main interrogations among dog owners and there are many possible answers. Some potential reasons are behavioral and others are related to their health. It is a natural behaviour if your dog licks their paws sometimes and doesn’t get hurt because of that. If you dog licks his paws insistently, maybe he is simply bored, but is also possible that he has a serious condition, such as an allergy, arthritis or even cancer.
Only a Veterinarian is able to tell you what is going on for sure with your dog. As a result of this continuous act, your dog may have wounds on his feet. These wounds may represent a serious problem and may be accompanied by swelling, bad smell, bleeding, redness and difficulty to walk, among other possible signs of pain and infection.
Why Do Dogs Lick Feet?
It is natural that you are worried about this. In order to understand the problem and its possible underlying causes, the Veterinarian may perform some examinations and therefore decide which treatment is better to help your friend.
You will realize that your dog is licking his paws excessively when you see on his limbs an area that is clearly inflamed: red, wet, hot and irritated. This look appears due to the constant licking and scratching.
Which are the main causes for this?
An allergy may trigger this behaviour in your dog. The cause may be related to food or environment. When a dog suffers from an allergy he may have several symptoms, such as dermatitis, itching and other skin problems. He might lick his paws constantly for this reason. Your Veterinarian may help you to find out what is causing allergy to your pet and thus prescribe the medicines and treatments that are going to bring relief to your dog. On the other hand, you may choose different food for your dog, because some foods are known as potential allergens. Your Veterinarian may also help you by recommending an adequate diet to your dog.
A severe pain can also lead your dog to desperately lick and chew his paws. This pain can be due to diseases like arthritis or hip dysplasia.
Dehydration may promote this behaviour too. Your dog may have dry skin, which can happen because he lacks fat acids in his food or because of the cold weather. The disagreeable sensation on his skin may lead him to an endless scratching and licking.
Parasites may be the reason why your dog licks his feet. Fleas, mites or ticks can attack your dog’s skin without anyone notice. To eliminate this inconvenient, your Veterinarian will prescribe products to administer to your friend. If you have more animals, you should treat them as well.
Does your dog spend a lot of time alone? If it is the case, he might just be anxious or bored. These feelings may lead to this “destructive” behaviour. In fact, some animals have strange behaviours when they feel fear or stress or boredom. In this case you should provide some quality time to your dog, spending time with him, taking him for a walk and playing in the garden. To avoid that he licks his paws until hurting himself, you may give him something he might chew to release his anxiety.
Hormonal imbalances are also possible causes for constant licking paws pattern. This imbalance can be related to excessive or scarce hormone production.
Whatever the cause is, to treat the skin inflammation, it is probable that your dog need medication. At the same time, it is necessary to solve the behavioural question. To do this, you will have to make an effort to stop this destructive behaviour from your dog. You should keep your furry friend with you when you are at home to prevent his behaviour and also buy a special collar to your dog to prevent him from reaching the wounded area.
We have seen that your dog can lick his paws for no special reason or when he is anxious or stressed. If he is hurting himself, it is mandatory to take him to the Veterinarian, who is going to make examinations and analyses to find out what is going on, if there is some insidious disease underlying this behaviour or if this is exclusively a behavioural issue. According to this conclusion, there will be a treatment.
Your dog will need your support to overcome this situation. You should be patient and never give up, because probably there are several things that you will have to change in order to your pet get better. Some of these things may be food or habits.
While medicines act to heal the wounds, it is important that you engage on these changes. You may take your dog for a walk, play with him, give him toys and spend time with him.