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Dogs do a lot of stupid things, but although some of their behavior is difficult to explain, excessive paw licking may be an indication of a serious medical concern. Naturally, all dogs do lick their paws at some time. Thus, in this article titled ‘why do dogs lick their paws,’ we will discover the reasons behind it.

Paw licking is a natural component of dogs’ self-grooming process, particularly when they get into the house after wandering on dusty or sandy ground. However, if your dog licks his paws regularly and fiercely, you can suspect that something is wrong.

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws? – Reasons

Allergies

Amongst the most common reasons dogs lick their paws is to alleviate allergies— whether dietary or environmental. Though the most likely cause of your dog’s paw discomfort is environmental allergies.

This can be caused by allergies to grasses, dust mites, or pollens, but is seldom caused by food allergies. However, the most often encountered food allergies are to animal proteins such as dairy, beef, pork, or chicken.

Both dietary and environmental allergies can result in itchy paws in dogs, while the exact reason for this is uncertain.

If you feel that your dog is licking his paws due to an allergy, call your veterinarian immediately.

Doctor would decide on the medications for your pup to give to cure the allergies. 

Alternatively, if you believe your dog may have a food allergy (upset stomach or runny feces are frequently indicators of a food allergy), see your veterinarian about your dog’s diet.

Anxiety

Dogs may also lick their paws in response to nervousness. Consult your veterinarian about possible anxiety drugs if the licking gets extreme.

A dog may lick their paws to release tension, similar to how we bite our nails

However, in the majority of cases, dogs suffering from anxiety may be redirected by the use of a special reward like play time, walks, treats or other forms of exercise and/or mental stimulation.

Boredom

Boredom can also result in paw-licking in dogs. After all, when dogs are bored, they prefer to return to harmful habits they are familiar with.

If a dog is not cognitively stimulated, it may seek alternative forms of entertainment, which may involve self-destructive activities such as licking its paws.

The good news is that if boredom is clearly driving your dog to lick their paws, there are several trainer-approved methods for redirection. Similarly, to how you might divert anxiety-related behaviors, increase your dog’s stimulation.

This may include a lengthy walk, more exercise, a visit to the dog park, a 30-minute playtime, treats, and toys that will tire out your dog while simultaneously challenging him cognitively and physically.

Corns

Surprisingly, canines, like humans, may acquire corns. Medically referred to as paw pad keratoma. A keratoma is a benign development of the keratin generating cells in the skin. 

These are most frequently found on the pad’s bottom and are referred to as corns. These can be quite uncomfortable for the dog to walk on.

Corns are a particular problem for greyhounds, as the breed is predisposed to acquiring them owing to the shape of their feet.

These corns can be produced by scar tissue formation as a result of racing injury and trauma (which is common in both retired and current racing greyhounds).

Corns—which appear as strange-looking tumors on a dog’s paw pads—can also form as a result of a viral infection.

Consult your veterinarian immediately if you feel your dog’s paw-licking is caused by corns on their feet.

Additionally, you may assist reduce your dog’s corn-related pain by avoiding hard surfaces such as tarmac and instead strolling in grassier regions.

Imbalance of Hormones

A hormonal imbalance may cause your dog to be constantly itching, and as we all know, when a dog is itchy, licking, biting, and scratching occurs.

A dog’s body may overproduce the stress hormone cortisol. When a dog’s body produces too much cortisol, it may become deficient in thyroid hormone, and such a substantial imbalance in cortisol and thyroid hormone production can result in intense itching of the skin.

In this situation, the region most likely to be impacted is the dog’s paws.

Injury

Dogs may develop an obsession with licking their paws as a result of an injury that is causing unexplained pain.

This may be anything, and while you may believe that as a pet owner, you would quickly notice if your dog sustained an injury, sometimes it is difficult to detect.

Ailments such as a fractured bone, toenail break, or other associated injuries may drive a dog to lick their paws in an attempt to self-soothe and selfheal which, unfortunately, frequently results in their causing additional issues!  Another possible source of harm is a random item.

A foreign item lodged in their fur/skin/pad, like as grass seed, a stone, or a shard of glass, may be causing pain and distress.

Parasites

Parasites are an unwelcome side effect of keeping a pet on sometimes. After all, pets are at a higher risk of contracting mites, fleas, and ticks.

And, as we all know, any type of unwelcome parasite can result in a great deal of scratching and licking. However, the majority of parasites cause a dog to lick its private parts rather than its paws.

If your dog has parasites, they may lick their rectum,” adds Dr. Ochoa. These parasites irritate their rectum and force them to lick it excessively.

Naturally, if this behavior is persistent, it is critical to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Ticks and other tiny parasites, on the other hand, are not beyond resting in between your dog’s paws. This is especially problematic during the hot summer months when parasites are most active.

Always enlist the assistance of anti-flea and anti-tick medicines and visit your vet if you think your dog has a parasite infestation.

Skin Dermatitis

Skin dermatitis‘ is a colloquial term for any type of skin inflammation. A dog who is irritated on the skin may attempt to ‘correct’ the problem by licking it away. 

This might be anything from a wasp sting or any other insect bite to snow salt on winter sidewalks.

Sources: 1, 2

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