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Why do Dogs Lick Their Paws? Is It Normal?

While paw licking is considered normal as tail chasing sessions, sometimes it has hidden meanings. In this article, we will go through a few reasons and sweep away your confusion about why your dog licking paws a lot. It is time to take action if your dog is excessively licking his paws. 

Reasons for My Dog Keeps Licking his Paws

There are several reasons for why my dog keeps licking his paws. You can check the reasons below if your dog excessive licking paws.

Dog Injuries

Some injuries, like cuts and punctures by thorns or stones, bee stings, torn nails, abrasions, etc., can cause your dogs licking their paws. The first sign is that your dog is licking only one paw. Sometimes, the paws can be harmed by burns, ulcers or blisters from hot sidewalks or when ice balls get stuck between the pads. Inspect the paws, pads, and toes carefully and treat them with regular first aid. These injuries do not last for too long if given proper care. Always look for signs with absolute attention, as some injuries can be hidden.

Cysts in Dogs

Dogs usually develop cysts hidden between their toes, so it is very easy to miss them during the inspection. Cysts in dogs are fluid-filled sacs with external materials embedded inside. They can be extremely painful, which is why the dog may lick them to relieve the pain. 


Your dogs may have blisters between toes or on pads after a long hiking trip or any other activity that can generate friction. Blister on dog paws can be problematic in the long run because they do not cure themselves and will cause more trouble if they are not treated on time.

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Overgrown Nails in Dogs

Nails can cause discomfort to your dog. Overgrown nails can curl back into the pads, which can cause pain. Similarly, nails which are too long might break into contact with carpets, curtains, shoes, etc. This will lead to swollen toes and bleeding. Overgrown nails in dogs are easily detectable.  


If you use harsh chemicals to clean your house, your dog may get burnt by them. Proper care and attention should be given to such practices. Walking on hot sidewalks can also result in dog burned paws. Cracked or peeling skin on the paws can be a direct system. 

Snow and Ice Melts

Huskies love winter climate, but other breeds may enjoy it less. Snow or de-icers can cause redness and irritation in paws. You can look for these signs regularly to ensure your pet is in a chilly atmosphere.

Insect Bites

It is not uncommon for dogs to get stung by insects while playing in their favourite park. Dogs are curious animals; they may approach insects and get hurt. Swelling is the predominant sign.

Skin Infection in Dogs


Greasy, crabby or flaky skin can be a dermatitis symptom. An easy way to detect it is by smelling the paws. If there is a foul odour, it may be dermatitis. If your dog is licking and chewing the paws too often, it could mean dermatitis. Reddish-brown stains on the fur in the licked areas can confirm this.

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Dry skin or dandruff is commonly why dogs lick their paws. Dry skin can cause itchiness and flaky skin, which could stir agitation. 

Bacterial Infection in Dogs

Hair loss, flaky skin and redness are some indicators of bacterial infections in dogs. You may also notice lethargy and an upset stomach. In this case, If your dog keeps licking paw, it is to soothe the itching and irritation.

Dog Yeast Infection

Dog Yeast infections are troublesome and distressing for dogs. Itchiness and bad odour are the biggest signs. This can also make your pet fidgety and restless.

Parasites on Dogs

Ticks, mites, and fleas can find a home between the warm and moist toes. Demodex mites can also indicate the presence of underlying diseases like Cushing’s disease, cancer or a compromised immune system. This condition can elevate and become life-threatening for your dog if you do not give proper care and attention. 

Ringworm in Dogs

Ringworm in dogs is a contagious fungal infection. You see your dog constantly licking paws to relieve the itch, but he ends up spreading it to other parts of his body.. It can be easily spread, which demands immediate observation and smooth relief.   

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Anxiety and Boredom

Just like humans, dogs with anxiety try to find an activity they can continue. The most straightforward task for them is to lick their paws. If your dog breed necessitates above-average mental or physical stimulus and you’re unable to give it, your dog may get bored and lick his paws. This can cause hot spots, lick granuloma, hair loss on the affected area, and red raised skin. 

Allergies in Dogs

Allergies in dogs is the most difficult cause to figure out. You may check physical causes, whereas the problem may be internal. There can be two factors:

Environmental Allergies in Dogs

The onset of environmental allergies in dogs is around 2-4 years. The common indicator is that your dog frequently licks his paws, face, and rear in a particular season, especially autumn. 

Dog Food Allergies

This is a common occurrence in puppies that are under a year of age. The signature characteristics of dog food allergies are itchy paws, face and ears and dark pigmentation. Food allergies can worsen if you don’t stop feeding whatever triggers the reaction. 

Pain in Dogs

Arthritis, foot/leg fractures, ankle sprains, or injury in the foot or any other body part may lead to your dog licking his paws incessantly. You can confirm pain in dogs by checking if the area is tender and swollen.  

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Secondary Infection

It’s essential to figure out the reason behind the licking behaviour because it can increase and cause more problems by harbouring secondary infections. 

How to Stop Dog from Licking Paws?

  • If you want to know how to stop dog from licking paws, then the most important thing is to regularly check every section of their paws for swelling, cuts, redness or scabs.
  • Do not let the nails of your dogs overgrow, keep them trimmed. Cut your dog claws on a scheduled basis. 
  • In case of behavioural causes, visit a professional. If you are sure your dog is suffering from anxiety, spend more time and provide calming treats. 
  • Schedule meets and checkups with the vet at least once a month. 
  • Bacterial and yeast infections can be prevented by topical medications and some drugs prescribed by an expert.
  • You should spend more time with your dog and take him to parks, daily walks, and fun strolls in the backyard. Buy new puzzles and chew toys for your pet. 
  • You can apply pet-safe, bitter-tasting products to stop the licking habit if it results from boredom. 
  • Use paw moisturizers to eliminate dryness and flaky skin. Do not use the same lotion as yours, as it might not be dog-friendly. 
  • Clean their paws regularly to avoid environmental allergies.
  • You might have to clip or shave your pet’s fur to treat the ringworm problem. Use prescribed antifungal and antimicrobial shampoos and wipes to clean your dog regularly.
  • Topical anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial sprays or hydrocortisone sprays can help prevent hot spots.
  • Wipe their paws using a soft towel so that no wetness is left on their skin.
  • Omega-3-rich oil can also soothe skin and calm itchiness and irritation. 
  • Make them wear boots or specially designed salves in winter. Use pet-friendly de-icers and use paw wax to reduce the risks.
  • The vet recommends oral antihistamines and topical steroids to treat insect bites. 
  • A proper and nutritious diet can do wonders. 
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As a responsible pet owner, you must notice behavioural changes in your dog and try to reach the root cause. Understanding the reason helps eradicate the problem. Licking is a common grooming practice in dogs, but it can highlight several hidden diseases lurking behind. Ensure adequate nutrition and exercise for them.