A dog licking its paws isn’t anything to worry about; it’s perfectly normal behaviour. Dogs are usually licking their paws as part of their grooming process, getting rid of any dirt and debris. This is to be expected after your pup has come home after a walk, following dinner time and when they settle down for a nap. But an obsessive licking habit, especially for long periods of time, could hint at something else going on.
To give you a better understanding of why your furry friend may be licking their paws, we decided to run through some of the most common reasons dogs lick their paws.
1. Allergies or food intolerance
If you notice your dog licking their paws an awful lot, it could be an indicator of an allergy in its surroundings. Dogs can be allergic to things in their immediate environment, like grass, plants, chemicals from cleaning supplies or pesticides. Or you mightn’t be aware your dog is intolerant to something in their dinner! The most common foods dogs are intolerant to are dairy, beef and chicken.
You can carry out an elimination diet to see what is triggering their paw licking and if you think it could be from environmental surroundings, try swapping out your cleaning products or noticing what grass could be triggering the itch.
2. Flea Saliva
When a dog has fleas, it can affect them more than just scratching behind the ears. A dog’s immune system can overreact to flea saliva in a condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis. Dogs will scratch and lick in an attempt to sooth this itching, and the licking of paws during this time is common.
3. Dry Skin
Just like our skin can become dry, flakey and itchy, it’s the same for our four-legged friends. Dry skin is the most common skin problem for dogs, and irritated skin can result in increased dandruff. Ensure you follow a good grooming routine and aren’t bathing your dog too much, as this removes the natural oils on their skin.
Another reason dogs would lick their paws is open for interpretation. Dog’s lick their paws for a variety of behavioural reasons, such as boredom, anxiety, obsessive behaviour or wanting to play. One way a dog commonly comforts itself is by licking its paws. So if you think it’s not skin, grooming or environmental related, it could be a means for them to comfort themselves or relieve stress.
If licking paws is a new behavior for your dog, ask yourself what could be triggering this reaction. Has there been a new pet or family member introduced? Have you moved house? What are the new changes they could be experiencing?
If you think it could be behavioural, here are some things you could do to comfort/distract your dog:
- Take them on a walk
- Give them plenty of pats and attention
- Engage with them in play
- Encourage them to their den or safe zone
- Give them a brain-stimulating activity
Day care for your dog
If you are concerned about leaving your dog at home while you’re at work, get in contact with us at Paw Pals Doggy Daycare. We are experts in all things dog-related. Once we get to know your beloved pooch, we monitor their behaviour and mood so you have a better idea of what’s going on in your dog’s world.
Enquire with us about our next intake, and we can see if your dog will be suited for our Paw Pals family!