Constant licking of paws can be harmless, but also dangerous

They are cute, fragrant, we love their print, but at the same time, taking care of them is a chapter in itself. We are talking about dog paws, which can make furry people pretty angry. This time we will focus on their excessive licking. Why do dogs do this? And what health problems can they point to?

Pollen season

Have you noticed that the dog licks its paws most often when you return from a walk? This behavior may be in response to grass, pollen or mites. In some cases, it is enough to wash the paws from allergens and the dog will be relieved immediately. At other times, the allergy can also be manifested by watery eyes, itching or a rash. Perhaps it reminds you strikingly of the pollen season hated by all human allergy sufferers. However, if you want to give your dog any medication commonly used by allergy sufferers, consult your vet first.


Dog fleas, which supposedly do not attack humans, can make a nice clearing in fur. Such an unwelcome visit can cause so-called flea allergic dermatitis in the dog's organism, which is extremely itchy. Dogs most often lick their paws or bottoms to get rid of the unpleasant feeling.

Food allergy

An allergy to certain foods can also be manifested by abnormal paw licking. If you suspect that your dog is licking his food, talk to your vet about your concerns. He usually puts on an elimination diet, when the most common allergens are removed from the dog's diet, such as cereals, soy, cow's milk, corn or chicken meat, and observes how the dog reacts to the elimination and gradual inclusion.

Dry skin

Leaving aside all the possible allergies that licking often causes, the explanation can be even simpler and that is dry skin. It is the result, for example, of excessive bathing, which strips the fur of its natural grease. The skin is then dry, irritated and itchy.

Injury or illness

Another potential cause of a dog's excessive licking is an injury to the paw itself. It often occurs in the summer when walking on hot pavement or, conversely, in the winter as a result of aggressive road salt. More serious causes can be finger fractures, soft tissue infections or nail bed diseases.

Anxieties and obsessive behavior

Before you start looking for health complications, observe the dog's psychological state. Excessive licking of the paws can be caused by mental discomfort. Hasn't there been a big change lately? Didn't he start to be alone at home more, didn't he die or, on the contrary, didn't an animal friend come home?


The explanation can be as simple as this. In short, the dog is trying to entertain itself by licking its paws. This happens more often with working breeds that are used to being constantly in a sled.

Dermatitis, yeast and bacterial infections, hotspots - all these complications can be caused by excessive paw licking. It is important to regularly check the places between the fingers and the pads, especially watch out for insidious wasps. Dry your paws thoroughly after each shower.

You know your dog better than anyone else. In order to recognize health complications, you must first know what is normal for your dog. Changes in health status are often slight or occur gradually, which makes early detection of the problem difficult. Paw licking in particular may seem harmless at first. If you have any concerns, contact your veterinarian.

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