If you’ve ever wondered why your dog licks its paws, the answer is linked to nature. A dog’s paw is one of its most sensitive body parts, and it is also used to protect its entire body from elements such as cold and injury. A dog’s paw is also highly specialized because it has nerve endings to detect warmth. This is why some dogs will lick their paws when they are cold or afraid, as it helps to activate the nerves in this sensitive part of their body. However, this behavior can also signify hunger, as dogs often lick their paws in preparation for hunting.
The dog will often lick its wounds to ease discomfort. The same toe could be an indication that your dog is dealing with an injury, such as cuts, a sting bite, puncture, ingrown nail, or burn. Examine your dog’s feet for any signs that are out of the normal, treat small cuts with a pet’s first aid kit, and then thoroughly wash the area. It is recommended to seek professional advice if you spot injuries.
Arthritis is another frequent reason to lick. Although this joint problem typically causes pain in several places, dogs will often lick their paws to ease aches, as per the American Kennel Club. Your veterinarian can assist in managing your dog’s arthritis and offer solutions that can alleviate discomfort.
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Itchy or dry skin is among the most common skin problems that lead the dogs to paw licking in a disproportionate amount. Itchy skin usually results from environmental allergies. Certain weeds, grasses, and dust all can cause allergies in pets. Moreover, your pet may use their paws to lick to soothe the itchy feeling vigorously. Other symptom’s of skin problems like sneezing, swelling of the eyes, or a running nose are signs that your dog is suffering from allergies.
Cleansing your dog can aid in reducing the symptom’s of environmental allergies. Ask your vet to determine if your pet is suffering from an ecological allergy.
Another one of the many reasons why dogs lick their paws is due to boredom. Most dogs will go through periods of boredom throughout the year. For example, during the winter, when the weather is very cold and damp, most dogs will seek out any warm and dry areas they can find. When a dog is bored, it will search for activities that they are interested in and play. Therefore, your dog may lick its paw every so often to keep itself busy.
Licking paws is sometimes determining the territory!
Some dogs may also lick their paws when anxious, upset, or even scared. You’ll find that a dog will lick its paw when defending its face or territory. When your dog is defending itself, it is trying to acquire whatever it is protecting. This process is called urination. It is also common to see a dog lick its paw when happy and exciting.
Dry skin is typically an issue that is specific to breeds; however, it could be caused by excessive sun exposure or in a dry, cold atmosphere.
Hairless breeds are usually susceptible to various skin issues because they do not possess the natural protection that hair can provide. Breeds that fall under this group are those called the Chinese Crested, the Xoloitzcuintli, and the American Hairless Terrier.
Dry and flaky skin is not uncommon among dogs in dry and cold climates. If you’re experiencing this, ask your veterinarian to suggest a natural oil or dog lotion ease the dryness. Also, if you’re concerned that oils might leave a mess around your home, You can feed your dog high-quality vitamins and oils as a solution for dry skin.
If your dog has dry skin, which isn’t related to whether or breeds, you should steer clear of excessive bathing and use of harsh soaps.
The third reason dogs lick their paws is that they are just playing. Many dogs play with their paws by rolling around in the snow or on the ground. They are playing most of the time, but they don’t realize that they are doing it. They may also roll around in the house by pushing their rear end against the door and rubbing it up and down. This can cause the coat to get wet, thus making the dog lick their paw.
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Preparing to meet someone new!
Some dogs may lick their paws when they are nervous or anxious. A nervous dog may feel insecure and will want to rid themselves of the sensation of fear or anxiety. This can be done by licking the outside of their paw. A nervous or anxious dog may also lick their paw before shaking hands. This is done to show the dog owner that they are comfortable with the person and not nervous when meeting someone new.
Flea or Tick.
Ticks and fleas can cause extreme itching that can result in excessive chewing and licking of the paws. This condition may become more severe if your pet suffers from an allergic reaction to the flea. Alongside using insecticides and flea medications, be sure to get rid of your home of fleas. If your pet seems to be sensitive to cleaning products or other over-the-counter medicines, there are safe methods to rid your home of fleas and stop the return of fleas.
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Maybe it’s an injury!
If the licking is sudden and concentrated on one paw only, it is important to inspect the paws for any injuries such as a cut or torn nail, growth or stone, thorn or iceball between the pads. Pay attention to the tips of your feet, the pads between your toes, and the nail beds.
How to stop a dog from excessive licking its paw?
The source of your dog’s irritation could be something as simple as an insect bite, but paw licking or paw chewing might have caused more damage and led to an infection that has spread to other areas. To bring a halt to the problem, it is essential to prevent your pet from paw chewing and seek out a method to alleviate the irritation, pain, or itching. The treatment naturally is determined by the root reason for the issue.
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Ways to stop dogs from paw excessive licking.
- Wear your dog’s Elizabethan collar and cone.
- Keep them entertained with plenty of toys to play with.
- Give them stuffed Kongs to keep their minds engaged.
As you can see, the main reason why dogs lick their paws is so that they can have something to do. When a dog has nothing to do, it will usually lick its paws to eliminate the feeling of being bored. Besides, dogs should always be given proper exercise and socialization to know who is in charge and that command gets the attention first. Licking behavior may indicate a medical problem or be dangerous for your dog. Your veterinarian should be consulted to determine the exact cause and recommend a solution.