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The Facts About Dogs and Their Paws

April 22, 2020

Are you concerned that your dog is licking or chewing her paws a little too much? 

Although licking is associated with normal grooming behavior for dogs, when it becomes excessive and includes constant chewing, this could indicate an underlying problem.

One of these conditions could be the culprit behind your dog’s incessant grooming.  

  1. Allergy: Whether it’s the result of seasonal allergies or a flea infestation, dogs lick their paws to relieve the itch. Keep in mind, though, that the discomfort might not be in their paws. When dogs feel itchy, they lick somewhere accessible, like their paws, to soothe the irritation located elsewhere on their body.
  2. Injury: Cuts, debris between the toes, or other skin abrasions can prompt dogs to chew or scratch their skin.
  3. Habit: Dogs who are frequently left alone for long periods of time or those who don’t receive adequate exercise will lick and chew their paws out of boredom.
  4. Anxiety: A change of routine, like a new baby, or separation can trigger anxiety in some dogs. Anxious pups will often groom their paws excessively.
  5. Compulsive Disorder: Although uncommon, constant licking could be a sign of obsessive-compulsive behavior, which can be difficult to treat and control.

More than nuisance behavior, incessant licking and chewing can lead to real problems for your best pal. If left untreated, it could result in painful damaged skin, open sores, bacterial infections, and a vicious cycle of constant irritation. 

Regularly check your dog’s skin for any irritations that may be causing discomfort. And, if you notice Fido grooming himself more than usual, contact your veterinarian immediately to pinpoint the issue and start a treatment plan.