Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws?


This is a common question among dog owners.  Why does my dog lick his paws?  Dogs lick their paws for one of three reasons:  1) their paws are itchy; 2) their paw has been injured or is infected; or, 3) compulsive, psychological licking due to boredom or nerves.

Your dog’s paws could itch due to environmental factors — allergies, fleas, mites, etc.  By all means take your dog to the vet to determine what is causing the itching.  Your vet will recommend an appropriate course of treatment to alleviate the itchiness.  If the dog’s paw is cut or bleeding, the vet will also prescribe the appropriate treatment.

It has also been said that intelligent dogs are the ones most inclined to be abusive lickers when it comes to psychological licking.  Why is this?  Dogs that were genetically programmed for work — hunting, gun dogs, retrievers, herding and guardians, get bored if they don’t have work to do.  If they don’t have work to do, they drum something up on their own.  Licking usually fits the bill.

The difficulty most owners face is breaking the cycle of infection due to continued licking.  Many dogs continue to lick and chew the treated paws, much to the chagrin of the owner.  Dogs will often cause their own sores which may bleed, cause hair loss or create infections.  How can you control the behavior and stop the cycle?  Many people have used the “cone of shame” to keep their dogs having easy access to lick their paws, but there are a lot of hassles with the cone.  The cone has to be removed for the dog to go to the bathroom or walk through doorways, for the dog to eat, drink, etc.  You can wrap your dog’s paws, but that’s not an easy solution either!

Effective treatment consists of attempting to alleviate the symptoms by using the appropriate course of action as recommended by your vet.  You also have to control the behavior as much as possible.  That’s where I think dog boots may be of value in controlling the behavior.  Dog boots are easy to place on your dog, and will prevent the dog from chewing or licking its paw.

Healers Paw Booties were designed specifically to fit the unique shape of your dog’s paws, and they include replacement gauze inserts so that your dog can easily be medicated.  The gauze inserts are also useful for keeping your furniture and floors clean.  They come in various sizes from as small as XS for the toy breeds and teacups, on up to Large and XL for the large breeds and Giants.  At under $30/pair, it’s worth a try!  I think you will find that they are a unique solution to a stubborn problem, and will help to break the cycle of licking which causes irritation which causes more licking.

Buy online at ShopForPuppy.com.




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