Why Dogs Lick Their Feet?
Why do dogs lick their feet? Dogs are often seen paw licking, where there appears to be no visible wound, injury or disease. This is known as “excessive paw licking.” It can be a sign of allergic skin disease, but it can also come from an allergy to something inside the dog’s environment.
Dog licking his feet can be a sign of allergies, infections or even an imbalance in your pet’s system that needs to be addressed.
Licking helps clean dirt and debris off the paw so that it does not get rubbed into any cuts on the footpad. If your dog has allergies, he may lick his itchy paws excessively because they itch so much.
If you notice your dog constantly paw licking his feet, it could indicate that he has an allergy and needs to see the veterinarian for treatment options. Many antihistamines are available over-the-counter, but some dogs may need a stronger medication.
Excessive paw licking can also indicate a medical issue related to the dog’s teeth or gums. This is especially true for older dogs that have gum disease, which causes swelling and redness in one or more areas of their mouth. Dogs with tooth decay will ingest a lot of saliva as they were at the pain, so it might seem like they are licking their paws excessively because dog’s paws hurt. In this case, it would be best to have your veterinarian examine your dog’s mouth and take any necessary steps to clean his teeth and treat dental issues.
If you observe no other symptoms except the excessive licking, then there is a good chance your pet has allergies.
When a dog has allergies, he is reacting to something that his immune system identifies as a dangerous chemical or allergen. When the dog encounters this substance, his body starts producing histamines, which are chemicals intended to fight off the harmful substance. In some cases, however, these histamines can cause swelling and irritation in your dog’s paws and lead him to lick them excessively.
Possible causes of allergies include:
Food allergies are also a major cause of licking and other symptoms like redness, hair loss or scabs around their feet.
Bacterial or yeast infection is another possible cause of dog licking feet and it is especially likely if your pet’s skin around their feet appears reddish or irritated
Fleas may be visible on your dog’s toes around his feet or it may be difficult to find them because they have found areas on their body where the fur is thin and they can avoid being spotted by you easily.
However, even if you do not see any fleas on your pet, if he is licking his paws excessively, it’s best to take him to your veterinarian for a checkup. Treatment from an expert will help you remove the fleas from your pet and also determine if there are other common allergens in your home that may be causing him discomfort without you knowing.
Mold is a very common allergy problem with pets, especially dogs because they spend so much time outdoors. If your dog spends a lot of time playing outside or going for walks in wet grass or on sidewalks where mold spores are present, then this could explain why he keeps licking his feet even when all visible signs of injury have healed.
What can I do?
Dog lick their feet for a variety of reasons and if you notice this behavior, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Your vet can give you medicines that might ease the itching from allergies and stop your dog licking his feet.
There are also many things you can do at home to help ease the symptoms.
Pets usually prefer clean, fresh water to drink so it is best if you keep your pet’s bowl filled with fresh water at all times. If your pet does not like the taste of his tap water, try adding some bottled spring water or just use filtered tap water that has been left out for a few hours until it goes room temperature. Also, changing brands or flavors of dog food on occasion might be helpful to determine if one of them is causing allergies in your pet.
Also, consider giving your pet healthy treats like fruits like blueberries and bananas instead of the more common processed foods he gets daily from his dog food. You can also try baking chicken or beef with some vegetables, ground up in the food processor.
Most importantly, if your pet is licking his paws excessively it’s important to make sure his footpads are clean and dry. If the paw pads are excessively moist or dirty they can lead to bacterial infections that will make your dog feel more uncomfortable and want to lick even more.
If you notice any redness, bumps or pain on your pet’s paws you should consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible. You might also check for cuts or anything that seems out of place because once an infection sets in it will be harder to treat. Also consider taking a look at their feet after coming back from being outside before allowing them on the furniture inside your home.
Remember that your pet’s feet are how he gets from place to place and allows him to explore the world around him. If he is licking, scratching or biting at his paws excessively then there could be a more serious underlying issue so it is important to take action if you notice this behavior in your dog.