Why do dogs lick their paws? There is a chance that you notice your dog licking his paws from time to time. It is completely normal for dogs to lick their paws occasionally. However, excessive licking indicates a health problem.
If you think that your dog is licking too much then it is a matter of concern. This article will provide you a detailed guideline on why do dogs lick their paws. If you are curious to know why it is so and what to do in this situation then read the article till the end.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?
There are several reasons for dogs to lick their paws. It might be possible that your dog is a fastidious self-groomer. You can notice him licking his paw after meals, coming in from outdoors, or while settling down for a nap.
Even some dogs that do not do a lot of self-grooming will occasionally lick their paws. If you notice that your dog is licking his paw every once in a while and there is nothing abnormal in the paws then there is nothing to worry about. But it is abnormal if you see that your dog is licking his paws all the time as it depicts health issues.
Health Issues And Paws-licking
The first thing you need to do is to determine if there is a problem with the paws. Dogs excessively lick their paws if they are irritated, itchy, or painful. Also, an injury or outside object can lead to excessive paw-licking.
Your dog might have stepped on something that is causing discomforts like a hot pavement or a sharp item in his paws. It can also be possible that he has been stung or bitten by an insect or another animal.
It could be simply that he has an object or substance stuck to his paws and is licking to remove it. Some foreign objects like splinters or glass pieces can get stuck in the paws and cause irritation and pain.
Another possibility for excessive licking is that your dog has an abnormal growth on one of his paws like a tumor or cyst. Besides, your dog may have an injury or arthritis to the soft tissues or bones of the paws. Sometimes you cannot see these with naked eyes.
If your dog is focusing on only one paw more than the other then it might be an injury for an object or growth. However, these problems can easily affect both paws at a time.
Some allergies often cause irritation and itching in the paws. Many dogs have a food allergy or environmental allergies that cause discomfort in their paws.
Some infections cause a dog to lick paws. Fungal and bacterial infections are one of them. These infections may occur due to some unknown reasons. Sometimes infections are secondary as when a dog licks his paws excessively the pores stay damp and become more vulnerable to fungi and bacteria.
External parasitic infections like mange or fleas can also make pores itchy. If you find no physical reason for your dog then there is a chance that your dog has developed a behavioral issue.
What To Do If Your Dog Excessively Lick Paws?
If it feels like your dog is constantly licking his paws then inspect the paws closely. Look at the tops and bottoms of the feet as well as the spaces in between.
Look for any cuts, bruises, bleeding, redness, swelling, crusting, scabs, foreign objects, discharge or anything else that you find abnormal. You can administer first aid if necessary.
Excessive licking can cause saliva to stain on the hair around paws. You can see a rust-colored stain that is visible especially on light color hair.
It is crucial to contact your veterinarian whether or not the paws look abnormal to you. You veterinarian will rule out health problem before you start to address a behavioral issue.
So if your dog licks his paws occasionally, there is nothing to be worried about. But excessive or constant paw licking can indicate a health problem. Make sure to contact a vet whether or not you see any abnormality in your dog’s paw.
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