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“My Dog Keeps Licking His Paws” — Possible Reasons Why

January 16th, 2020 by Cherished Companions

A small dog keeps licking his paw.

So, your dog keeps licking one paw or chewing all four paws.

What’s going on?

Dogs tend to lick painful or itchy areas, so your dog is trying to tell you something.

Here are common reasons that Colorado dogs lick and chew at their paws, how to hone in on what may be going on, and how to stop the licking.

If your dog keeps licking ONE paw only…

Your dog may have a:

  • Foxtail seed or a little foreign object stuck in the skin (like a rock, seed, piece of mulch, snowball or ice)
  • Paw wound, like a cut
  • Infection: The areas between your dog’s toes can get moist, particularly if he’s been licking his foot. An infection will add to the itchiness and irritation.
  • Arthritis: Does your dog seem to be licking one spot over a joint?
  • Tumor: Your dog’s age and the location he keeps licking will guide us here.
  • A nervous, obsessive-compulsive behavior: While this can happen, it’s usually the last thing we consider. We’ll start with looking for signs of the issues above.

It’s possible your dog may have allergies too. Though, usually your dog will lick all four paws with allergies.

If your dog keeps licking ALL FOUR paws and won’t stop…

We’re going to be suspicious of dog allergies.

What to do if your dog is licking his paws

Look at your dog’s paws for something obvious:

  • A foreign object (like a grass seed, snowball or little rock wedged between the toes)
  • A wound (you’ll usually see blood)
  • A red, inflamed area
  • A bump
  • Or anything abnormal (swelling, discharge, etc.)

If your dog’s paws are really furry (hello, doodles!), you may need to use your hands to feel for issues.

When your dog is dealing with a foreign object, you may be able to help get it out carefully.

If you observe a limp or your dog’s other behavior seems off, contact our veterinarians quickly.

Your dog may be dealing with a bigger issue.

A dog parents hold her dog's paws in her hands.

If the licking persists or the signs above are getting worse…

Reach out to our Castle Rock veterinarians at 303-688-3757.

Some issues — like foxtail seeds — are much better to address sooner, rather than later.

How do I get my dog to stop licking or chewing his paws?

You can put a cone around your dog’s head to keep your dog from licking.

This can help minimize infection, and it may help your dog settle down to sleep.

Just keep in mind that you’re addressing the symptom of what’s going on, rather than the core issue.

In cases of a paw wound, you can put a sock over the paw.

This will stop some dogs from licking… but for other dogs, this may encourage them to lick even more!

It depends on your dog.

Don’t give your dog any pain medication or allergy meds without talking to a veterinarian first.

Ultimately, the remedy for the core issue really depends on what’s going on.

Related articles:

Help your dog feel more comfortable!

If you live in the Castle Rock area and your dog is licking or chewing his paw(s), we’re here to help you.

Reach out at 303-688-3757 or:

Book your visit here

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Tips from a Castle Rock veterinarian: 8 tips to keep your dog safe & happy in Castle Rock

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Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on possible reasons your dog keeps licking his paws. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call: 303-688-3757.)

© 2019, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic, All Rights Reserved


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