Though this is a common behavior seen by many dogs it can be a sign of a more serious issue that requires a veterinarians assistance. These more serious cases oftentimes are associated with a more intense licking that leaves behind some side effects including discoloration, odor, swelling, or even bleeding. In any case it is a good idea to inform your veterinarian of this behavior even if it seems like nothing.
Now that we know what to look for lets see some common reasons a dog might begin licking or chewing on their paws.
ANXIETY OR BOREDOM
Dogs can face times that leave them in high stress or times where they need something to occupy their mind. When they lick their paws it can give them something to do that takes their mind off of whatever they may be facing. This can be an innocent small problem where they only lick every once in a while, or it can turn into a habitat where they lick their paws raw. In these situations it is important that you address any signs of separation anxietyto ensure they don’t freak out and lick every time you walk out the door. It’s also a good idea to get an interactive toy to keep your dog busy and not bored enough to lick themselves.
Sometimes dogs get cuts or scratches on their legs or punctures in their paws pads just from sticks or other objects outside. A common way dogs try to deal with any pain they are experiencing is to lick the wound. This can lead to the wound not healing correctly or even worsening. CBD is a great way to help your dog as it has anti inflammatory properties as well as a calming compound to help dogs through these times.
Fleas, Ticks, and other pesky things that can latch onto your dogs paws can cause an annoying itching pain. This leads to, you guessed it, Itching or chewing on their legs or paws depending on the location of the parasite. Some of these can be easy to find, others not so much. A flea and tick prevention method is wise as to avoid any unwanted problems in this area. It is also a good idea to get a check up with their veterinarian after these cases to make sure they are still healthy.
CRACKED, ITCHY SKIN
Just like humans dogs can get dry skin that cracks and itches, oftentimes in the dry winter weather. This leads to licking behavior due to their saliva making it feel better, but over time the saliva will worsen the condition and make the paws raw. This can be harmful to your pet and should be dealt with as this is an easy fix. Simply add coconut oil as a moisturizer to the desired location to help the dryness.
Sometimes a simple food allergy can make your dogs skin itch which will also make them begin to lick and chew their paws. Some dogs are allergic to certain proteins that are found in everyday dog food. This can lead to chronic licking due to the constant itch they have. Make sure to contact a veterinarian in this case as there are always alternatives in dog foods to help Fido find what he needs.
In some severe cases dogs will lick their paws if there is a cyst or a tumor present below the skin. This can be hard to pinpoint as there are so many other reasons why dogs lick and chew on their paws. If you cannot figure out any other reason for your dogs licking behavior this may be a possibility and you should get an appointment with your veterinarian to be certain. This is another area CBD may be a good option for as it has many beneficial properties that aid dogs who deal with cancer.
Why do dogs lick and chew on their paws? There are many reasons and some can be severe cases that require your vets assistance. This can be a habit that is not only bad for a dogs health but also annoying or inappropriate to some humans out there. It is hard to get a dog to stop licking all together but there are methods that can help. If you have anything else that has worked for your furry friend feel free to let us know in the comments.
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Denise Hamlett is a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row, flown over L.A. with the LAPD and patrolled with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic , she joined us since one year!