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How to Stop Dog from Licking Paws


In addition to stress, other issues can cause the pet to nibble or compulsively lick its paw
It is not uncommon to see a dog licking its paw or even nibbling. This is more common in cats, an act called ” cat bathing “. Usually, when animals do this, in addition to leaving their hair wet, they form sores in the affected region, with a tendency to redness.

How to Stop Dog from Licking Paws

How to Stop Dog from Licking Paws

Many tutors are uncomfortable with this and do not know what to do to ease the situation. This is because, as well as signaling a psychological problem or some discomfort in the skin, a dog licking its paw can result in serious injuries and physical complications. Therefore, it is important to know what measures can help the pet to stop this habit. The ideal is to find out and try to remedy the cause of the problem before it gets worse.


How to perceive excess licking

  • Paw wet beyond normal
  • Some part of the injured paw, with faults in the hair or a change in color
  • Changes in the smell of the skin or paw


What makes the pet lick, bite or scratch its paw?

Anxiety, boredom, and stress

One of the most common reasons is the stress or anxiety felt by the animal. Just as many humans have a habit of biting their nails, for example, pets express the agony they feel through constant bites or licks.

This disorder is called obsessive-compulsive and the treatment is easy and calm, it only requires dedication from the tutor. Generally, the veterinarian recommends more walks, games, and exercises for the dog, in order to be happier and healthier. After all the pet needs physical activity, regardless of breed or profile.

If he spends many hours alone it is possible to have developed separation anxiety and to suffer a lot – especially if his personality involves lack and effective dependence on the family.

When leaving him alone, the ideal is to keep toys and distractors close by, to play and have some fun while the owner does not return. Another option can be a nursery or kennel, where you can interact with other dogs and receive different stimuli. You can even make toys at home, recycling simple objects and without spending too much!

Hormonal problems

Few people know, but hormone imbalances, especially thyroid, can lead to skin infections. Hypothyroidism, for example, and even excess cortisol are still possible causes of irritation in the animal’s paw. And in that case, it is clear that his reaction will be to lick or scratch it over and over. 

The good news is that the thyroid problem is treated and can be treated quickly, which reduces the pet’s discomfort and heals the wounds caused by it.

Skin problems

It is common for the dog to develop certain allergies, be it food or chemicals, for example. When this happens, the body manifests itself, forming red spots and severe wounds.

It is necessary to investigate the cause of the allergic reaction and treat it as soon as possible. Depending on the type of allergy, the veterinarian may order a food restriction and blood and urine tests to see if the reason is different. In the meantime, try to distract the animal, so as not to lick it and make the situation worse, which can develop into serious skin diseases.


Dry skin stems from several factors. One of them is the cold and the lack of humidity in the environment where the dog lives. The lack of a layer of fat, that is, a low level of fatty acids in the pet’s body, tends to represent a less shiny and healthy coverage of the skin. When feeling the need to wet the paw, the dog’s natural reaction is to lick.

This can be solved with special baths, using specific shampoos, in addition to conditioners to give extra shine and a more hydrated appearance. The ideal is to let the latter act between 15 and 20 minutes during the bath.

Food also plays a fundamental role in increasing fatty acids and in order to obtain a better and more beautiful coat. The vet can indicate the best foods for this, as well as assess the main cause of dry skin. Always leaving fresh water for the animal is another important issue – its hydration will depend a lot on daily consumption, which varies according to the size of the dog.

The sun is both the best friend of the pet’s health and the biggest villain. This is because, although it is essential for the increase of vitamin D and has numerous advantages, in excess it can cause serious burns and make the skin even more irritated. Therefore, always control the time the dog is in the sun. Half an hour a day, in the morning and never in the hottest periods, already helps.


When in contact with certain parasites, such as fleas and ticks, it is normal for the animal to start scratching constantly. This case is already more serious and, if not treated urgently, can lead to worse conditions, such as the development of certain diseases. 

It is always good to keep in mind that the animal’s saliva is full of bacteria and foreign bodies since it has contact with various objects and environments throughout the day. Therefore, by placing the tongue on the already injured surface, the chances of passing infections or parasitic diseases into the body increase. The ideal, in this case, is to try to cover the injured part to avoid contact with the external environment.


When feeling pain many pets react by scratching or nibbling the paw or the leg. Identifying the reason for the discomfort can be more difficult, so it is best to take it to the vet for an examination. 

But in short, the dog licking its paw does need more attention, in many ways. The sooner the tutor realizes this habit, the more effective and quick the problem will be solved.