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Excessive Paw Licking: Top 5 Reasons Why It Happens

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Excessive paw licking could be a sign that something is up with your dog. Click in to see what those reasons could be!

For many of us dog parents, paw licking is nothing new from our furry friends.

Whether it’s a plethora of careful licks around the paws or a vigorous scrubbing after a sandy walk; paw licking is a common self-grooming technique our dogs display from time to time.

Like any dog behaviour though, it takes a negative light when it becomes compulsive.

Obsessive paw licking can be a sign that somethings not right with our pups and can indicate: pain, infection, allergies or anxiety.

That’s why it’s important for us dog parents to keep our eyes peeled for when the licking becomes out of the ordinary and take the necessary action to help our furry friends.

So, let’s take a look at the possible reasons so we can figure out how best to help our friends.


Top 5 Reasons Behind Your Dogs Paw Licking

1/ Injury & Pain

black dog paw compulsive licking injury busterbox

The most common source of excessive paw licking usually arises from injury.

According to veterinarian Dr Emily Wilson of Fuzzy, “Paw licking is a kind of coping mechanism for discomfort.”

Our first responsibility as dog parents is to check for any form of injury that may have occurred: cuts, bee-stings, or blisters are all common afflictions that may occur from time to time.

These can be treated with some first aid or if in doubt comfortably looked after by your trusty vet.

However, there are times where paw licking may be a source of pain invisible to the naked eye.

This can include more serious issues like: arthritis, cancer or pain coming from another bodily part.

Contact your vet for their expert diagnosis and they can help you in managing the pain and the excessive licking.

2/ Dermatitis

Dermatitis is a general term that describes a common skin irritation. It has many causes and forms and usually involves itchy, dry skin. (Mayoclinic)

It also leads to compulsive licking from our dogs from them trying to alleviate the itch.

Dermatitis can be caused from a range of things from fungal infections and bacterial infections to allergens and food sensitivities.

A way to try and prevent this happening is to towel down your pooch’s paws after they get wet.

3/ Food Allergies

Itchy paws can be caused by allergies to certain foods.

Try take note of whether the licking occurs after eating and assess if it’s any particularly food type.

You can consult with your vet for a super doggy diet so that they leave those paws alone!

4/ Behavioural Issues

anxious dog licking paw busterbox

Anxiety and boredom are two big possible drivers of a dog’s obsessive paw licking.

A bored dog will seek stimulation in whatever way they can which can result in excessive grooming or licking.

Start bringing your dog out for more walks and spend more time playing with them and keeping them stimulated.

You can also give them toys to play with that keep them entertained.

Our BusterBox goodies are the perfect choice for solving boredom aa new box full of fun surprises arrives every month!

Anxiety can be a little trickier to manage so our recommendation would be to contact an animal behaviourist who can give you the best possible solution.

They may suggest introducing calming treats, more walks and giving them more happiness in their lives!

5/ Parasites

Flea bites can lead to infections which cause reactions in our furry friends.

And as you can guess, those reactions lead to a lot of licking.

While the best way to deal with fleas is to avoid them entirely, your vet will be able to consult which treatments work best in case of exposure.


Final Bark

Excessive paw licking could be a sign that something is up with your dog.

As always, us dog parents need to be vigilant with our loved ones behaviour so we can deduce the problem and go about solving it.

As always, we need to refer to our friendly neighborhood veterinarians if we’re ever unsure.

That rounds up this week’s BusterBox blog. Keep your eyes peeled for more fun, informative posts!

And as always, be sure to check out our BusterBox goodies and show your dog how much you love them.

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