All dogs will lick their paws every now and then. This isn’t a problem at all and is something they all do. But, excessive licking can cause them to strip their hair, which can cause sores. These sores can get infected and itchy, which can cause your dog to lick their paws more. As such, this cycle continues over and over again, mostly until it is broken.
So, it’s always best to stop any excessive licking as soon as possible.
To do this, however, you need to determine what is causing the excessive licking. In most cases, this is due to itchiness. Though asking your vet will always give you a certain answer.
Once you are sure that itchiness is the cause, there are countless home remedies to stop dogs from licking paws. Here are some of our favourites.
Stop dogs from licking paws: Change their food
If you’re trying to understand ‘why is my dog licking his paws?’ the first cause is usually their food. They may have some mild allergies to their food. Most allergies do cause intestinal problems. But, like in humans, allergies come in many forms, which is why they may be itching instead.
If your dog has only started excessive licking, it could be due to eating their food for an extended period. This is because dogs develop allergies over time. So eating chicken consistently for years can cause them to eventually become allergic. Not to worry though. Dogs can only become allergic to the proteins in their food. So changing the main protein source will usually prevent allergies. Just be sure you read the ingredients. Some products may still include the allergen, even if it’s not the main ingredient.
Fungal wounds caused by dog constantly licking paws. Try Apple Cider Vinegar
You cannot always prevent your dog from licking its paws, especially if you aren’t always home. As mentioned above, once a wound forms, it will continue licking, which can cause further problems. After removing allergens from their diet, if you want to stop dogs from licking paws, you must treat these wounds.
A great alternative to healing wounds is apple cider vinegar. This anti-fungal liquid can remove any infection from your dog’s paws to ultimately treat wounds. To make it as effective as possible, dilute the vinegar at a 1:2 ratio with water. Soak your dog’s paws for about five minutes. Doing this twice daily will ensure the infection is resolved as soon as possible.
Inflammatory wounds caused by dog constantly licking paws. Try Baking Soda
After you stop your dog from licking paws, you may notice that its paws are red and inflamed. Baking soda is a great home remedy as it has anti-inflammatory properties. This can bring down redness and alleviate any irritations on the skin. Though, unlike apple cider vinegar, you need to soak their feet in baking soda for much longer. After you make a paste with baking soda, it will need to rest on its paws for an hour or so. Covering it with some dog boots can stop it from being licked or rubbed off.
Stop dogs from licking paws: Add fish oil to their diet
If you haven’t read our recent blog on the benefits of fish oil tablets, you can access it here. In this blog, we spoke about how great fish oil can be for your dog’s coat and skin. Therefore, if you notice they are having issues with wounds on their paws, fish oil is a great option. If you aren’t comfortable adding supplements to their diet, you can switch to food high in salmon. Even long after their wounds have healed, we recommend keeping fish oil in their diet. This can prevent a reoccurrence of dogs constantly licking paws.
Prevent dogs from licking their paws with a cleansing shampoo
Naturally, dirt, grime, clay and dust will make their way into your dog’s paws. If your dog already has wounds on its feet, this can make the irritation even worse. Washing your dog every four weeks is a must to keep its skin looking healthy. But, when they have wounds, you can wash their feet and legs more often to cleanse any dirt. This can protect their skin from becoming infected further.
Just remember that too much washing can dry out their skin. Using anti-bacterial dog wipes are a great alternative when they’ve had a bath recently but may have dirt in their infected paws.
Giving them booties to wear while they are healing means you won’t need to clean their skin as frequently. Just remember to focus on your dog to ensure they are comfortable with these shoes.
Why is my dog licking his paws? Fleas and ticks
Though most cases of licking are due to allergies, it can also occur due to ticks. This is why it’s vital that you visit your vet before you start any home remedies. Sometimes it can be easy to spot ticks and fleas, especially if it becomes an infestation. But, if there are only one to two fleas, they can be hard to find. Visiting a vet can ensure that even the smallest ticks and fleas are found.
This will save you from trying thousands of home remedies with no luck.
Still stuck? Ask DBBC about how to stop dogs from licking paws
If you are still unsure what to do, don’t forget that you can reach out to us at any time. We would be happy to recommend you to the right resources. This will ensure your dog can recover from itchy paws in no time.
Shyne Cavalli is an accomplished writer, Dog Breeder, and Animal welfare advocate. License and breeding registration holders: SUPPLY #: BIN0002583563378 – DBBC: D8819 – AA: 93740. She has introduced the “SHM” her brand of puppies and nurtured and cared for them since 2015. To learn more, visit her website at www.dogbreedersbrisbane.com.au. Interested in joining a Dog Breeders Club? Go to: www.dbbc.com.au