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Why your dog is licking his paws and how you can help

Dog licks paws

Occasional paw licking is normal for dogs as a part of their self-grooming process. You may see your dog lick their paws when they come inside after walking on dirty or sandy ground. But if your dog frequently and intensely licks their paws, this can be a sign that something is wrong. 

Why do dogs lick their paws, and when should you be concerned? How can CBD + CBDA help address paw licking? 

Table of contents 

Why do dogs lick their paws? 

There are many reasons why your dog may lick their paws aside from a quick post-walk grooming session. 

  • Injury – Your dog may suddenly start licking one of their paws due to an injury in that area, according to the Pet Health Network. They may have stepped on a piece of glass or broken their toenail. Animal bites or insect stings can also cause discomfort, as well as paw pad burns from walking on hot pavement. If you notice your dog incessantly licking and limping or whining, they may be injured.  It is important to examine between their toes and pads for redness, foreign objects, or signs of injury or irritation. 
  • Skin irritation or infection – Paw licking can be a sign of itchiness related to skin issues. Experts from VetHelpDirect note that irritation and itching can occur as the result of environmental or food sensitivities, as well as infections from bacteria, yeast, or parasites. These irritations and infections can lead to inflammation and itching, so your dog licks, bites, and chews to seek relief. Keeping a bowl of water and a towel near the door to gently clean off your dog’s paws when you come inside can help prevent irritants and bacteria from building up and causing skin issues. Be sure to thoroughly dry your dog’s paws, however, as moisture can cause further irritation. 
  • Joint discomfort – As your dog’s joint cartilage wears down due to age, injury, or an underlying issue, their bones start rubbing together. Just like people might massage an aching joint, a dog might lick their paws to seek relief from joint discomfort. Your dog may also stop playing with their favorite toys or hesitate before climbing the stairs or hopping into the car. As joint cartilage deteriorates, worsening inflammation can cause discomfort and decreased mobility, significantly reducing your dog’s quality of life.  
  • Stress – Incessantly repeated behaviors like paw licking, over-grooming, barking at shadows, and tail chasing can be rooted in stress. Similar to a human nervously biting their fingernails, your dog may lick their paws to self-soothe when left alone or riding in the car. Take note of when your dog licks their paws to see if you can identify any stress triggers. 

When should you take your dog to the vet? 

It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to the health of your pet. If you notice your dog licking their paws more than usual, you should consult your veterinarian. 

Unfortunately, persistent licking, biting, and chewing of the paws can cause secondary problems to develop. Excessive and constant moisture from your dog’s saliva can lead to bacterial infections like hot spots, which make skin inflammation and itchiness even worse. As your dog keeps itching and licking their paws, they will likely become even more uncomfortable. 

How can you get your dog to stop licking their paws? 

Your veterinarian can help address underlying issues if your dog is injured, has an infection, or is experiencing discomfort or stress. However, your dog’s itching and paw licking are unlikely to stop overnight. To get them to stop licking, you may need to consider: 

  • Redirect away from licking – We all know how hard it can be to not scratch when you have an itch. You may need to redirect your dog or keep them distracted so they don’t continue to lick their paws and cause further irritation. Puzzle and chew toys, snuffle mats, and Kongs stuffed with treats and hid around the house are all great ways to keep your dog busy and distracted. 
  • Deter licking – You may need to discourage your dog from licking their paws by making the experience unpleasant or impossible. Consider applying a bitter-tasting optical product that is pet safe to their paws. E-collars can also be very effective in preventing dogs from licking areas they aren’t supposed to. Ask your veterinarian if booties or socks would help deter licking. 

How can ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA help address paw licking? 

ElleVet Products

CBD + CBDA is a safe and effective option for addressing itching in dogs by working to improve discomfort and reduce inflammation. ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA modulates dogs’ inflammatory response and perception of discomfort, which helps eliminate their urge to lick. 

ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA chews, soft gels, and oils can also offer support for dogs’ generalized stress by helping their stress levels decrease and return to a normal state of balance. CBD + CBDA truly calms without sedating, which is key to allowing dogs to handle stressful situations without engaging in obsessive behaviors like paw licking.    

Bottom line on paw licking 

While occasional paw licking is a normal form of self-grooming for dogs, excessive licking can be a sign that something is wrong. Whether your dog is suffering from an injury or an infection, or experiencing joint discomfort or stress, addressing these issues will help avoid secondary and more serious physical harm that can result from paw licking. 

Consult your veterinarian if your dog is excessively licking their paws. For any questions about ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA products or how CBD can help your canine friend live their best life, give us a call (844-673-7287) or send us an email ([email protected]). We are here to help. 

Any health or medical information in ElleVet blogs is from a variety of public and reputable sources. This information is intended as an educational resource only and is not a substitute for expert professional care.