Dog paw licking can become a serious problem, or it could be a sign of something not right with your dog. Of course, always consult with your vet if the problem persists or is affecting the dog’s well being in anyway. Dogs lick their paws for a variety of reasons. My dog happens to lick his paws in an effort to keep them clean after he scratches himself. Looking at his red feet, you would think he had a serious problem, but he doesn’t. My groomer informed me that the acid in a dog’s saliva causes the fur to turn pink. So just because your dog has red fur on its paws, don’t automatically assume there is something going on. Inspect the paws and monitor the behavior. Paw licking is usually triggered by some sort of event, though. Let’s look a few common triggers in paw licking.
Probably one of the most common sources of paw licking is food allergies. Dog food is usually a common source to everything allergy related in dogs. Most dog foods contain corn, wheat and other grains that tend to cause severe allergic reactions in dogs. On top of that, the meat products that go into the dog foods that cause allergies are from animals that are pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones. So, the same meats we try to avoid as humans are the same meats going into most of the low grade dog foods out there. In order to avoid food allergies that might be causing your dog to lick its paws incessantly, you need to feed it a higher grade food such as Wellness. Of course, Wellness is not the only option, but using it as an example, foods such as these do not have the grains and corn in the food that dogs are allergic too, and all of their meat products are organic. Yes, you will pay more for the food, but you will save on vet bills and provide your dog much needed comfort in the end.
Yeast infections can also cause troublesome licking. In the case of yeast infections, you have a vicious cycle because yeast likes warm moist places. When the dog continues to lick the area that has a yeast infection, the problem only gets worse because the yeast is experiencing the warm moisture that it loves so much.
Emotional problems and boredom are another common trigger. When dogs experience a traumatic event, this can lead them to comfort themselves by licking their paws.
Other common triggers include flea and mite bite reactions, dermatitis, an infected wound, and abnormal cell growths.
The first place you can start is with a visit to the vet for some blood work. A couple of blood tests can easily determine if there is some sort of allergy happening to cause the licking. The vet will probably also take some samples of the skin cells to determine if there is a fungus or yeast infection causing the problem. The treatment will depend on the underlying cause, but can include medications or diet changes.
If it is stress that is causing the dog to obsessively lick its paws, you will need to determine the source of the stress and then reduce that stress as much as possible. If its boredom causing the stress, you may have to find ways to keep the dog entertained and busy. However, dogs who have suffered an emotional trauma may need special treatments.