Dog licking seems like a harmless canine habit that only leads to dog paw prints all over your house and carpet. However, dog licking can be a sign of many things ranging from fungal infections to allergic reactions. The actual cause of dog licking can vary greatly depending on the dog’s licking behavior, the circumstances, and even the personality of the dog. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what causes dog licking because there are so many contributing factors. So, when it comes to dog licking, here are some of the top reasons why your dog licks and some helpful dog lick treatment tips.
There are many causes of dog licking paws. However, if the licking is continuous, their paws may be warm, swollen, developing sores or getting a duller color, then it’s time to visit the veterinarian, says veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Coon, DVM. Watch your dog for signs of any of these things so that you can address them appropriately. In dogs with allergies, a change in diet may help prevent further skin problems.
If you suspect that your dog has an allergy, look at his skin, ears, and feet to rule out infections or parasites. If you aren’t sure, consult your family veterinarian who will most likely give you a thorough exam to rule out anything more serious. Once you have ruled out allergies, you can try to stop dog from licking paws to see if it works. In many cases, stopping the habit works quickly to stop excessive licking.
Another possible reason for excessive dog paw licking is dry skin. When your dog’s paws are not properly hydrated they can easily develop painful sores or cracked skin. In dogs with dry skin, it’s important to make sure they always have plenty of water around. Along with plenty of water, you should also give your dog the proper nutrition they need to prevent dry skin. Talk to your vet about a complete moisturizing regimen for your dog.
Separation anxiety is another potential cause for this common habit. Dogs who are separated from their owners may chew on things to distract themselves. This habit is very common with male dogs that are neutered or spayed. However, female dogs can develop this habit as well. With boredom as the main trigger, try to keep your dog engaged in some type of physical activity with you so that they can stay occupied and not bored to tears.
Dog owners often mistake this for food allergies, but it’s actually a different problem. Food allergies are easier to treat because they manifest in hives or rashes at the site of contact with the allergen. These reactions usually clear up after a couple days on an anti-allergy medication. An itching sensation is very much like human contact dermatitis, which means that an oral treatment will probably be required.
A dog may scratch open wounds because it has picked up an infection or other problem that is present. This can also be a symptom of a more serious infection or ailment. The only way to tell for sure is to take your dog to the vet. Leaving a wound alone can lead to a serious bacterial or viral infection that will require antibiotics.
Dog owners should always strive to make their pets as comfortable as possible. The easiest way to do that is through a regular routine of brushing and bathing. If you have dry skin or itchy paws, you should consider using an ointment or cream that can soothe your dog. It’s always a good idea to stay vigilant about keeping your dog clean and comfortable, and to pay attention when they are exhibiting behavior that indicates they may be suffering from discomfort.