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?
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.