Reasons Why Your Dog Is Licking Its Paws Obsessively

by on 03/06/11 at 11:10 am

We all have habits that are difficult to break. Whether it is biting our nails or smoking or fidgeting, we know there are ways we can control these actions. With pets, however, you may think that’s another matter entirely. If one day you notice your dog is licking his paws, your first instinct is perhaps that is a normal reaction to something. If you find after several days the licking has not ceased, however, there could be cause for concern. First, it’s important to narrow down the reason for this behavior.

Why does your dog lick his paws to the point he starts to lose fur? There could be a number of reasons, and the following may not immediately apply to your pet. If you are unable to get to a veterinarian in a timely manner, consider the following possibilities and see what can be done to determine the true cause:

  • Your dog may be experiencing pain in his paws and joints. If your pet is on in years, he could be affected by joint irritations or arthritis that make it difficult to move around. Licking could be one way of relieving the pain, if only temporarily.
  • Your dog may have an undetected allergy. If this is happening during the spring, it could be an issue of pollen, or if your dog walks in an area treated by pesticides he could experience a reaction to the chemicals. Take care to notice your dog’s behavior when he goes outside for a run.
  • A less serious reason: there may be something stuck in there! Just as we find a pebble in our shoe annoying, if one gets lodged in a paw it could mean a lot of hurt for your four-footed friend. If you suspect this, do a careful inspection of the paw.
  • Lastly, a dog may lick his paws for the same reason we bite our nails…it’s a habit that needs to stop. Some dog owners and veterinarians may suggest a product that is safe for dogs yet very unpleasant to taste. Place it where the dog licks, and hopefully you can discourage the habit.

As for problems that can’t readily be solved by this or inspecting your dog’s paws, seeking the assistance of your veterinarian is important. From there you can determine if an allergy is involved and if medication is needed to help your dog feel better and break the bad habit.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on dog supplies and dog supplies.

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