Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws: Understanding the Causes

Dogs are known for their curious and often quirky behaviours, one of which is licking their paws. While it may seem harmless, excessive paw licking and chewing can be a sign of an underlying health issue in dogs. In this post, we will explore the causes of why dogs lick their paws and what you can do to help your furry friend.

Causes of Paw Licking and Chewing in Dogs


Allergies are a common reason why dogs lick their paws. Environmental allergens like pollen, dust mites, and mould can cause skin irritation, leading to itchiness and discomfort. Dogs may lick and chew their paws as a way to alleviate the itch, but this can worsen the irritation and even cause infections.
Food allergies can also cause paw licking and chewing. Certain ingredients in dog food, like wheat or chicken, can trigger an allergic reaction in some dogs, leading to skin problems and digestive issues. If you suspect that your dog may have a food allergy, consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action.

Anxiety and Boredom

In some cases, paw licking and chewing can be a sign of anxiety or boredom. Dogs may resort to repetitive behaviours like licking their paws as a way to cope with stress or boredom. Providing your dog with plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction can help prevent these behaviours.

dogs lick their paws

Underlying Health Issues

It's important to note that excessive paw licking and chewing can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. Constant licking and chewing can cause open

wounds and infections, which can be painful and difficult to treat. Skin irritation and infections can also be caused by underlying health issues, such as hypothyroidism, Cushing's disease, and autoimmune disorders.

What to Do if Your Dog is Licking Their Paws

If you notice that your dog is excessively licking or chewing their paws, it's important to seek veterinary care to identify the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan. Your veterinarian may recommend a change in diet, medication to manage allergies or anxiety, or other treatments depending on the underlying cause.

In conclusion, while paw licking and chewing may seem like harmless behaviours, they can be indicators of underlying health issues in dogs. Allergies, anxiety, and boredom are common reasons why dogs may lick and chew their paws, and it's important to seek veterinary care if you notice any unusual or excessive paw licking and chewing in your dog. By taking care of our dogs' health, we can ensure that they lead happy and comfortable lives.