The constant "slurp, slurp, slurp" sound of your dog licking his paws may be annoying, but it's also a sign that something may be bothering your furry baby. It could be something physical, such as a sticker stuck between his toes, or something emotional, such as feeling lonely and bored.
Figuring out why your dog is licking his paws helps in choosing the right remedy. A common cause is allergies. Your dog can be allergic to pollen, grass, cleaning solutions and food. Pests including mites and fleas can cause his paws to itch. For some dogs, boredom triggers paw licking. Cuts, scrapes and foreign objects can also cause pain and irritation.
Before trying any remedy, give your dog's paws a good look. Check for cuts or scrapes, stickers, slivers of glass or other foreign objects. Matted hair between the toes can irritate your dog. Don't forget to pull back the fur and look into the hollow spot at the base of his toes. It's easy for stickers to get lodged there, and it's a favorite hiding place for ticks.
A daily paw cleansing can remove allergens from your dog's paws. Fill a small container with a few inches of lukewarm water and add enough povidone-iodine to make it look like fresh-brewed iced tea. Dip each paw in the solution for two to five minutes. Wipe his feet dry with an old towel and he's all done. Do this once a day.
If you suspect your dog is licking his feet out of boredom, try distracting him. Give him a toy, treat or lots of attention whenever he starts licking. Make sure he's getting plenty of exercise. Interactive toys for times when he's alone serve as a good distraction; toys filled with treats that require a lot of work for him to reach the treat are ideal.
Sometimes a good ointment is just what your dog needs, especially if the pads on his paws are dry and cracked or there's a cut or abrasion. A triple-antibiotic ointment is a good choice. Put bandaging over the ointment and distract your dog so he won't be tempted to rip off the bandage.
Food allergies can show up as skin irritation, and low-quality diets can leave your buddy with dry, itchy skin, which can also cause licking around his paws. It can be hard to pinpoint a food allergy and usually requires help from a vet. If you suspect food might be giving your dog problems, transition him to a high-quality diet that doesn't contain common allergens such as wheat, corn, soy or chicken.
Fleas, ticks and mites can make your dog itch like crazy. Usually he will itch everywhere, and not just on his feet, but an infestation can cause excessive foot licking. Treat your dog with a flea bath, dip, powder or a spot-on solution. Be sure and treat his bedding and living area as well, so he doesn't get re-infested after the treatment.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.