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Why does my dog lick its paws?

Have you ever noticed your dog licking its paws? It may seem like a strange behavior, but it is actually quite common among canines. There are several reasons why a dog may lick its paws, ranging from medical issues to simply seeking comfort. To make the behavior even more tricky to understand, dogs naturally lick their paws for no reason at all sometimes!

That being said, unusually excessive licking may have an underlying cause. There can be a combination of several reasons that lead dogs to lick or chew their paws. These include injuries; skin problems; environmental, parasite, or food allergies; and boredom or anxiety.

One of the most common reasons why a dog may lick its paws, and what we want to rule out first, is due to an underlying medical condition. Allergies, skin irritations, and even infections can cause a dog to lick its paws in an attempt to soothe the area.

Another reason why a dog may lick its paws is for comfort. Dogs may lick their paws when they are feeling anxious or stressed. It is a way for them to self-soothe and relax. If your dog is licking its paws excessively, it is important to make sure it is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation.

If your dog frequently licks the same paw, they could be in pain or have an injury or infection. Here’s a few other things it could be.

  1. Grooming - a normal activity or self grooming habit

  2. Pain, aches or discomfort whether in the paw or elsewhere in the body

  3. Paw injury or illness

  4. Skin conditions, dry skin, skin irritation and infections

  5. Boredom, obsessive or anxious behavior

  6. Stress, anxiety such as separation anxiety or generalized anxiety

  7. Allergic reaction: food allergies, environmental allergies, flea allergies, or parasites

  8. Self soothing

In conclusion, there are many reasons why a dog may lick its paws. From medical issues to seeking comfort, it is important to pay attention to your dog’s behavior in order to determine the cause. If you are concerned about your dog’s paw licking and can’t find a clear reason for it, it is best to take it to the vet for a checkup. It's always the safest bet to call your vet to make sure there is not an underlying medical issue.

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