7 Reasons Why Dogs Lick Their Paws

7 Reasons Why Dogs Lick Their Paws

If you've ever owned a dog, or even spent time around a dog, you've probably seen them lick their paws. While dogs tend to be pretty clean animals, they do have an innate tendency to clean themselves after they poop (or pee). And while licking their paws isn't exactly the same as giving yourself a bath with soap and water, it's still an instinctual behavior for them—so no need for concern! But if your pooch has started licking his feet more than usual or does so excessively, then it could be a sign that something is wrong. Here are seven common reasons why dogs might start licking their paws:

They're bored.

Another common reason dogs lick their paws is boredom. When they're stuck in the house with nothing to play with, or when you leave them home alone for long periods of time, this can be a big problem. A bored dog may start licking her paws as a way to deal with frustration and anxiety—not only does it provide some relief from boredom but also provides comfort and reassurance that she's not alone.

If your dog is licking the walls or objects around him, then there's probably something missing in his life that he needs more of (toys? exercise?). But if your dog is only licking his feet while he's awake while laying down and relaxed, it could just be because he feels better doing so during those times—especially if he has arthritis or joint problems that cause him pain when standing up on all fours too long.

They're anxious.

If your dog is licking their paws, there's a good chance that they're trying to calm themselves down. It may be because of anxiety or frustration—or just general stress.

This behavior is an attempt at self-soothing, as well as a way to comfort themselves in times of stress. For example, if your dog feels anxious about being around strangers who come over to visit you at home, he may lick his paws out of nervousness. Dogs who are new to the household are also likely candidates for paw licking due to the unfamiliarity and change in environment.

They're stressed.

If your dog is licking his paws or pawing at his face, he may be feeling stressed or anxious. Dogs lick their paws because they've been taught that licking helps soothe them when they're in pain. It's also a way for them to relieve stress. To make it even more likely that your dog might lick his paws when he's stressed, try doing something new with him (like giving him a bath) or going somewhere new (like taking him on vacation). These changes can cause your pup to feel uneasy and out of sorts, which will lead him to lick himself in an attempt to calm down and feel better about the situation at hand

They have a cut or sore on their paw pad.

If your dog is licking their paws excessively and they have a cut or sore on the pad, it could be due to allergies. They might also lick the sore to ease pain. However, if you notice them licking their entire paw and not just one spot in particular, this could be a sign of diabetes.

If your dog is licking their paws excessively and there is no apparent reason for it (such as an injury), then make sure you take them to see a vet as soon as possible.

Their paws have become dry and cracked.

When dogs have dry, cracked paws, it can be caused by a lack of water. It's important to ensure your dog drinks plenty of water each day. If you notice he hasn't drank as much as usual, try increasing the amount of time that his bowl is filled. If this doesn't help, try adding some canned pumpkin to his food (about 1 tablespoon per cup). This will help him absorb more nutrients from his food and hopefully give him better skin health overall.

If your dog's feet are still dry and cracked after increasing their water intake, they may be licking too much which causes dehydration in the skin surrounding their paws. To prevent this problem from continuing long-term, try limiting how much they lick their paws or buy them a new toy that keeps them distracted while they play with it!

Your dog may be showing signs of separation anxiety if he's licking his paws right after you leave

  • Signs of separation anxiety

If your dog is licking his paws right after you leave, it could be a sign that he's experiencing separation anxiety. Separation anxiety in dogs is more common than people might realize and can be treated with the right approach. If you think your dog has separation anxiety, talk to a vet about how best to help him cope with being away from home and by himself.

There are a few reasons that your dog may be licking their paws, and most of them are pretty harmless unless they go untreated.

There are a few reasons that your dog may be licking their paws, and most of them are pretty harmless unless they go untreated. The most common reasons for paw licking are boredom, anxiety and stress. If you've noticed your dog constantly licking the pads of her feet or chewing on them, it could mean she is bored and needs more exercise or mental stimulation to keep her occupied. It could also mean that your home is too hot or cold and that your furry friend has been exposed to excessive moisture lately (hot tubs are not OK).

If you've ruled out these possibilities as causes for paw-licking behavior in your pup, it's time to visit the vet! The vet will examine the paws and may recommend a topical cream or medication


Hopefully, this article has given you a few more tools to help you decipher your dog’s paw licking behavior. If you notice any of the behaviors above, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before treating your dog yourself.