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Dog licking paws: Possible causes & home remedies

Licking, nibbling, gnawing - if your four-legged friend licks his paws from time to time, this is quite normal. However, in this guide we explain which signs you should take a closer look at or even visit the vet. We also have tips with simple home remedies for you. From now on, sore paws are a thing of the past!

Dog licks paws - what could be behind it?

If your dog licks his paws with his tongue, there is no reason to worry. We humans also get itchy hands, legs or feet and have to scratch them. Our four-legged friends often have to use their tongue and teeth for this. The saliva has a calming effect and soothes the itch. However, if your furry friend keeps licking his paws and they are already sore or red, you should get to the bottom of it.

The most common reasons for paw licking

A dog in the snow licking its paws

Why furry noses lick or nibble at paws can have different reasons - from a brief itch, to foreign bodies or other injuries, to psychological causes. We give you an overview of the most common reasons.

Foreign body

Does your dog lick his paws incessantly and perhaps have problems stepping or even limp? Then it could be that your furry friend has a foreign body in his little foot. This can be tiny stones or broken glass, but also certain grasses can get stuck in your pet's paws in summer and cause nasty itching.

Ticks

During the summer months, bloodsucking pests like to help themselves to your four-legged friend. In addition to all other parts of the body, ticks can also attach themselves to the paws of your furry friend. Check regularly to see if your four-legged friend has an uninvited tick, especially if you have been running around in meadows and fields. To prevent your dog from getting ticks, here are some tips for tick prevention.

Allergies - pollen, cleaning agents, road salt

Hats off! Our four-legged friends can also have different allergies. For example, your dog may be allergic to pollen and grass. Typical signs are red eyes, a runny nose and itchy paws. Cleaning agents, for example for the floor or laundry, can also cause allergic reactions in your pet. In winter, road salt on the roads can cause additional irritation. You can read about what to look out for if you suspect allergies here

Injuries - broken claws, inflammation, burns

Inflammation of the skin between the toes or a broken claw can also cause your dog to lick his paws. Such injuries can be very painful for your dog and are usually treated with wound ointments or antibiotics. If you have such a suspicion, you should go to the vet as soon as possible. Have you been walking on asphalt in hot weather? If so, your dog may have burnt its paws. 

Too long claws

If your dog's claws are too long, there will be unpleasant pressure in the paws. Dogs often indicate that it's time for a paw trim by nibbling at the claws and licking the "cuticles".

Fur felt

The hair between your pet's paw pads can become matted and develop into a small ball of hair. This then presses and scrubs between the paws. This is super uncomfortable for your dog. If he has long fur, this can happen quickly - regular paw care is the key. 

Mites, fungi, parasites

Tiny uninvited guests in textiles or your dog's fur can also make your furry nose itch. Signs of this are frequent scratching, rashes or bald patches. If you suspect a fungal infection or parasites such as fleas or mites, you should take your pet to the vet. Not least because of the annoying itching: some parasites can not only be transmitted to other dogs, but also to humans.

Dry skin

Our four-legged friends can also have dry skin and need moisturising care. To stop dry skin itching, you can use a skin care spray for your pelt.

Boredom or stress

In addition to foreign objects or injuries, there may also be psychological reasons for your dog to lick his paws until they become sore. Does your dog lick his paws more when you're out and about or when things get stressful? Does he lick his paws when he is alone?

Dog sore paws - tips for prevention

A sore paw is held in hands

To prevent your dog's paws from getting sore in the first place, here are a few preventative measures you can easily implement:

  • Examine and wash paws: Especially after a walk, you should check for small foreign objects in the paws. Check and wash your dog's paws after a walk to prevent allergies and remove dust and small stones immediately.
  • Claw care: With larger dogs, the claws usually wear down without any intervention during a walk. However, if you mainly walk on soft ground, or if your dog is a rather small specimen, you should shorten the claws regularly. At the same time, you can also remove the fur between the paws. Always check whether small cracks form or the paw pads look rough or inflamed.
  • Wash dog cushions and blankets: To prevent dust or uninvited guests from collecting in the long term, you should regularly wash the cuddle blanket and cushions that your four-legged friend loves so much. This also applies to cuddly toys and toys made of fabric. Make sure that the detergent is fragrance-neutral, or wash preferably hot but without soap.

Sore dog paws - home remedies that help

Dog licking paws: Popular home remedies for paw care

If your four-legged friend's paws are already strained, we have a few tips for home remedies. However, if your paws are bleeding, reddened or ulcerated, it's better to go to the doctor than to do it yourself!

  • Camomile tea: Camomile tea is a real miracle weapon and not only helps if your pet suffers from a tummy ache. Camomile has an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect and is therefore also great for sore paws. Rub a little cooled chamomile tea on your four-legged friend's paws. Or put the paws in a tub with camomile tea. Make sure that the tea has cooled down sufficiently.
  • Coconut oil: If the paws are already a bit chapped, you can also rub coconut oil into the sore spots. In winter, the oil forms a protective layer before going for a walk so that the road salt cannot penetrate the paws in the first place.
  • Be careful with Vaseline: The greasy ointment helps with inflamed paws, but there is a risk that your dog will lick the ointment and eat it. Therefore, make sure that ointments with Vaseline also contain bitter substances that prevent licking. Otherwise, you should put dog socks on the paws so that your dog cannot lick off the ointment. 

Paw licking - do I need to go to the vet?

A vet tends to a dog's sore paws

If your furry friend licks his paws every now and then, that's not a problem. But pay attention to how often they lick and whether you notice any other peculiarities. Especially if you suspect an injury, allergies or parasites, you should visit the vet. This also applies especially if the paws are already inflamed, bleeding or your dog can no longer walk.

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