Finding your dog licking his paws all the time can be very annoying as well as frustrating. Now just imagine what your dog may be going through.
Well, paw licking is a common problem that many pet owners have to deal with.
If your dog is persistently licking his paws, it clearly indicates that something is really bothering your furry friend. There can be several reasons as to why your pet is suddenly licking his paws.
One common cause is allergies, which means your pet may be allergic to pollen, grass, cleaning solutions or food that can cause intense itching on the paws. Other causes include mites, fleas, dry skin, cuts, scrapes or some kind of foreign object stuck in the paw. Arthritis pain or hormonal imbalances can also cause this behavior.
Sometimes, dogs even lick their paws due to boredom or anxiety.
Figuring out the cause of this problem can help you work toward a solution. So, give your dog’s paws a good look to see what might be going on.
Here are the top 10 remedies to prevent dogs from licking their paws.
1. Paw Soak
Your dog’s paws are like soft pads that can easily pick up all kinds of allergens, chemicals and other pollutants. Like humans, you cannot make your pet wear shoes and socks, so it becomes more important to wash his paws daily.
A foot soak can help get rid of pesticides, herbicides, ragweed, grass, pollens, molds, dust mites and other pollutants from your dog’s paws.
- Pour enough lukewarm water into a small tub to cover your dog’s paws.
- Add some povidone iodine (readily available from your vet) to the water, so that color of the water changes to that of iced tea.
- Put your pet’s paws in this solution, one at a time for 2 to 5 minutes.
- When you lift your dog’s foot out of the water, pat the paw dry. There is no need to rinse the solution off your dog’s feet.
- Do it once daily before your dog is ready for bed.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps deal with any kind of infection in your dog’s paws. Due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can fight the cause of the problem as well as provide relief from the discomfort.
It is also very beneficial at relieving arthritis pain that can cause paw licking.
- Mix 2 parts water and 1 part raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a large bowl.
- Soak your pet’s paws in it for up to 5 minutes.
- Don’t rinse it off, but thoroughly dry your dog’s paws after soaking.
- Repeat once or twice daily as needed until your dog stops licking his paws.
3. Vitamin E
If your dog is licking his paws due to dry skin, vitamin E is very helpful.
Vitamin E is a good moisturizer and can help prevent or treat dry skin, which in turn will put an end to your dog licking his paws.
- Break open a few vitamin E capsules and extract the oil.
- Rub the oil directly on your dog’s paws and massage for a minute, so that it gets fully absorbed.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times a day until you get satisfactory results.
4. Coconut Oil
Another good remedy for dry paws is coconut oil.
The high fat content in coconut oil helps keep the paws moisturized and also reduces itchiness and skin irritation.
- Mix 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil and 2 drops of oil of oregano.
- Apply a small amount on the paws.
- Massage it for 1 minute. You don’t need to rinse it off.
- Do it twice daily.
At times, due to excessive licking, the paws and surrounding skin become damaged. Also, the licking can make the skin dry and itchy. In such a scenario, honey is very effective.
Honey makes a great moisturizer for dry skin. It also promotes wound-healing and fights infection.
- After a foot soak, pat dry the paws thoroughly.
- Apply a generous amount of honey, preferably manuka honey on your dog’s paws.
- Cover the paws with gauze and secure it in place with adhesive tape.
- Leave it on overnight.
- Remove the gauze the next morning.
- Do it once a day until the paws are healed.
6. Address Food Allergies
Food allergies in pets often appear in the form of skin irritation, thus leading to excessive paw licking. Feed a high-quality pet food to your dog with adequate vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
Also, check if your dog is sensitive to common allergens such as corn, soy, wheat and chicken. If so, avoid these in your dog’s food.
Don’t be tempted to feed greasy table scraps to your furry friend; his body may be sensitive to such foods. Plus, cut down on your dog’s carbohydrate intake (grains, fillers, processed food, etc.), which disrupts their body’s pH level.
Turmeric is very effective if your pet is licking his paws due to arthritic pain, a cut or minor wound.
Being an anti-inflammatory spice, it also fights infection.
- Mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little coconut or olive oil to make a paste. Apply it on your pet’s paws, cover them with a bandage and leave it on overnight. Do it once daily.
- Another option is to add turmeric to your pet’s diet. For the correct dosage, consult your vet.
Neem, also known as Indian lilac, is a natural antiseptic that can help fight any kind of infection in the paws. Also, it helps reduce itchiness and irritation.
- Thoroughly wash a handful of neem leaves. Boil the leaves in a pan of water for 10 minutes. Allow the water to cool, strain and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on your dog’s paws and allow it to dry. Repeat once daily.
- Alternatively, mix a few drops of pure neem oil in 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil. Apply it on your dog’s paws for 30 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day.
It is highly possible that your dog will become bored from time to time. If you suspect your dog is licking his feet out of boredom, try distracting him.
You can distract your pet by giving him a toy, treat or lots of attention whenever he starts licking.
Also, ensure that you spend enough time with your pet so that he does not get bored. Playing with your pet is a must. It will help build trust between you and your dog, and also make him feel secure.
10. Eliminate Parasites
Infestation with fleas, ticks or mites can also cause your beloved pet to excessively scratch their body and lick their paws. Keep checking your dog for any parasitic infestation and take steps to eliminate it.
- Add some mild dish soap to your pet’s warm bath water. Soak your pet in this bath water for 10 minutes, then rinse your pet. Repeat a few times a week for a couple of weeks.
- You can also spray a solution of equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water on your pets coat and paws daily until the itching stops.
- Be sure to launder your pet’s bedding, vacuum the carpeting, and treat his living area with a disinfectant to get rid of the infestation.
- Feed your dog a natural, wholesome diet that is free of artificial flavors and colors, with supplements added to boost his immunity.
- If your dog licks his paws due to arthritic pain, make walking a part of your dog’s routine. Regular exercise can also stimulate the dog’s brain, release a lot of pent-up energy and keep the dog happy.
- Licking due to a skin irritation can be prevented by adding omega-3 fatty acids to your dog’s diet. Fatty acids help fight dry skin, and stop itching and other irritations.
- Prevent your dog from accessing any area of your home that may have allergens, such as garden areas or your laundry room.
- Bathe your dog with a shampoo made specifically for dogs. You can try one made with oatmeal for softer, less irritated skin.