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How To Stop Dog From Licking Paws – Break The Habit! (Top Causes & Easy Solutions)

How To Stop Dog From Licking Paws – Break The Habit! (Top Causes & Easy Solutions)

Dogs lick. This is no revelation for any dedicated dog parent. Dogs lick when they love on us. Dogs lick when they bathe themselves. Dogs lick; it’s what they do. While it’s true that licking is a fairly normal behavior for all dogs, there are circumstances where licking should be worrisome. 

If your dog suddenly begins paw licking or chewing his itchy paws, or if the licking and/or chewing seems to be chronic, you have cause for concern–and likely, the desire to stop the habit. It’s no wonder that “how to stop dog from licking paws” is a highly searched predicament on the Internet.

Be sure to take a look at Scout’s pick below for deterring your dog from chewing, the Grannicks Bitter Apple solution!

How can I Tell if My Dog’s Licking or Chewing is a Problem?

If you’re one of the many people who arrived here by searching for that keyword phrase, you’re likely already experiencing a problem. As dogs do paw licking so often, it can be difficult to determine whether your dog’s licking or chewing of his paws is normal or problematic. If you notice any of the signs described below, it might be time to talk to your vet about your dog’s licking or chewing.

Talk to your vet if:

  • you notice your dog’s paws are stained a red or pink color. This discoloration will be more evident in dogs with lighter coats and can be a sign that the porphyrin pigments contained in your dog’s saliva are coming in contact with your dog’s feet often enough (too often!) to stain the fur. While normal licking will not be frequent enough to discolor the fur, habitual licking or chewing can be.
  • your dog’s feet are swollen. This could be a sign of injury or infection, which may be caused by habitual licking or chewing. Conversely, your dog could be doing the irritating paw licking or chewing his paws in response to an injury or infection. This could be anything minor like dry skin or a skin irritation related to allergies or something more serious like a bacterial infection. Talk to your vet to determine whether the former or the latter is the case, as well as to address the issue.
  • your dog’s paws smell foul. This could be a sign of an infection in an open wound.
  • your dog is limping. If your dog is showing signs of discomfort, there’s a serious problem. Watch your dog’s body language.
  • you notice blood or scabs on your dog’s paws. Open wounds, scabs or other signs of skin irritation could be indicative of a serious problem. 
  • redness or irritation is evident on your dog’s paws. Again, this could be something as simple as mild skin irritation or an allergic skin disease reaction to a food allergy.

One or any combination of the above signs and symptoms are reasons to talk to your veterinarian.

Why is My Dog Licking or Chewing his Paws?

There are many reasons dogs develop the habit of paw licking or chew their paws. Sometimes, you may notice the licking or chewing start suddenly. Fido is placidly lying on the couch and then, without warning or provocation, whips his head up and begins paw licking or gnawing on his paws, a behavior you have rarely noticed in him before–but that seems to be becoming more frequent. Or perhaps you’re out for a walk and Rufus suddenly sits down and starts chewing his toes. If your dog suddenly starts licking his paws or has recently begin licking them more often than before, there are several potential causes.

Sudden Licking and Chewing

If you are out for a stroll with Sadie when she suddenly starts licking or chewing her paws, there are several possible reasons to rule out. She may have:

  • Stepped on something that injured her paw, such as a nail or tack that could cause a puncture wound. Any foreign bodies will need to be removed to prevent infection or further injury.
  • An allergic reaction. A dog licking its paws can be a sign of an allergic reaction. This is a common occurrence if you start a new dog food that your pooch isn’t responding well to. Be sure to consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.
  • Made a misstep and strained, sprained, or fractured her feet, leg, ankle, etc.
  • Burned her paw pads that’s why she’s getting to the habit of paw licking.
  • Developed corn on her paw pads.
  • Foreign bodies stuck between her toes, such as a stone or a tick.
  • A burr in her paw pads.

Other potential reasons for the sudden onset of paw licking or chewing include:

  • A cyst
  • A tumor or cancer
  • Allergies
  • Diseases
  • Flea bites

Chronic Licking and Chewing

If your dog has developed a seeming habit of licking or chewing over an extended period of time, there are many reasons–some physical, some behavioral, some endemic to his personality–that could be the cause. 

As with sudden chewing, skin irritation or food allergies could be the culprit for chronic chewing or paw licking. Dry skin is another condition that commonly causes dogs to lick or chew their paws.

Some other reasons for chronic chewing include:

  • Your dog simply enjoys it.
  • Your dog has formed a habit.
  • Your dog is suffering from some form of obsession.
  • Your dog is battling boredom.
  • Your dog is anxious. This could be caused by an event or separation anxiety, which a lot of dogs experience.

In many of the above cases, you can compare Rover’s paw licking or chewing to biting your own fingernails when you feel nervous or are experiencing boredom, or simply without even realizing it.

Why Should I Stop this Behavior?

Even if your dog simply enjoys licking and chewing his paws, and there are no insidious reasons for him to be doing so, you still might want to consider stopping the habit. Your dog licking his paws excessively and chewing his paws can lead to your dog suffering from skin irritation, pain, inflammation, open wounds, hot spots, yeast, or bacterial infection. While it might not be a problem now, stopping habitual licking and chewing before it becomes an issue is wise pet parenting.

How can I Stop this behavior?

Identifying the underlying cause of the licking can help you determine how best to curb it. For example, if your dog is suffering from a yeast infection between his toes, an anti-fungal medication might be the cure. If your dog has a bacterial infection, antibiotics would be the antidote. In the case of skin conditions, a prescription shampoo might be the route you take. If inflammation is a problem, short-term steroids can help. A special diet of prescription food can help solve the problem if the cause is a food allergy.

In the case that Fido merely enjoys chewing his toes, topical sprays such as bitter apple might deter him from his digits. If that fails, make sure you try a cone or collar that prevents him from chewing his toes. If you find he is experiencing boredom or separation anxiety, a fix as easy as taking him for more frequent or longer walks, teaching him to play with toys instead of chewing his feet, or purchasing stimulating play and training materials can all help.

Our Pick
Grannicks Bitter Apple Taste Deterrent for Dogs | Amazon
$12.15 ($1.52 / Ounce)

Grannicks bitter apple 8oz, chewing deterrent spray, anti-chew behavior training aid for dogs and cats, helps stop the destructive chewing licking of bandages, paws, shoes, doors furniture.

Buy at
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
03/11/2024 09:59 am GMT

Natural Solutions You Can Try Now

If you’re trying to offer some relief while you wait for your Grannick’s Bitter Apple Solution to arrive, there are a few things you can try. 

  • Flea treatment – if you’ve determined that your dog has fleas, use a flea treatment to get rid of them as soon as possible. If fleas are the main cause of your dog’s skin irritation, getting rid of them should correct the issue quickly.
  • Apple cider vinegar – you can probably guess the ingredients in Grannick’s. For a DIY approach, consider using apple cider vinegar to deter your dog from chewing or paw licking. Warning: do not try this if they have open wounds as it will hurt!
  • Baking soda bath – bathe your dog’s feet in warm water and baking soda to help soothe their feet. A period of time spent with their paws soaking in a mixture of warm water and baking soda will help curb itching and discomfort, which will positively affect your dog’s behavior.
  • Coconut oil – rubbing coconut oil on your dog’s poor paws will help soothe them while applying antifungal and antibacterial elements. Not only will this have a positive impact when curbing their itching, but it’s a natural helper in combating a yeast infection or bacterial infection (though you’ll still want to use your vet-recommended medication to be safe!)
  • Look at your dog food – evaluate your dog’s diet and consider the fact that they might be suffering from food allergies. You’ll want to look for a high-quality dog food that is free of allergens and has plenty of fatty acids, as it has many benefits for dry skin. Talk to your veterinarian about changing your dog’s diet in a subtle, safe way. 

Product recommendations

Zesty Paws Anti-Itch Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

One of the reasons your dog may be licking their paws is because they are itchy! If this is the case, a good anti-itch shampoo is the way to go, like the Zesty Paws Anti-Itch Oatmeal Dog Shampoo. It is formulated with oatmeal which has been shown to help reduce itchiness. It also includes Vitamin E and aloe vera to aid in the overall health of your pooches skin and coat. 

This shampoo is suitable for all dog breeds with various types of coats, so you don’t have to worry about searching around for a specialist shampoo. This product has had hundreds of positive reviews already and it won’t break the bank, so give it a try and see if it can help your pup reduce the level of paw licking going on.

We hope this post helped answer your questions about stopping your dog from paw licking or chewing its paws!

Natural Dog Company Paw Soother Stick

Natural Dog Company Paw Soother Stick | Amazon

Your furry friend deserves only organic, chemical-free ingredients on their paws. We use coconut oil, chamomile, mango butter, and cocoa butter so your dog gets 100% natural paw care.

Buy at
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
03/11/2024 06:01 am GMT

The Natural Dog Company Paw Soother Stick will moisturize, soothe, heal and soften your dog’s paw pads. One of the reasons dogs lick their paws is because they are dry or painful and this Soother Stick aims to put a stop to it all. Made with plant-based ingredients such as mango butter, rice bran oil, sunflower oil, carnauba wax, and vitamin E, this stick is packed with all the goodness your pooch’s paws need to heal and stop being irritating. 

This small and compact product is ideal for on-the-go, so your pup can have soothed and moisturized paw pads wherever you are! If you don’t believe us, trust the almost 30,000 customer reviews this product has received! 

Rachael Ray Nutrish Burger Bites

Sometimes, your pup is licking their paws just because they’re bored! Try taking them for more walks, play with them more or distract them with some delicious treats like the Rachael Ray Burger Bites! Don’t give your dog a treat whilst they’re licking their paws because this will send the wrong message! Wait for them to naturally stop and pay you the attention and then reward them. Or use the treat as a distraction but wait and make your dog do some tricks first to earn the reward. That way you’re not rewarding them for licking their paws, you’re rewarding them for stopping and performing some tricks. 

These treats are a fan favorite with almost every dog thanks to the #1 ingredient, farm-raised beef! It’s grain-free and also comes packed with chickpeas, potatoes, and even a slight hint of rosemary. Your furbaby is getting the royal treatment here! Your dog won’t be able to resist the smoky, freshly grilled burger flavor and no doubt, they’ll forget all about their paws!

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