The more things you can do to help your dog’s skin feel better, the less he will lick his paws.
Although we advise clients to first obtain a veterinary examination before undertaking a behavioral solution, the majority of cases where a dog’s licking or chewing behavior is localized to the paws are primarily psychogenic in origin. Nevertheless, even when the origin is psychological, compulsive licking or chewing behavior can quickly progress to a stage where there is physical tissue damage and veterinary treatment is required. Below we list the most common psychogenic origins of excessive licking or chewing of the paws.
There are many potential physiological and psychogenic causes of excessive licking and chewing behavior. When the licking and/or chewing is focused on the elbows or the paws, which is common, the condition can be medically categorized as a lick granuloma or acral lick dermatitis. In less severe cases of lower limb licking, the behavior is intermittent and harmless to the coat and skin. In such cases, treatment is non-essential. However, in more severe cases, physically the licking and chewing cause temporary or permanent alopecia (hair loss) and problematic secondary dermatic infection and psychologically the behavior becomes obsessive-compulsive, whereby the dog’s attention to the behavior interferes with his/her ability to engage in normal lifestyle activities, such as eating, play, or social interaction.
Excessive Paw Licking in Dogs - It May Not Be Allergies - IVC Journal
Clean Your Dog's Paw to Reduce Her Paw Licking Tendencies
Our dogs require consistency in their daily routines to remain happy and healthy. When that routine is disturbed, an emotionally sensitive dog can become upset and anxious. A new baby or a new pet in the family, or something simple such as a change in diet or altering the time you normally come home from work, can easily push some dogs into fits of anxiety and they'll lick their paws as a way to comfort themselves.About 25 breeds totally dominate the paw licking category. They are usually pure breeds, and the smaller dogs seem to do it slightly more than the larger dogs. Although little dogs lick more, they do less damage to themselves. Larger dogs can lick or chew until it bleeds and becomes infected with bacteria or yeast.As most dog owners know, a restless animal can get into all kinds of trouble attempting to relieve her boredom, and with some dogs, that includes obsessive paw licking. Particularly if your dog is a high-energy pooch who needs lots of exercise, paw licking can easily become a soothing habit.The best thing you can do to help a dog who is licking her paws is to use a cheap steam vaporizer in the room where she sleeps. In the summer, tree and grass pollen can make dogs skin itch. But a huge factor is dry skin caused by dry air.Dogs with white skin are horribly sensitive to everything and get secondary infections more easily too. Bulldogs have toe cysts. Great Danes chew one ankle. Jack Russells all lick their paws constantly. Westies almost all have skin problems. Bichons get red spots and sores all over. Black Labs usually lick just their front paws, and golden retrievers often get ear infections around the same time their paw licking starts.Larger breeds will often chew the hair off, or focus on a particular spot on their leg or paw. Instead of just licking, they will use their teeth and scrape off hair and skin. Bigger dogs are at a more serious risk of long-term chronic problems. Early stage treatment is important to make sure it doesn’t develop complications.