Why does my dog constantly lick his paws?

Although some paw licking is considered normal grooming behavior, excessive, consistent chewing and licking suggests an underlying issue. Determining the cause of the problem, and then deciding the best form of treatment for your itchy pooch, may take a little bit of research.
6 Reasons for Constant Paw Licking
There are a number of reasons why your pooch may be constantly licking his paws. The most common causes include:
Allergies If your dog has food allergies or atopy (an inflammatory reaction to air-borne pollens), her paws are often the first place where you'll notice her becoming itchy. Particularly if your dog is allergic to grass pollens, the allergens she picks up on her feet when she's outside will cause her discomfort.

DiSEASE Mange mites, fungal infections, and those nasty, pesky fleas can burrow into the areas between the toes and around the pads of your dog's feet and cause a terrible, burning itch. Additionally, dogs with diabetes and chronic arthritis can suffer from nerve damage and bone pain in their feet just like their human owners, and will lick and chew on their feet to alleviate the ache.

ANXIETY 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.
INJURY If your dog has split, cracked pads, a broken nail, a fractured toe, or a foreign body stuck in the bottom of her foot she will tend lick at the injured area, This will ease the discomfort and begin the healing process. Or if your dog has walked on grass that's been treated with chemicals they may be cause for paw licking.

HABIT or boredom 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.

OCD Obsessive/compulsive disorder Some dogs can develop a psychological obsessive/compulsive disorder – similar to that found in their human counterparts – that compels them to constantly lick their feet. Some canine behaviorists feel that the licking releases opiate-like chemicals called endorphins from the dog's brain into the bloodstream producing a sense of calmness and well being during times of stress or anxiety. This endorphin-rush can become addictive, and while the disorder is fairly uncommon in the average dog, it is difficult to treat without the use of drugs and behavior modification.
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It would be so much simpler if our dogs could talk and tell us what's going on. But until you turn into Doctor Dolittle you're probably going to need a veterinarian for help.
Tips That Might Help Right Away

Treatment for the consistent licking begins with identifying and eliminating the primary cause of the problem. If the cause is a physical one -allergies, injury, or disease – you can start with an all-natural solution you administer at home to help calm allergic inflammation and alleviate the itching to help your dog stop the compulsive licking. If that doesn't' work your veterinarian can prescribe medications like corticosteroids and antibiotics for a short period of time to heal any inflammatory skin infections. If that doesn't work your pooch may need to be placed on corticosteroids and antibiotics for a short period of time to heal any inflammatory skin infections.

Dog licking his pawsIf fleas are the issue You'll need to begin a flea control regimen for your pooch, your house, and your yard. Flea the Scene is an all-natural, product that can help alleviate this problem.

Controlling the itch by breaking the cycle of licking, itching irritated skin is a primary concern for the pet parents of constant paw lickers. You may wish to try a more natural approach to the problem, like the Paw Licking Prevention Pack

Boot UpCovering your dog's paws with dog booties might be a solution to the problem… if your dog responds well to having her paws handled and doesn't try to lose the booties. Using our all-natural Paw Rub underneath the booties can protect, heal, and soothe the heat of itching.

Is your dog's discomfort all in his mind? Canine behavior modification therapy with a trained dog behaviorist may be an option if your pup's licking problems are diagnosed to be psychological. While this treatment takes time, patience, and consistency to work, behavior therapy alone has been shown to be effective in some dogs. Additionally, your paw licking pooch may need more exercise, extra training, or another dog for companionship to keep her mind active. Your behaviorist may suggest adding anti-anxiety medications to the treatment plan however, an all-natural dog relaxer administered orally twice a day, can calm and relax your dog and keep her mind off the itching without any of the side effects of drugs.

Distract your dogMany dogs forget about their discomfort when they are playing, eating or chewing. Distraction is an excellent method. So give your dog a full schedule of bone chewing, game playing and toys to occupy their time.  We have had success putting all natural peanut butter into a hollow toy (like a Kong). And if you freeze it it lasts even longer!

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Psychological Scratching

It can be difficult to manage these cases of apparent psychological scratching. If, after a thorough investigation, you feel that your dog's itch is in fact psychological, you will need to relieve anything that's bothering your dog while you redirect his self mutilating behavior. There are several things you can do to help him.

1. Every time he licks his paws, interrupt him and divert his attention. Watch him constantly so as soon as he does lick, you can give him an alternative behavior, such as chewing a peanut butter filled Kong.

2. Mental stimulation and some exercise has been shown to reduce the likelihood of these behaviors developing. Also, early obedience training will give him a good repertoire of acceptable behaviors, so he's less likely to develop compulsive behaviors.

4. If your vet feels your dog has an anxiety problem, she may prescribe a course of anti anxiety treatment. This can make it easier for him to learn new behaviors without the added burden of feeling stressed. However, we recommend a natural solution first.  You can purchase an all-natural herbal product like Sleepytime Tonic without a prescription and it works wonders. Helps to calm your dog so you can both get some rest.

5. Treat any irritation in the skin that has developed from his constant scratching. Wash him in Comfy Dog Shampoo ; its colloidal oatmeal will ease his itch and reduce inflammation. You can, if you wish, follow it up with Fur Butter Deep Conditioning Treatment for an enhanced effect. If he has small patches where he constantly itches, a spray with will soothe his irritated skin.

Psychological scratching can be difficult to diagnose, and difficult to manage. It's important that it's diagnosed early; the sooner you start treatment, the better the chance for a happy outcome for you and your dog.

Why Constant Paw Licking is a Problem
ike most pet parents, we have been awakened in the middle of the night with the sounds of our itchy dog licking and chewing at her feet. Owner annoyance is just one of the problems that results from consistent paw licking. A compulsive paw licker can cause loss of hair (alopecia), major skin damage, open sores called "hot spots," and even bacterial skin infections on her feet and toes with the constant licking. Since the damaged skin is painful and irritated, a vicious cycle of licking, chewing, and causing even more harm begins that can lead to compulsive, hard-to-treat behavior.

A little history You should prepare a full history of the paw licking problem.

• When did it start?
• Was there a precipitating event that caused the initial licking to begin?
• Does your dog scratch or lick more after coming in from outside?
• Does she lick one or two paws in particular, or does she lick all four of them?
• Does she lick her paws when you're at home, or only when she's left alone?

The answers to these questions, can lead you and your vet to diagnosing if the paw licking is a physical or psychological problem, and can help determine a treatment plan.
Oftentimes when dogs feel itchy,
they just lick somewhere accessible: the paws – as a way of soothing the irritation.
The ALL-NATURAL First Choice for Relief
THe Paw licking Prevention packPaw lick
Whats in the pack? Learn More
Itchin for Relief Itchin' for Relief
All natural, highly effective targeted anti Itch spray

Relief right where you need it! Our unique "nozzler" spray gets this soothing formula through the fur directly to itchy and irritated skin. Itchin' for Relief contains a blend of Neem, Oat Extract, Litchi and Aloe to soothe irritated skin while Boswellia Serrata & Calendula help to reduce inflammation. We've also included Grapefruit seed Extract to prevent both bacterial and fungal infections. Can be used as often as needed.
Take a look at some testimonials about this product
Sleepytime Sleepytime Tonic
Helps Calm Your Nervous, Anxious Dog

Sleepytime Tonic was developed to relax a dog and ideally should be given to before an anticipated Paw Licking frenzy so that other treatments, like Paw Rub and Itchin' For Relief can take effect. Often times if the dog is already worked up it's harder to calm them. However, Sleepytime Tonic can still be given during an episode and will start working in about 20 minutes. The blend of all natural ingredients address underlying predispositions and weaknesses which cause the anxiety. It does not sedate your dog it simply calms him down. Take a look at some testimonials about this product
Paw Rub Paw & Nose Rub
This blissful balm will alleviate discomfort with creamy shea butter and soothing coconut oil. Shea butter is an excellent carrier of other healing ingredients but shea butter itself helps improve the healing process, improves moisture retention, soothes and protects the skin from environmental damage. The balm also provides fast relief for hot spots and insect bites with good stuff like mango seed butter, hemp seed oil and peppermint oil. Don't worry, if your dog licks it off it's perfectly safe to ingest. (It's also great for your dry cuticles, elbows & dry patches!). For best results, massage Paw Rub onto the affected paw and then cover it up with a doggy shoe, bootie or sock so the Balm has time to starting healing. Take a look at some testimonials about this product