Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws?

As a dog owner, you may have noticed that your furry friend is constantly licking their paws. While occasional licking is normal, excessive licking can be a cause for concern. In this blog, we will discuss the reasons why dogs lick their paws, provide tips to help you stop this behavior, and offer references for further reading.

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?

There are several reasons why dogs may lick their paws, including:

  1. Allergies: Dogs may develop allergies to various environmental factors, such as pollen, dust, or food. These allergies can cause itchiness, and dogs may lick their paws as a way to alleviate the discomfort.

  2. Anxiety or Stress: Dogs may also lick their paws as a coping mechanism for anxiety or stress. This behavior can be similar to humans biting their nails or tapping their feet when feeling nervous.

  3. Boredom: Dogs may also lick their paws out of boredom, especially if they are not getting enough exercise or mental stimulation.

  4. Pain or Discomfort: Dogs may also lick their paws if they are experiencing pain or discomfort, such as from an injury, infection, or arthritis.

  5. Habit: Finally, some dogs may simply develop a habit of paw licking, even if there is no underlying medical or behavioral issue.

How to Stop Your Dog from Licking Their Paws

If you notice that your dog is excessively licking their paws, there are several things you can do to help them stop:

  1. Identify and treat any underlying medical conditions: If you suspect that your dog's paw licking is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as allergies or an infection, take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

  2. Manage your dog's environment: If your dog's paw licking is caused by stress or boredom, consider providing more exercise and mental stimulation, such as through walks, playtime, or puzzle toys. You can also create a safe and comfortable space for your dog to relax in, such as a crate or designated area in your home.

  3. Train your dog to stop the behavior: You can use positive reinforcement training techniques to teach your dog to stop paw licking. For example, you can distract your dog with a toy or treat when they start licking their paws, and reward them when they stop.

  4. Use deterrents: You can also use deterrents, such as bitter sprays or socks, to discourage your dog from licking their paws. However, make sure to choose a product that is safe and non-toxic for your dog.


  1. American Kennel Club. (2021). Why do dogs lick their paws? Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/why-do-dogs-lick-their-paws/.

  2. Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University. (n.d.). My dog licks his paws. Retrieved from https://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2018/08/my-dog-licks-his-paws/.

  3. PetMD. (2021). Why do dogs lick their paws? Retrieved from https://www.petmd.com/dog/behavior/why-do-dogs-lick-their-paws.