Dog licking paws is as normal as wagging their tails. This is a common behavior noted among Dogs and is not a reason to cause alarm to the owner.
However as much as it is a common habit it can become a problem if your dog is doing it in excess or to extreme levels of chewing their toes. Such cases should be reported to the veterinary so as to carry out further tests on the Dog’s health.
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A number of factors should be considered before concluding that paw licking is a symptom of a deeper health problem. Dog licking paws can be a habit accrued from their temperament or breed.
Dog licking paws which are accustomed to this behavior will usually lick all four paws and not focus on only one paw.
Other factors to consider are when the paw licking problem begun and whether it’s a problem that runs in the dog’s family Once ascertaining the abnormal nature of the dog’s paw licking problem further tests should be run by the veterinary to find out the underlying health problem.
The common causes of paw licking problems in dogs include the following.
Parasites and Fleas
Fleas cause an irritation on the dog’s body, especially at the paw region. This, in turn, causes itchiness and the mutt constantly chews its toes to stop the discomfort.
The fleas may not necessarily infest the paws but a fleabite or slight contact with the flea on the paw is enough to elicit the itchiness thus dog licking paws.
Bone joint or toenail injuries
The paw of a dog acts also as its “shoes”. Paws are exposed and are prone to injuries by foreign objects in toenails or bone joints. Sharp rocks and glass particles will injure the dog’s paws.
Due to its difficulties in movement, the mutt will tend to lick its paws. Overgrown toenails can also cause injury to the dog leading to lesion infections once the nails are pushed back into the paws.
Infections can either be fungal or bacterial. The most common fungal infection is yeast which once it infects the dog’s paw there will be consistent discomfort. The dog in reaction to the itchiness will chew his paws to stop the itchy feeling. Symptoms of infections can be noted in the redness of the paw and limping of the dog.
Two main allergies are involved which are food and contact allergies. Food allergies are rare since even if a dog is allergic to a certain type of protein the allergies will rarely exhibit in the form of itchy paws. Contact allergies are the most common causes of chronic paw licking.
Paws can be allergic to chemicals, rugs and even seasonal changes. The best way to notice such allergic reactions is to study the paw licking habits of the dog and narrow it down to what usually triggers the licking. This will most probably be the allergic reactant.
Superficial skin infections can occur, when your dog’s body is not producing enough thyroid hormone or putting out too much cortisol. You may notice bad spots and your dog may scratch or lick as if bothered by allergies.
Dogs are hyperactive animals and want to jump and play around all day. When mutts are bored they may tend to chew up their feet to try and cheer themselves up or excite themselves.
The best response to this is to increase the dog’s play time and spend more active moments with him hoping the habit will diminish.
Dog licking paws habit in most cases have proven to be an indicator of inherent health challenges in the mutt. So when your dog is abnormally licking its paws you should raise a concern to the veterinary. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
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Video credits goes to vetstreet.com YouTube channel