If you have a dog, you may have noticed them licking their paws. They’d lick their paws after a meal, after a walk, when they’re bored or when they’re sad etc. Every dog does is moderately but have you ever wondered why dogs bite their paws?
Why Dogs Bite Their Paws
There are many reasons for dogs to bite their paws, we will mention a few of them below.
Just like how our hands dry up, dogs get dry paws too. Dry irritated paws cause a lot of itchiness and the saliva in their mouth soothes the paws.
Too much licking is, of course, a problem, so when it’s dry we suggest using some natural oils to soothe their skin and keep them comfortable. Oils like olive oil, coconut oil can keep their paws well nourished.
The thing with oils is that they can make their paws too slippery if you add too much. So always add a little and massage it in.
2. Cuts, Bruises and Fractures
Another reason why they may be licking their paws a little too obsessively is because it hurts. It can be anything from a small cut to a fracture and licking makes them feel better.
In these cases, you may see them suddenly develop this habit. If it’s a fracture, they may limp or show aggression when some tries to touch their paws. They will also lick the affected paw more. The best way to help them in these situations is to let a vet have a look at their paws.
Anything can cause allergies and some dogs have more allergies than others. Some food allergies can cause their paws to itch, however, in most cases it may be from something they step on.
The great outdoors has a way too many allergy-causing products. It can be pesticides, pollen, certain plants/leaves, animal droppings – really anything can trigger allergic reactions.
With the case of allergies, we need to determine what is causing it. If they are having the same food time and again, try to change it and see if it yields better results.
4. Bugs and Insects
Fleas and ticks latch onto the insides of their paws rather easily and we usually cannot see them. Sometimes bug and insect bites irritate their paws.
It’s really unhealthy for them to lick all that and ingest it and it may lead to a host of illnesses.
When it comes to insect bites, fleas, ticks and even external allergy-causing products, you must keep their paws clean and dry.
By washing their feet after every walk, you can protect their feet from a host of chemicals and germs. Here’s how you can protect their feet:
- Fill a small mug with water
- Add a bit of organic iodine until the water is ice tea-coloured
- Dip a paw for a few seconds and pat dry it with a cloth
- Repeat this step for all the paws
- You can change the water in between if it becomes too muddy
You can leave out iodine if their feet does not have any visible wounds but make sure to add it if you suspect they have small cuts and bruises.
If you wash their feet after every walk you can protect them from a host of problems. You may wash their paws with regular water but you must make sure add some iodine during the monsoons. There are too many bugs and insects during this time of the year. Iodine prevents fungal and bacterial infections without stinging their feet.
When Should I Show The Doctor?
Typically, a bit of licking here and there should do them no harm. If they do it too often or if they exhibit other symptoms, you may want to get it checked with a vet.
If their paws are red, inflamed or bleeding you must take them to the vet.
Other symptoms with paw biting include:
- Yelping or barking
- Weak hind legs
- Foul Smell
If you see one or more of these symptoms along with paw biting, you should show your vet.
The Importance Of A Healthy Diet
A balanced diet usually helps them fight allergens and supplies their skin and paws with the much-needed oils to keep them moisturised.
A grain-free diet is ideal for our doggos. The added grains in their diet provides them with too many carbohydrates that makes their skin rough and itchy. Other supplements like omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids provide their skin with all the necessary oils to keep their paws healthy and moisturised.
Lastly, licking is very natural to dogs. It’s the only way they know how they can heal all their wounds. So, it’s okay to let them lick once in a while. If we don’t let them lick their paws at all, it might make them too restless and they will find other ways to remove that energy. So, respect their ways and only intervene if the paw licking is starting to harm them.