It is normal for dogs to lick their feet, though as pet owners, we should be watchful if they are licking their feet excessively.
We all know how troublesome it is sometimes to cleanse and bathe our dog. Most of them don’t like bathing as much as we do and they do grooming by licking their body including the feet. Thus, it is common to observe dogs licking their feet and this is normal.
But if they seems doing it excessively to the extent of chewing the same, there could be an issue that you should be aware of.
So should you be worried if they are licking, chewing it excessively? Well yes, you should be and should consult the vet. But you should also be aware of the
Excessively licking could be due to the dog being allergic to either environment or food. Allergy is one of the most common cause of dog licking their feet.
Allergy due to environment – After you come from a walk along with your dog and realize that he is licking his feet. It could be due to allergy from the grass or the weeds. Best way to check the same would be to wash his paws with water and see if it helps reducing the licking.
If environmental allergy is ruled out, licking could be associated with Food allergy. Dogs can be allergic to beef, chicken, dairy or grains. Avoid the food that you think may be the culprit and causing the allergy. If licking reduces, it can confirm the food is causing the allergy.
If you can’t confirm by yourselves Vets can carry out the anti allergic test.
Your dog could be in pain and hence nursing the wound by licking it. Look closely at the paw and spot for any foreign objects such as thorn or insect bite that may be causing the pain. If looking doesn’t work, touch the paw gently and perceive if there is any foreign object that could be irritating the dog.
A veterinarian can suggest the best further course of action.
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Tick infestation could also be the reason for the dog to be licking themselves at their paw or some where else. It is normal to lick as the tick bite causes an itchy sensation and licking soothes the same.
Check the fur of the dog carefully and even comb it to see if you can notice any ticks that could be the root cause of the problem of licking.
Try keeping your home tick free by cleaning, regular vacuuming and washing the rugs frequently.
Licking could be caused due to your dog being anxious. This could be due to age, fear or separation. Licking helps the dog in bringing the stress levels down.
As the dog gets older, he may develop anxiety due to issues related to memory, intelligence and thus may lead to licking.
Licking can also be caused if the dog starts fearing some thing. Common causes could be loud sounds, new people etc.
One of the common causes of anxiety in dogs is separation from the owner. Training the dog helps in this case as they feel that they have a place where they can be alone and still be safe.
Taking advise of a Vet may also help here.
Hormonal imbalance may cause low or high thyroid hormones which may lead to thin hairs or shedding of hairs and exposing the skin. And it is quite normal for a dog to lick the exposed skin. It is best to consult a vet as treating for hormonal imbalance should help reducing the licking as well.
You might have noticed dogs having rough red skin when he scratches himself to soothe down the irritation. This could be because of a bit more bathing of dog with shampoo than required. As with humans, if we wash our hairs daily, the hairs may become dry, it is similar with dogs as well. Care should be taken with the choice of shampoo used as harsh chemicals can dry the dog skin.
If your dog has symptoms of dry skin, it is best to take him to a vet who can advise on remediation.
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Deicing Salt and cold weather
It is common in winter to have deicing salt on roads and prolong contact with it on a long walk could be an issue. The chemical can burn the dog paws and they might limp after sometime and lick their feet to soothe the irritation. It is best to avoid the deicing salt whenever possible.
It just doesn’t stop there. While they lick the feet, there is a chance that they may consume the deicing salt as well. This salt could be dangerous to dogs only if consumed in large quantities. Small quantity consumption may lead to mild discomforts.
Hence, It is advisable to keep a warm water bowl and wash the paws when you come back from a walk in winter.
Yeast is a type of fungus that normally resides on the dog body without causing any illness. Problem happens when there is over abundance and you should look for symptoms for the same like red or greasy skin and the smell. Yeast infection is also known as Yeast dermatitis.
Look for a vet advise for the remedial action who may advise oral anti-fungal treatment.
Boredom or grooming his coat
It is typical of dogs to lick their paws when getting bored. You should just notice if they are licking one paw or alternating as well. In case he is licking both the feet than most likely it is natural and should not be a concern unless there are some other symptoms as well.
Home remedy for dog licking his feet
This may not replace a medical advise but below are a few of the home remedies that may alleviate the itchiness and can help dog to reduce licking his feet.
- Wash your dog’s feet in warm water for 15 to 30 minutes. If you can mix with apple cider vinegar it would be more beneficial. This would help in removing any foreign particles and soothing of the skin. This will also have anti fungal and anti bacterial affect.
- Diet Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega 3 fatty acid supplements helps in reducing inflammation, digestion, and promotes skin health. Do take your vet’s advice before starting it.
- Applying coconut oil can also soothe the itchiness caused due to eczema or yeast infection. It is best to find an organic one if you can so you are sure, it is natural.
- Applying Aloevera gel can also help as aloevera has natural healing tendencies. Use pure aloevera gel and avoid the one mixed with alcohol.
Be careful about Lick granulomas
Licking typically helps in soothing of the itching as saliva contains chemicals that are anti bacterial. But excessive licking may become the cause of what is known as Lick granulomas. This generally happens around the dog feet. This is essentially a patch of skin where hairs are lost and bare skin is exposed. This patch may have bacterial or yeast infection.
Thus some feet licking by the dog is ok; excessive licking can become a cause of granuloma and care should be taken to avoid the same.
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