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Why do dogs lick their paws?

September 16, 2017

There are several conditions in dogs that cause veterinarians to pull out their hair. One is paw licking. Some dogs naturally lick their paws after being on grass to remove pollen. Dogs that excessively lick will cause the fur on their paws to turn color.

Licking paws is a common complaint with a long list of causes.

Allergies top the list. Allergies can cause itchy skin producing constant paw licking. Diet trials, skin testing and medications may solve that one.

Pain from arthritis of the paws may manifest in licking. Abnormal nerve sensations or referred pain from neck or spinal problems may cause tingling sensations that manifest in paw licking. Think of it like when your arm goes to sleep and then tingles as feeling returns. Dogs who lick their rear paws may have muscle tightness or arthritis from playing fetch.

Radiographs may show areas of bony growth that can entrap nerves. If that is the case, anti-inflammatories for arthritis or newer medications for nerve induced pain may be indicated. Chiropractic manipulation and acupuncture are other effective treatments.

Good ways to prevent neck and spinal problems include walking your dog with a harness instead of a collar. Playing tug-of-war can hurt the neck. Lessen the chance of injury by letting the object gently slide through your hands.

Paw licking has many causes. Give us a call at 541-678-5440 to discover the cause.

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