Health & Care
Share this image

Why Won’t My Dog Stop Licking His Paw?!

Justice licks and licks and licks one of his paws. The vet can't find anything wrong with it, and it's driving me a bit crazy!

Melissa L. Kauffman  |  Aug 25th 2016


My 7-year-old Min PinVizsla mix, Justice, starting licking his back left paw recently. Immediately I went into alarm mode. I examined and re-examined the paw, which Justice did not enjoy. I had my veterinarian look at the paw. Nothing. No tenderness, no swelling, no bleeding, not cuts, no scrapes, just a slight sign of irritation that may have come from the paw licking.

Justice eyeing his tasty paw. (Photo by Melissa Kauffman)

Justice eyeing his tasty paw. (Photo by Melissa Kauffman)

So then I started researching. I read everything related on this website, and even went so far as to assign articles on paw care for upcoming issues of Dogster magazine and wrote about it myself in Lucky Puppy.

What I learned is that it could be:

  • Allergies (Allergic dermatitis)
  • Cut
  • Scrape
  • Burn
  • Foreign body
  • Sticky gunk
  • Hair matt
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Cracked paw
  • Pododermatitis
  • Parasitic infection
  • Skin cancer
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Congenital condition
  • Endocrine or metabolic disorder
  • Demodicocis
  • Toe tumor
The paw, which looks perfectly fine to me. (Photo by Melissa Kauffman)

The paw, which looks perfectly fine to me. (Photo by Melissa Kauffman)

Um, it could be anything! I also learned that I should be:

  • Doing a daily paw inspection
  • Wiping off my dogs’ paws (I have two dogs) after every walk
  • Cutting the hair between the toes or not (depending upon dog’s need)
  • When it’s summer, checking asphalt and concrete with the palm of my hand to see if it is too hot for my dogs to walk on.

There are also a ton of do’s and don’ts when it comes to what you put on your dog’s feet, because not only does it need to be breathable, but also it must be safe to ingest because … well, dogs lick their paws.

I’ve tried wiping the feet with everything from water to diluted apple cider vinegar. I bought several special dog paw calming balms. Lastly, I bought a dog foot-soak treatment. He certainly hasn’t enjoyed as much as I enjoy my pedicures, but we’ll see if that does the trick.

The paw hasn’t gotten any worse and now looks perfectly normal except for the licking. If he doesn’t stop, next step: back to the vet for some cultures. I can’t tell you how frustrating this paw issue is. I feel like I’m on my way to getting a degree in dog podiatry.

Let’s hear from you, readers. Have you had this experience with your dog? Share in the comments!