Have you ever wondered why your furry friend may spend hours licking their feet? Sometimes the issue can be so severe dogs lick their paws raw to the point of needing an e-collar or other device to prevent them from causing further self-trauma. Read on to discover the most common causes for this puzzling aspect of dog behavior!

Your dog may lick their feet because of…

Paw licking

Allergies are one of the most common reasons a dog will lick their feet. Dogs (much like their human counterparts) can be allergic to anything. First of all, we want to make sure they are up to date on their flea and tick prevention. Flea allergies are quite common and with the plethora of flea/tick prevention available today we can help improve the comfort and quality of life of our canine companions by getting rid of these pesky allergy-inducing parasites!

Request a refill of your pet’s flea/tick prevention today.

Dogs can also be allergic to a protein source in their food or to something in the environment. If a food allergy is the culprit, your veterinarian can talk you through what is known as a “hypoallergenic diet trial” to help determine the cause. Keep in mind it is not as simple as just changing the food. A very particular type of food is needed since most over-the-counter diets contain common allergens, even if claiming they do not.

Your veterinarian will be able to discuss plenty of options with you for further workup and treatments to help keep your pup as comfortable and healthy as possible for years to come!

Infection / Inflammation / Parasitic

This issue often circles back to the concern for underlying allergies since the inflammation caused by allergies frequently presents around the paws, ears, and anal areas. Inflammation can disrupt the skin’s normal defense mechanisms, thereby making those areas more vulnerable to secondary infections, most commonly with bacteria or yeast. Your veterinarian will be able to help diagnose infection, including the all too common nail bed infection, and provide medications to help correct the condition. Your vet can also help diagnose parasitic conditions such as Demodex mites, or ringworm, a fungus that is “zoonotic” meaning this condition could be spread from your pet to you as well.

Paw licking 3
Behavioral (stress/boredom)

Dogs can sometimes suffer anxiety or stress which can lead to repetitive compulsive type actions such as licking their feet. It is important to rule out any underlying medical conditions before assuming the issue is strictly behavioral.


Injuries such as arthritis, a broken toenail, or a spur/splinter stuck in the pad can also cause your dog to lick their feet. It is always a good idea to have the affected foot examined by your veterinarian.

Lumps & Bumps

Dogs can have tumors or growths that appear on their feet as well. If you notice any type of proliferative tissue or any lumps or bumps anywhere on your furry friend, call your veterinarian to schedule a consultation immediately.

What’s the solution?

As you have already discovered there are many different causes for dogs licking their paws. Whatever the reason, it is always a good idea to call your veterinarian to set up an appointment to make sure your canine companion stays happy and healthy!

Paw licking before and after

Let’s find out why your pet is licking their paws, make an appointment!