Dogs Licking Paws

Is your pet obsessively licking his/her feet?  Common reasons for cats or dogs licking their feet frequently are:

Atopy
Atopy is a skin allergy to something that the pet is in contact with.  This could be airborne allergens, such as pollens and dust, or allergens that pet walks on, such as grasses, plants and dust mites.  Atopy affects dogs much more commonly than cats and can either be ongoing or seasonal (usually worse during spring and summer).  Atopy generally affects all 4 feet.  There are a few options for the treatment of atopy, including medications and allergy vaccines.

Foreign body abscesses
It is very common for plant material, such as grass seeds, to burrow into the skin between the toes and cause an abscess.  In most cases, surgery is required to drain and flush out the abscess, as well as remove any foreign material.

Injuries of the  paw
Injuries such as toe fractures, wounds or lacerations of the paw or paw pads will cause the pet to lick the area.

Nail Problems

  • Fractured or broken nails can cause the pet to lick the nail.  Often, pain and bleeding is also seen.  Keeping the nails short can help prevent this.
  • Ingrown toenails occur when the nail is allowed to get too long and eventually curls around and punctures the corresponding foot pad.  Pain, infection and lameness often accompanies this condition.
  • Nail bed infections can occur and affects to tissues at the base of the nail.  They normally only affect one nail at a time.  They often resolve with antibiotics.

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One comment on “Dogs Licking Paws

  1. My pug/brussels griffon mix chews at her paws a good bit (mainly the front ones). I have had to the vet for it a number of times but there is really nothing wrong with her paws. What else could it be? Allergies? Or is it just a breed thing?

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