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Why does my dog lick his feet?

asked 2017-03-07 14:18:56 -0500

This is a question that we often get from sitters and owners who work with Rover. Help the community out by answering them in our forum!

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answered 2017-03-08 00:14:45 -0500

If your dog is itching its feet, this can meet one of several things: itchiness, pain, or habit.

You may know after some time with your pet whether it is what veterinarians call an "allergy dog". These dogs often have seasonal swings of itchiness, red skin, and often welts or skin infections. The worse cases include many individual allergens affecting the pet, so you certainly can't take them away from the problem, and you're left with managing the symptoms. Licking is a way that dogs with chronic itchiness often deal with their discomfort, and the feet are a common place for allergies to manifest.

Some dogs are so used to being itchy, they just start to be "chronic lickers", which means they know that endorphins are released when they lick themselves. Even though the chronic attack on the skin is actually injurious, they get a sort of mind-numbing experience from it and forgot they're not itchy anymore! Stay on top of these dogs, because you should try to stop this behavior!

A dog in pain will often lick the area that hurts. If your dog has very long toenails, arthritic feet, inflamed skin (ie allergies), or the like, he will often lick the feet. It's the same as when you hit your shin on something and then rub on it as a reaction- the touch dulls the sensation of pain.

If your dog won't stop licking him or herself, it's a good idea to bring it up with your veterinarian at your next visit to see what could be going on. You know your pet better than anyone, and a change in behavior can certainly be significant.

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answered 2017-03-08 21:52:46 -0500

Sometimes its behavior, an anxiety based response to triggers for dogs.

I have a dog that has been doing this for months. We could not figure out why, because nothing had changed in our daily routine. We started doing some research about this, and it turns out he had a yeast buildup in his stomach due to a high carb low protein food. We knew this because every time he licked his fur turned pink. His saliva was pink due to the yeast buildup. We changed his diet to a higher protein, lower carb diet and he has stopped licking altogether.

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answered 2017-03-09 11:01:58 -0500

I have heard that allergies will cause a dog to lick/bite its foot. Some people will switch the food their dog eats and it helps!

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answered 2017-03-07 14:58:23 -0500

Plenty of owners observe this common behavior in their dogs and wonder if they should be concerned. In some cases, dogs will gently but insistently lick one or both paws, but other canines will go so far as to chew on their toes, which can be disconcerting for any pet owner.

So should you be worried? The short answer is yes. You should always consult with your vet about this behavior, especially if it comes on suddenly, persists for long periods of time, or is accompanied by redness, swelling, odor, bleeding, limping or other possible signs of pain and infection

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answered 2017-03-09 04:04:43 -0500

I agree that most of the time when dogs lick their feet a lot, it is due to allergies. But I just read an interesting article that points in a very different direction. Basically, the article states that it may be due to spinal inflammation from use of improper leashes, or aggressive tug games among other things. Click here for the article: http://ivcjournal.com/excessive-paw-l...

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