Dog Licking Feet: 7 Reasons Why Your Dog Licks Feet

A dog licking his feet may be performing this action for cleaning purposes or he may due this due to the fact that the feet are irritated. There are also other reasons your dog licks his feet. To prevent the occurrence of complications such as acral lick granulomas or infections you should detect the cause and administer suitable treatment.

1. Licking Feet to Clean them

Typically, a dog spends a lot of time outdoors and he can get dirt or other debris stuck in his paws, so he will try to clean up by liking the feet. This should be considered normal and shouldn’t worry you as long as it lasts only a few minutes.

2. Splinters or Wounds on Feet

The feet may be wounded or have splinters or thorns, so the dog will lick the feet to relieve pain or in attempt to remove the splinter. This may not be recommended, as the saliva carries a lot of bacteria that can cause secondary infections. 

3. Fungal Infections

Fungi can often cause infections on dog’s paws and the infection can cause itchiness and discomfort so the dog will lick his feet, as the saliva will bring temporary relief. There are a few ointments that should be applied to eliminate fungi. However, you need to apply a few special shampoos and wash the feet regularly to eliminate the infection faster and limit the dog’s exposure to the outdoors until the infection is completely healed.

4. Allergies

Dogs can develop allergies to foods, materials or inhalants. The allergies will cause itchiness and the dog may chew, lick and bite the itchy areas. The feet may be licked excessively, as the dog cannot properly scratch his own feet. Allergies can be managed through drug administration or by removing the allergen.

5. Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that causes joint pain. By licking his limbs, the dog can relieve the pain. Arthritis is not a treatable condition but the pain may be relieved through drugs and massage therapy.

6. Fleas

Fleas are external parasites that cause itchiness especially in certain areas such as the feet, face or back. Consequently, the dog will lick and scratch the affected areas. Fleas can be eliminated with different anti flea products such as powders, sprays or creams.

7. Stress

If your dog is stressed, he may lick his feet. This may develop into a compulsive obsessive behavior and the dog can cause raw skin and open sores. In severe cases, the dog may cause acral lick dermatitis or granulomas. You should find out what causes stress in your dog. A wide range of factors can possibly stress your pet including a recent change, your absence, a disease that is not detected, the loss of a family member or the appearance of a new one (a baby). The dog can adapt to new situations and you must also make sure to offer him affection and have patience with him. Medications are also available to manage stress.