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While it’s not uncommon to observe our furry companions indulging in this behaviour, the mystery deepens when dogs begin licking their paws excessively or persistently. In this extensive exploration, we will delve into the many reasons behind why dogs lick their paws, unravelling the enigma and helping you understand how to prevent dogs from licking paws

What does it mean when dogs are licking paws?

Why do dogs lick their paws” is a question that echoes through the minds of concerned pet owners around the globe. Why dogs lick their paws can be attributed to various factors, each shedding light on the intricate world of canine communication and well-being. If you’re wondering is it normal for dogs to lick their paws, the American Kennel Society says occasional paw licking is normal as a part of their self-grooming process, but anything more excessive can be for more noteworthy reasons.

From physical discomfort to emotional distress, the motivations behind when dogs are licking paws are diverse and require a discerning eye to decode.

Physical discomfort

When dogs lick their paws, it may be because of physical discomfort. Pain, itching, or inflammation resulting from injuries, flea or insect bites, or skin infections could be underlying reasons for this behaviour.


If a dog is licking paws, allergies could emerge as the prime culprit. Environmental allergens, specific foods, or grooming products may trigger allergic reactions, compelling dogs to lick their paws in an attempt to alleviate the persistent irritation.

Anxiety or stress

Emotions play a significant role in canine behaviour, and dogs may turn to self-soothing behaviours like paw licking when faced with anxiety or stress. Understanding and addressing the root causes of emotional distress can help curb this behaviour.

In addition to licking paws, Blue Cross says that other signs of stress may include:

  • Excessive yawning
  • Panting, often with a curled tip of their tongue instead of relaxed
  • Constant pacing back and forth
  • Licking their lips excessively
  • Ears pinned back
  • Dilated pupils or red around the eyes
  • The whites of their eyes showing (whale eye)


Dogs, especially those left alone for extended periods, may succumb to boredom, leading to repetitive behaviours like paw licking. Enriching your dog’s environment with toys, puzzles, and interactive games can provide mental stimulation and reduce boredom-related habits.

Underlying health issues

In certain cases when dogs lick their paws persistently, it may be a red flag for underlying health issues. Dermatitis, fungal infections, or hormonal imbalances could be the unseen culprits, necessitating a thorough examination by a veterinarian.

How to stop dogs from licking paws

If you’re wondering how to stop dogs from licking paws, there are a few things you can try to do! Let’s dive into some solutions on how to stop excessive licking of paws in dogs.

Identify what causes a dog to lick his paws

This is the first step in helping your pup! Whether it’s a bug big, fleas or just plain boredom, a consultation with a veterinarian can help rule out health issues and guide you toward the most effective treatment plan.

Ensure you’re using safe cleaning supplies

Inspect your home, and make sure you are not using any harmful chemicals to clean your floor or bedding. Certain chemicals can affect the pads of your dog’s feet.

Provide distractions

Combatting boredom requires creative solutions. Invest in a variety of toys, puzzles, and interactive games to keep your dog mentally engaged and divert their attention from excessive paw licking.

Maintain proper hygiene

Regular paw cleaning is essential to remove potential irritants or allergens. Utilize gentle, pet-safe wipes or a damp cloth to keep your dog’s paws clean and healthy.

Use protective measures

Dog boots can act as a shield, preventing direct contact between your dog’s paws and irritants during walks, especially in challenging terrains.

Topical treatments

Veterinarian-approved soothing balms or sprays can provide relief from discomfort and reduce the urge to lick. These topical treatments are designed to nourish and protect your dog’s paw pads.

Investigate diet

If food allergies are suspected, a dietary overhaul might be in order. Consider transitioning to high-quality dog food to address potential dietary triggers.

Raw food for allergies

If your dog won’t stop licking paws, they may have a food allergy! The most effective way to determine if your dog is suffering from a food allergy or sensitivity is by using an elimination diet. By feeding a specific protein rather than a mixture of them, it becomes easier to rule out the ones that disagree with your pet. The easiest way to start an elimination diet is through low-glycemic, single-ingredient diets, or a raw dog food diet.

When embarking on an elimination diet for your dog, we highly recommend trying a Bold by Nature (one of Canada’s leading raw pet food companies) formula. These diets exclusively feature meat, bone, organ ingredients, simplifying the protein source to only a handful of nutritious elements. This approach ensures that you initiate the process with a straightforward one-protein blend.

After successfully testing one protein source and confirming your dog’s well-being, you can progress to a similar formula that incorporates vegetables. For instance, if you’ve been using our Pure Duck formula, transitioning to Mega Duck for Dogs introduces vegetables into the mix after the elimination period. This step helps assess if your dog has any sensitivities to additional components like kelp or veggies.

Both of our formulations maintain a low glycemic profile. However, it’s important to note that our Select formula omits vegetables and includes beef tripe. If your dog has a beef allergy, it’s advisable to steer clear of this option.

In essence, the finest dog food for allergies adheres to a limited ingredient, all-natural diet. Our raw recipes are meticulously crafted to align with nature’s intentions, providing essential nutrients while extending benefits beyond mere nutritional content.

Where can I get Bold by Nature products?

Whether you’re getting prebiotics for dogs or Bold By Nature raw dog food, you’ve got a couple of choices on where to shop for them! You can shop online or purchase Bold by Nature products at your local retailer. Not to worry if you aren’t sure who carries Bold by Nature – you can use our location finder to help!

Remember that if you have tried our tips and your dog won’t stop licking paws, it may be time for a trip to your holistic veterinarian!