As a pet parent, you may notice that sometimes your dog engages in some odd behaviors, such as paw licking. Many times, a dog licking its paws is nothing to worry about- it’s a natural part of the grooming process. However, if they are excessively licking and biting/chewing on their paws, there may be something else going on.

The veterinary staff at Balanced Pets can diagnose and treat the problem that is causing your dog to lick its paws constantly. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the top 6 reasons you find your dog licking its paws.


While you may not naturally think about dogs when you think about animals that self-groom, they do regularly lick their tail, legs, and paws to remove debris. This is normal behavior and simply an indication that they want to be clean. However, persistent paw licking needs to be investigated.

Skin Irritations

One of the most common reasons why you may see your dog licking its paws, outside of self-grooming, is dry, itchy skin. This condition is often due to environmental allergies and irritants. Some other signs that your dog may be having an allergic reaction are:

  • Runny nose
  • Watery, swollen eyes
  • Sneezing

The best way to confirm environmental allergies is to consult with your vet. You can alleviate their symptoms by keeping them clean.

Food Allergies

When humans have an allergic reaction to certain foods, they often develop an itchy throat. Dogs feel this same discomfort in their paws. Certain dog foods/treats that contain chicken, beef, dairy, soy, or wheat may trigger an allergic reaction in your dog. If you only see your dog licking its paws after eating, it may be a food allergy. If you suspect a food allergy, your vet can help you choose an appropriate diet.


Another common reason you may find your dog licking its paws is to manage pain. They may have an ingrown nail, sting, burn, bite, cut, or puncture. Check their toes for any abnormalities. You can treat small wounds at home by washing the affected area and then using a pet first aid kit. If you notice an injury, contact your vet as soon as possible.

According to the American Kennel Club, another common reason you may find your dog licking its paws is to manage arthritis pain. While this condition affects multiple joints, a dog will usually lick or chew on one of their paws to cope with it. Your vet can help you find a treatment that can help reduce your dog’s discomfort.

Boredom/Separation Anxiety

If you are away from your dog for an extended period, whether for work or another reason, they may be experiencing separation anxiety and/or boredom. This can cause them to engage in behaviors such as licking/chewing on their paws, barking, and/or digging. Offer them chew toys, a favorite blanket, or other items that can make them feel at ease when you’re not home.


Since dogs explore the world on four legs, their paws are a natural spot for parasites such as fleas, mites, ticks, and lice to settle. These can irritate your dog’s skin and they may lick the affected area to relieve the discomfort. While these parasites may be concentrated on one paw, they may also lick or scratch other areas as well.

Let Balanced Pets in Travelers Rest Care for Your Pet

As a pet parent, quality veterinarian care that you can trust is important. Therefore, when you find your dog licking its paws, consider bringing them to Balanced Pets in Travelers Rest. We are an integrative clinic offering primary and integrative care for your pets. If your dog has been continually licking its paws, we will be happy to find out why in order to find the most appropriate treatment.