No dog owner likes it when something is wrong with their pup. If you notice your dog excessively licking their paws, it’s a potential sign that they are in serious discomfort…but should we be worried about it?
How to Tell if it’s a Problem
Licking is natural for dogs, they spend a brief period each day grooming themselves, so it could be that your dog is simply grooming and they needed to spend a little extra time grooming their paws.
However, if this is going on multiple times throughout the day for more than 3-5 minutes at a time, then your dog is probably in discomfort and should be looked at.
There are only two reasons a dog SHOULD lick/chew their paws.
- To clean them
- To clear out debris that got trapped
If you suspect they are doing this for a different reason, then it’s your job as a responsible dog owner to get to the bottom of it and figure out why!
Home Remedies To Stop The Licking
If your dog is excessively licking or chewing their paws for a reason other than the two mentioned above, you’re probably wondering what you can put on their paws to stop the licking, but putting something on their paws is only a temporary fix. It’s important to get to the root cause and not just put a band-aid on it.
In this post, we will be talking about 7 home remedies that might get your dog to stop licking their paws, but if you aren’t sure why they are excessively licking or biting their paws, make sure you read our article which goes over the potential reasons your dog may have developed this habit.
Also remember that in some instances, none of these remedies will work. If your dog is in severe pain or discomfort, they will lick their paws regardless of what you put on them.
Note: Don’t try all these at once. Pick one and wait a few hours to see if that fixed the issue. If not try another one the next day. If you know which remedy solved the problem, you will have a good idea of what the cause is, so you know how to prevent it in the future.
Paw Soaking Remedies
If you aren’t sure where to start, then start here. There’s a good chance the excessive licking and chewing is due to a yeast infection. Povidone iodine is anti-fungal and anti-yeast, and it’s also non-toxic. Fill up a bucket with warm water and then pour in some povidone iodine. Soak your dog’s paws for about 60-90 seconds, then dry them off with a towel. Wait about an hour or two to see if that fixed the issue.
If it did, there’s a good chance the problem was because of a yeast infection which can be treated through diet.
Epsom Salt Soak
This is very similar to the Povidone-Iodine foot soak, but this time you will be using Epsom salt. You’ll want to soak the paws for about 20 minutes (I know, easier said than done!).
The Epsom salt will restore the pH levels in the skin which will kill off any harmful bacteria and inflammation.
Baking Soda Soak
Again, fill up a bucket with warm water and then mix in about ½ cup of baking soda. Let your dog’s paw soak for about 10 minutes. Baking soda will curb the itching and discomfort. Make sure to do this at least two times per day with your pup, but it’s even better if you can do three times per day (every 6 hours).
Oatmeal Soak (Surprisingly Effective)
Oatmeal has natural oils that are excellent for dry skin. Make sure the oatmeal is unflavored and unsweetened. Just mix about two cups of oatmeal into warm water and then soak your dog’s paw in it for about 10 minutes.
Direct Application Remedies
Apple Cider Vinegar Spray
This one is a temporary fix, and unfortunately, even if it does work it doesn’t really tell us what the primary issue is, but at least it might prevent your pup from that excessive licking and chewing for a short period of time!
It’s not a good idea to spray apple cider vinegar on your dog’s paws without first diluting it. So mix ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar with ¼ cup of water, so you have a 50/50 ratio. Spray this on your dog’s paws a couple times throughout the day. The scent and taste should prevent them from licking and biting.
VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t do this if they have any cuts in the area. This will sting and put your dog in even more pain.
There are many brands of triple-antibiotic ointment, it doesn’t matter which one you go with (in other words, just buy the cheapest one). If you notice the pads on your dog’s paws are excessively dry, they might be licking their skin because of dry skin. The triple-antibiotic ointment will help moisturize the skin.
It’s a good idea to temporarily put some sort of wrapping over your dog’s paw for about 10 minutes after you apply the ointment to give it time to soak in before your dog licks it off. Again, I know this is easier said than done.
Is it just me or does it seem like coconut oil is a remedy for everything? Well, it’s no exception here! Coconut oil is excellent for both human skin and dog skin. The reason it might help with the excessive licking is that it does a great job combating yeast and bacterial infection. So if you suspect the licking and biting are because of a yeast or bacterial infection and the apple cider vinegar didn’t help, give coconut oil a try!
What If None of These Remedies Worked?
Hopefully at least one of these remedies worked! If not, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your vet.
If you noticed the remedies worked for a few hours or a few days, but your dog eventually reverted back to licking, be sure to let your vet know which remedy caused the temporary relief. This will help your vet narrow down the list of what could be wrong.
Dogs excessively licking and chewing on their paws might seem harmless at first, but if you allow this behavior to continue, it can turn into a very serious problem. They might end up damaging nerves and getting multiple infections.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.