It is good to have your dog bathed and groomed frequently. Even a quick bath will do, but don’t fret in between. If you haven’t had a chance to schedule an appointment with the groomer or don’t have time to do it, it’s okay. Your dog is a self-groomer. Just like cats, dogs lick themselves to keep clean. They don’t self groom as much as cats do, but they sure do get the job done.
So, if your dog is licking its paws and back end don’t automatically fear that something is wrong. They may just feel the need to clean themselves. More often than not, this is the case. However, there are times when excessive licking could point to an underlying problem. Dogs can develop staining in the areas that they lick constantly. The paws are the number one spot that experience saliva stain. Usually, the staining is only from excessive licking. This could be an indication of one of these problems:
Pain and Discomfort
Your dog can’t tell you if they stepped on something and are in pain. If your dog steps on glass, sharp rocks or thorns they are at risk of penetrating their pads. Check your dog’s pads after long hikes, outside play, and walks. They could be licking because they have discomfort or pain. If your dog has something stuck in their pad, you may want to head to your local veterinarian. They will be able to numb the area and safely remove what is stuck in the pad. Depending on the severity of your dog’s wound, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection and a pain medication.
Just like you, your dog can have allergies. Most commonly, dogs are allergic to grass and pollen. Your dog may have seasonal allergies or allergies that last all year. When your dog is out in the yard, their paws are exposed to these allergens. Their skin, especially their feet, will become itchy and irritated. Your dog will constantly lick or gnaw at their paws because of this allergic reaction. While you can’t omit these allergens from affecting your dog, you can talk with your veterinarian about medication that can help relieve their allergy symptoms. They may give you a Benadryl dose that is safe for your dog or prescribe a stronger medication. Your veterinarian may talk with you about your dog’s diet. Dogs, like people, can have food allergies. Most veterinarians recommend a food trial to see if your dog has a food allergy. They will be able to recommend a good prescription diet if your dog does indeed have a food allergy. You can also try this at home. Switching your dog’s food could end that constant licking.
If your dog is constantly licking or chewing at their paws, you definitely want to check for fleas. One flea bite is all it takes to send your dog into an itching frenzy. If you do indeed have a flea problem, handle it immediately. Left untreated, your dog could develop one of various health problems related to fleas. Fleas can multiply very fast. A female flea can lay up to 600 eggs in just one month, and each flea can live up to six months. If you have a flea infestation, it won’t only affect the dog. Fleas will jump on you and your family and bite. This can be very problematic. You can treat your home with an insect fogger or call your local exterminator. Make sure that you keep your dog on flea prevention to prevent this problem. You can buy certain flea preventions, like flea collars or the monthly liquid application, online and in stores. Your veterinarian will also carry different types of flea prevention that come in a chewable treat form.
Make sure that you keep a close eye on your dog if you notice any excessive paw licking. You don’t want to let things get worse before you act. Make sure that your dog is getting a regular check-up at least once a year. Set up an appointment for your dog at your local veterinarian. Your veterinarian can answer any questions that you may have and can provide you with educational handouts and brochures. Keep your dog happy and healthy.