What to check for before throwing on a new pair dog booties…
Injury / Foreign Body
From trekking across city streets to running through dog parks, our dogs’ paws undergo heavy environmental exposure every day. A small cut, burn from a hot sidewalk, or tic from grassy areas could easily go unnoticed while your pup suffers silently. Pay attention to the non-verbal cues and take a closer look if you notice your dog licking his paws more than usual. If your (gentle) attempts at examining the area are met with resistance, your pup might be in pain. Call your vet and begin administering cuddles.
Arthritis is becoming an increasingly common health problem in dogs. Like in humans, aches and pains from arthritis often creep into a dog’s most heavily used body parts — think legs and paws. Just like we would rub a sore knee to provide relief, an arthritic dog may lick his paws as a means of tending to the pain. While it can be tricky to identify other preliminary signs of arthritis in dogs, don’t ignore the licks: an earlier diagnosis ultimately allows for easier treatment.
Dogs can develop yeast infections in their nail beds which can cause them to lick and chew at their paws. The good news: an infection is fairly easy to spot by examining the paws. The bad news: a seemingly innocent injury like a splinter or small cut can become infected if left undetected.
An allergic reaction is the most common reason why dogs lick their paws. Allergies can be seasonal and environmental or food related. Like humans, dogs can develop allergies at any point in their lives. So even if your dog has never suffered from seasonal allergies before and suddenly can’t stop chewing his paw, ask the vet about sharing your Benadryl.
Boredom / Anxiety
Can’t quite drop that pesky nail biting habit? Your dog’s not all that different. Many dogs turn to licking or chewing their paws out of boredom or a lack of physical and/or mental stimulation. Try upping your dog’s quota of daily play or training games to keep him engaged…and protect his paws.