Guide to stop a dog from licking his paws

There’s no avoiding it! From the moment they are born all the way through until the saddest of ends your dog is going to be licking their paws.

But what’s important is to see when the licking becomes something more than just a casual greeting that you would usually expect.  

In most cases, you can quickly find out if this licking is just normal behavior or if it’s something more serious and potentially to be concerned about.


Today I’m going to share everything there is to know on dog licking and paw licking and much more. 

Keep reading to find out a few quick actionable steps that you can take to get this sorted right away. 

Why is your dog licking his paws? 

In most cases, if you’ve somehow found yourself ending up on this page form searching how to stop your dog from licking their paws, then it’s my guess that you’re probably already experiencing some kind of problem. 

It’s good to remember we are dealing with a dog here, it can be sometimes difficult to identify what exactly is causing the problem and whether there is even a problem, in the first place. To give you a quick idea as to whether there’s something to be concerned about, I’ve listed out a few symptoms below fo you to take a look at. 

If you come across any of the symptoms listed out below, then its probably sensible to get your dog into the vets for a cheap to make sure there’s nothing further to worry about. 

Pink or red paws

This is a sign of porphyrin pigments which is contained in your dog’s saliva. If your dog is excessively paw licking then this could be a potential problem that needs to be stopped. Its usually just down to some bad habits that can be ironed out with the right training.

Swollen Feet

You’ll find that in most cases when your dog has swollen paw, it’s down to an injury or infection. Has your dog recently had an operation of some sort? If not then you could be dealing with an infection which in most cases would require a trip to the vets.

On the flip side, this could also be down to the fact that your dog ha an injury that has not yet been diagnosed which again would still need you to get it to check out further.  

Stinky paws 

Open wounds and infections are both common causes of stinky paw, whilst the wound or injury may be hidden you’ll definitely know about it when you get up close as their paws will stink. 


This is a problem that cannot be overlooked nor can it be put off…Youll have to get your dog in for a checkup immediately and its advice that you closely watch their behavior up till that point as this could be a serious problem. And to be honest, unfortunately, in most cases it is, so don’t put overlook this kind of problem in the slightest. 

Scabs on Paws

Scabs are the result of an open wound healing back up. If you notice this on your dog then its a quick trip to the vets as to its more than likely a serious problem. Even when you’re not sure its best to at least phone in and asses the situation carefully to ensure you make the right decisions. 

Redness or irritated skin

Food allergies and skin diseases are common causes of skin irritation. In some cases, this can be a serious problem but for the most part its just as simple as replacing your dog’s diet with something that agrees with them. To do so, you’ll need to check out some more info on the breed of your dog to see exactly what foods are best suited.  

Now that you know what to look out for it should be an easy job identifying exactly what kind of situation you’re dealing with. But it doesn’t stop there, as in the next section I’ll be going through whether you should even be concerned with paw licking and share a few ways that you can be sure you’re on the right track. 


When does paw licking become a problem?

For the most part, your dog licking their paws is completely normal behavior. But the idea here is to pay attention to when it’s happening and how often. 

Nothing is good excessive amounts! 

Behavior is also a great way to see if something is wrong with your dog, as you’ll find that most dogs become lethargic or no wanting to take part as much as usual when something internal is going on. 

There a few potential causes that can bring on paw licking right out of the blue. We’ve gone through a few of the symptoms already, now lets dive into why this happens and what you can do to fix it. 

Sudden licking and chewing

Lets put this into a normal scenario where you could be simply walking down the street with your dog when she suddenly starts licking her paws. Just simply random and for no apparent reason. 

A few questions you should be asking would be focused around: 

  • Is there something they stepped in?
  • What if this is an allergic reaction? 
  • Has anything caused a burn or injury to the paw? 
  • Is there any new corns that have developed 
  • Any bur in the paw pads? 
  • Any signs of infections or antibodies in the paw area? 

A few other potential problems would include: 

  • A cyst
  • A tumor or cancer
  • Allergies
  • Diseases
  • Flea bites

Well, after going through these questions, 9 times out 10 it will lead you to the right answer. And to be honest  9 times out of 10 it’s just that something has gotten stuck in her paw or something sticky or unusual is on it which is why shes licking it. 

But that’s not to say that this happens all the time and for those reasons you’ll need to continue reading to understand a few more ways of identifying problems, and know what to look out for. 

Chronic licking and chewing 

If you notice that your dog has been recently chewing and licking excessively over a long period of time, you may find that a food allergy or skin disorder could be the cause. 

Some of the most common causes that you’ll come across will include: 

  • A new bad habit has developed 
  • Your dog is bored 
  • Anxiety Issues (separation or change of environment) 

In most cases, you’ll find that your dog responds to different emotions in a human-like way. Which means that if you find them licking or chewing excessively, its usually an indication of feeling anxious or scared. 

Should you stop your dog from licking their paws?

When noticing your dog excessively licking their paws then yes it’s important to stop this behavior even when it seems like nothings wrong. The reason being is because when you allow your dog to chew or lick themselves excessively it can later develop problems even if there wasn’t one in the first place. A few of the most common problems that can occur are: 

  • Skin irritations 
  • Inflammation 
  • Open wounds 
  • Yeast infections 
  • Bacterial infections 

This is not to say that you shouldn’t allow your dog to lick themselves at all! As that would be insane. Instead its more along the lines of not allowing them to lick or chew Excessively, as that’s where the behavior can start to become a problem. 


How to stop your dog from licking their paws 

Once you know what the actual problem is then it quickly becomes easy and manageable to solve. Let’s say that you find a yeast infection or bacterial infection, then a prescribed shampoo may be the best shot at fixing the problem. 

In my experience, I’ve personally found that a change in diet is usually the best fix or solution to this kind of problems. But again, you’ll have to first know what’s going on before you can choose what you’re going to use as a solution. 

Cone collars are great to use to help with stopping your dog from getting to their paws when they chew excessively. Maybe leaving that on for a few months might do the trick in helping build a new habit of stopping such behavior. 

I thought that I’d also share a great product that helped me out with stopping my dog from chewing her paws. When the problem first started I was testing out different products that all seemed to be completely bogus.

This one, however, was the best that I’ve come across and its been working now for around 6 months and I haven’t had any real problems since. Check it out if you’re looking for a quick fix below. 

Grannicks Bitter Apple Dog Chew Deterrent, 32-Ounce
  • Bitter taste to discourage dogs and puppies from licking, gnawing and chewing on surfaces where applied
  • Stops pets from biting and chewing fur, wounds and bandages
  • Non-toxic, safe and effective chew deterrent
  • Comes in 32-ounces bottle, no sprayer inlcuded
  • Measures 9-1/3-inch length by 3-inch width by 3-inch height

Natural solutions to stop paw licking 

Whilst you hold on for your delivery of the apple solution you may want to test out some natural solutions to fix the problem. The great news is that there’s a ton of ways to actually stop this kind of behavior with products that you can find in your kitchen cupboard right away! 

Flea treatment

You may find that your dog has fleas, and if so then you’ll need to get hold of good flea treatment. Fleas can be very discomforting for your dog so if you notice that your dog has fleas then attempt to get rid of them pronto. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

This is a complete DIY approach but in most cases will work well as apple cider vinegar contains Grannick’s. Whilst this can be a good and quick fix, it’s not always the go-to solution as you’ll want to make sure that your dog doesn’t have any open wounds when trying this. 

Baking Soda

This will help to reduce any itching and discomfort for your dog when they are constantly chewing and licking their paws. It’s also a great way to get rid of any burning sensations which makes it one of my best go-to methods for a dog suffering from these conditions. 

Coconut Oil

Youll find that coconut oil makes a great solution for itching and infections. Yeast infections have a hard time surviving when applying a good amount of coconut oil to your dog’s paws. In most cases, this will be just fine to use but you’ll still want to contact a vet to make sure that you are not in need of a prescribed drug to act as a solution. 

Change of Diet

Make sure that you know you are feeding your dog the right foods as a large majority of parents use foods that fit with their budget. Whilst that’s good for you to go on a few more trips next year than may not be the best option for your dog’s health.

A quick way of identifying which foods will be best for your dog is to research on the best foods that are suited for that breed. 

Professional training to stop paw licking 

In some cases, you may find that this is just a behavioral issue, or I should say more of a habit. If you find that this is the problem then some professional dog training may be the perfect solution to the problem.

A great course to get started with training your dog is brain training for dogs by Adrienne Faracelli. It’s a dog training course that will help you to train your dog in the comfort of your home and teach you the essential methods that you’ll need to make sure that paw licking or chewing is kept to a minimum. 

For more information on the course, you can check out the full review I wrote on how it went for me with my dog Bella. 

Create Distractions

Sometimes a simple toy or treat can be a great way to take your dog’s mind off chewing and licking their paws. Rawhide is usually a great option, but you’ll have to make sure you get a good brand as it can be quite dangerous if swallowed in whole chunks. You can check out the brand that I use below: 

Retriever roll 9-10 inch All Natural Rawhide Product (20 Pack)
  • These are natural, handcrafted products of animal origin. That means that there will be some variations from the measures, color and picture representation. Rawhide differs in color, thickness and density like any other natural product.
  • All natural, dental chews made from free-range, pasture-raised cattle sourced from South America
  • These dog bones curb destructive chewing while protecting your furniture and shoes with their chewy texture
  • No artificial colors or preservatives and odorless.
  • New Packaging Image. You may still receive our previous label image since we have stock with the old labeling.

Quick video on how to stop a dog from licking his paws

Heres a video that can help you with finding a few potential solutions from a qualified expert in the field. That way, you can be sure that you’re headed in the right direction to get this sorted once and for all!


By learning more about your dogs licking of the paws you should have no problem in finding the perfect solution. In most cases, you’ll find that a change of diet will do the trick, but unfortunately, it’s not a one size fits all type of scenario.

Instead, I encourage you to read the whole post-in-depth to understand what to look out for and to find a few potential solutions that can help with keeping your dog’s paw licking to a minimum. 

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Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Dig Doggy. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! Rachael also loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Dig Doggy. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! Rachael also loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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