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Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws?

There are many reasons why your dog would lick his or her paws excessively. We will sort through the possible causes to help you better understand why this may be happening. The most common causes would be allergies, foreign objects, traumatic injuries and torn nails. Less likely, dogs will lick their paws excessively out of boredom or anxiety.


This is the most common cause for dogs to lick their paws, especially the top side of the paws. Signs that an allergy may be the cause would be if your dog is licking more than one paw and in most cases, all paws are affected. Also, if your dog tends to lick his paws only during certain times of year such as the spring or fall, this could be a sign that your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies.

Torn Nail

A torn nail is another common cause for your dog to lick his paw. Some broken nails are not clearly evident as the break can occur beneath the skin/cuticle making it difficult to see. If your dog is licking one paw and a specific location on the paw, a broken nail should be investigated.

Foreign Objects

Ice, gravel and splinters are common causes of objects that can become lodged into your dogs paw, particularly the underside of the paw. It is important to perform a thorough evaluation by looking between and beneath the toes trying to identify any evidence of foreign objects and/or material.

Boredom or Anxiety

While this can be a possibility, it is actually an uncommon cause for dogs to lick their paws. Boredom or anxiety as a cause to paw licking can only be diagnosed after other causes have been ruled out so it's important to have your veterinarian evaluate your pet to help determine the cause.