by Michelle Lievense
When our canine companions get the occasional itch, sometimes they just need a little scratch behind the ear or a roll on the grass for a good back scratch. Some licking or gentle paw biting is standard self-grooming after a long walk or hike, but when licking and biting at their paws becomes excessive, it’s an indication of a bigger problem.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?
Itching, burning, raw, stinging and painful — those are just a few of the sensations dogs may experience when they are coping with irritated paws. There are several possible causes, and fortunately there are also some tried and true remedies that will help to bring all that inflammation down. Better yet, there are solutions that can help protect your pup from irritation in the first place. Let’s take a look at the three most likely culprits to consider if your dog seems to be excessively licking their paws.
Injuries are among the most common reasons a dog will go beyond normal grooming and lick or bite at their paws. It may have occurred during a walk or hike, but sometimes it can happen while roaming the house or backyard. We all know what it’s like to step on a Lego or stub a toe. Dogs often lick when there’s pain, so checking their paw for open wounds is a good idea.
Look and feel between their toes and along their paw pads where something may have been caught, like a burr or stick. Check for swelling. Notice whether your dog tends to pull their paw away quickly when you go to the same spot or when you try to handle their paw at all. Watch your dog walk to see if they are limping. And watch them when they stand, such as at the food or water bowl. Do they seem to be keeping weight off of that paw?
Sensitivity and protectiveness like this can be a sign there is a potential injury, whether you can see it or not. It typically warrants a trip to the vet, but always call first. They may have advice on ways to make Fido comfortable during the trip to their office.
Dry skin happens to all of us, especially in winter or in arid climates, and the experience is no different for dogs. Licking and biting is how they try to add moisture while alleviating some of the itch. However, they may end up with cracked or irritated skin as a result of too much licking. Before it gets to that point, use a canine-safe balm or moisturizing grooming products..
Skout’s Honor has a Prebiotic Pet Balm for dogs and cats that can soothe dry, itchy skin on their nose and paws. It’s 100% natural and won’t sting or add to the irritation while it’s being applied. Manuka honey is a natural antibacterial, which helps add a layer of safety for dry skin. It’s an antimicrobial, and the prebiotic formula means it will work with your dog’s natural body oils rather than causing an imbalance that can lead to a yeast infection.
There are many types of allergies out there, and seasonal allergies that affect us humans are also common in dogs. Pollen and other irritants can aggravate skin in spring, grass might be a problem year-round in your region, and there are other seasonal influences. Environmental allergies might also be the culprit and they aren’t limited to the great outdoors — things like mold, spores, dust mites, and more can be causing irritation indoors and out.
Food allergies are also more common in dogs than people realize. Different breeds naturally tolerate foods in a variety of ways. And individual dogs may be more sensitive to fillers that are common in commercial dog food. Irritation may look like gastrointestinal discomfort, such as gas, bloating and constipation or diarrhea. But food allergies can also show up as a lack of energy, ear infections or skin irritation.
Allergies not only lead to itchy skin, but they can also lead to growths and red, inflamed areas on the paw or between the toes. Speaking with your vet will help you understand if allergies are the source of paw irritation. They’ll also be able to advise you on the best treatments, if needed, such as a round of steroids, a prescription paw wash or a new food. However, there are high-quality, over-the-counter remedies available that can prevent and alleviate symptoms.
The Skout’s Honor Itchy Dog Kit is perfect for all-around itchy-paw symptom relief. The shampoo will help wash away any irritants, no matter how microscopic, while balancing the skin’s natural microbiome to help ward off secondary infections like yeast infections. The Probiotic Itch relief spray is ideal for a little added symptom relief throughout the day or week as flare-ups occur. Or give their paws a little spray before bed to help them stay comfortable throughout the night. The Prebiotic Pet Balm provides added protection from irritants on walks or throughout the day.
Irritated Dog Paws Need The Right Kind of Formula for Relief
Everyone deserves to feel comfortable and happy in their own body, including dogs. Excessive licking can lead to secondary infections, behavioral problems and more. Licking and biting at dog paws can have several causes, but now that you know the most likely culprits, you also have answers to the most likely solutions and remedies. Try the Skout’s Honor suite of all-natural products to give your dog the relief they need, and to give you the peace of mind that they are protected from their irritated dog paws.