Do you notice your dog constantly licking at their paws? If so, your pet likely has itchy or irritated paw pads. If your dog continues to lick and chew at their paws they will only increase the problem.
A normal amount of paw licking is nothing to worry about, as this is part of a dog’s natural grooming process. BUT, if you notice your dog doing it all of the time something is bothering them.
Other signs of irritated or itchy dog paws include dry, red, rough or cracked paw pads. In some cases, the itchiness is reserved to the paws, while in other dogs the itchy skin may extend to other areas.
Why Are Dog Paw Pads So Sensitive?
Your dog sweats from two places, their nose and their paw pads. That means your dog’s paws are moist and bare, exposing them to a lot of potential allergens, pesticides and other landscaping chemicals.
In the winter, salts used as deicers present a problem for sensitive dog paws. In the summer, your dog’s bare paws race through grasses, lakes, leaves, mud and more. Imagine taking a moist cloth and running it over these same environments, chances are the cloth would get very dirty looking as well as contaminated with bacteria. Your dog’s paws are no different. Despite their natural durability, paw pads need a little extra TLC to keep them free of issues.
How To Determine The Cause Of Your Dog’s Itchy Paws
In order to determine the cause of your dog’s irritated, itchy paw pads here are a few questions to consider:
1. What Breed Is Your Dog?
Certain dog breeds are more prone to paw issues than others, such as Labrador retrievers, poodles, Chihuahuas, terriers, and Maltese. Working dogs that are highly alert and more prone to stress are at a greater risk for paw licking, such as greyhounds, cattle dogs and Dalmatians.
2. When Did You First Notice The Problem?
If you have noticed your dog licking at their paws since they were very young it could be a hereditary trait, as paw licking tends to run in the family. If your dog starts licking their paw pads excessively out of nowhere, it’s likely a new life style or dietary exposure that is causing irritation.
3. When Does Your Dog Lick Their Paws The Most?
Notice when your dog does the most licking, is it when they are left alone, or after they play outside? This can help you determine the cause of your dog’s licking and chewing, and if it is a nervous habit or a response to a certain exposure. Write down your observations to help determine if it is seasonal, as well as what activities make it worse.
4. Is It All Paws Or Just One?
If your dog is only licking one paw the problem is likely isolated to this one paw. It might be a deep cut, or a foreign object trapped beneath the paw pad. You may need to carefully shave away some hair in order to identify the issue.
5. Is Your Dog Experiencing Other Health Issues?
Paw licking can be a part of a larger health issue. Make sure you don’t notice any other signs of irritation, such as an ear infection, hair loss, musty odors, excessive sneezing, rashes or abnormal eye discharge. Taking your dog to the vet for a general health check up is always advised to ensure your dog is healthy.
Treat your dog to a spa day made for canines with a paw soak. Soaking your dog’s paws is a good idea even if they do not have itchy paws, simply because it helps remove any potential containments they may come into contact with while out on a walk or playing in the yard. Irritants can also be found in the house, for example certain abrasive floor cleaners.
Regular foot soaks can help ease your dog’s discomfort and stop the obsessive non-stop licking. A sink or shower makes the perfect place for a paw soak.You can also use a kid’s plastic pool, a large bucket or whatever you have available.
Add povidone iodine or Betadine® solution to the water, as this is a natural non-toxic, non-abrasive, antifungal, antiviral that is very effective at disinfecting paws.
Have your dog walk around the tub, or soak each paw in a bucket for around 30 seconds before removing and drying all paws off with a towel.
You can also soak a cloth in water and iodine and then wrap around the paws for approximately 2 minutes before removing and drying. Research has found that soaking dog paws is far more effective than simply rubbing with a moist cloth, or quickly dunking paws in water.
Protect Your Dog’s Precious Paw Pads Every Day Of The Year
A paw soak will remove potential bacteria or funguses growing between your dog’s paws, but you still need to moisten, smooth and strengthen the paws somehow to prevent future reoccurrences.
Natural Dog Company now carries a complete line of all natural, organic products made to soothe irritated, rough and itchy dog paws.
Paw Soother and PawTector are easy to apply and fast acting. Paw Soother instantly goes to work soothing rough, itchy paw pads, turning them smooth and healthy within as little as a few applications. Paw Soother will also protect your dog’s paws against future exposures by providing an extra barrier.
We recommend starting with Paw Soother. Once your dog’s paws are smooth and healthy, PawTector will keep them this way. PawTector is made with less soothing properties in exchange for more barrier protection, granting smooth paw pads the added defense they need in winter and summer.