You may have noticed your dog occasionally licking their paws. This can be entirely normal and just part of their self-cleaning routine. However, if your dog’s paw licking is almost obsessive, which is causing fur loss and irritated paws, there may be more to it than just their daily spruce-up. There are a number of reasons for excessive paw licking, read on to find out more.
It is always important to eliminate this possible cause; it could be fleas or harvest mites which are common from Summer to Autumn. These are tiny mites (Trombicula autumnalis), red or light brown in colour, that live in vegetation and can irritate the skin when they attach themselves and inject their digestive enzymes. There are no licensed medicines for the treatment of harvest mites however please speak to your vet as some licensed flea treatments may help. To reduce the irritation ensure you are giving your dog skin and coat supplements. We recommend the following herbal products for dogs to help:
Given for the symptomatic relief of minor infections and to support the immune system. The antiseptic, anti-viral and antibiotic properties are perfect for calming irritated areas.
The combination of watercress, celery seed, horseradish, celery plant and parsley accompany Garlic & Fenugreek Tablets to combat the itch!
A skin allergy can manifest itself in paw licking. The causes of this can be external (such as pollen or grasses) or internal (food allergy). This should be treated in the same way as any skin condition; we recommend following our 4-step plan. This addresses food, grooming, sleeping and the licensed herbal pet remedies for relieving skin condition symptoms. For external triggered allergies, try to identify the cause and ensure you avoid the irritants above, and wash down your dog after walks. Using a lick-safe dog friendly paw balm for paw allergies will also protect and repair sore or cracked paws. For internal allergies such as food issues, you may need to consider an elimination diet.
When a dog licks or chews it stimulates the release of endorphins, and these ‘happy hormones’ can help reduce stress levels and calm your dog. If your dog is feeling anxious this behaviour can become almost addictive and obsessive. Try to work out what is the source on the anxiety; could it be a new member of the household? builders working next door? age related stress? owner leaving for work? to name a few. Try to distract your dog and break the routine if they always tend to show this behaviour in a specific place or at a specific time. Scullcap & Valerian Tablets for dogs are the perfect natural choice to reduce anxiety and help your dog feel more relaxed at home. Give daily for a minimum of one month.
Ensure your dog is properly exercised and stimulated. Dogs which are traditionally from working backgrounds such as collies, spaniels, poodles, huskies or terriers can get bored easily if they are not stimulated mentally as well as physically. Try varying your walk to new areas which have a whole different set of smells and noises or try running with your dog. Do some basic obedience training or teach your dog a trick – you’ll be amazed how much your dog will enjoy this and tire them out!
Although not nice to think of, if dogs are suffering from pain, often, paw licking or chewing is a way of dealing with the discomfort. So do monitor your dog and see if there are any other symptoms which could indicate a medical issue. A quick vet visit is a good way of putting your mind at rest.
Garlic & Fenugreek Tablets, Green Releaf Tablets and Oatmeal Advance Dog Shampoo are 3 of our top recommended products if your dog is suffering from irritated skin or cracked paws.
Please remember, you should always consult a vet if you are concerned about your pet’s health.