Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws? A Natural Approach

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Is your dog one of the many dogs that struggle with excessive paw licking? Is it seasonal or year-round licking? Do you think it’s allergies or have you been told it is allergies? The truth is that the term “allergies” is a catch-all term that means we don’t really know for sure what is causing your dog to lick their paws. Keep reading, relief is on the way.

Table of Contents

One of the immediate reasons could be environmental. Reactions to something environmental may be “a problem” but not “the problem.” There is a difference! It could also be food-based or ingredient intolerance, but this is truly rare and never at the root of the real problem. There are more reasons that explain paw licking as a “symptom” to a secondary problem. Other secondary problems of “allergies” that result from excessive paw licking is that dogs can develop yeast, bacteria or fungi overgrowth. Ever see a dog with white feet with red staining between the toes? 

A dog’s transition to relief from paw-licking with Origins Canine 5 in 1 from Rogue Pet Science
(On the left) This dog was licking his feet raw. (On the right) After 4 weeks on Origins Canine 5 in 1, his feet have healed without changing his food, medication or special shampoo. This dog’s name is Bullet and his humans live in the Netherlands just outside of Amsterdam.

Your Dog Could Be Licking Their Paws Due To Stress

In many cases the dogs lick their feet because of stress. Most owners end up in what seems like an endless cycle of food changes or expensive medication with shots and/or pills to manage the issue. Some see improvement, but a lot don’t! Sure, you might get a result by changing food, but for the most part it will not last and owners will be wondering why did it stop working? Did the company change the formula? Then the cycle of chasing down a solution starts all over. This might manage the problem you see, but not the root of the issue that you can’t see.  

The Immune System & The GI Tract Connection

Some factors that cause dogs to lick their feet are known and controllable, while other factors are not as easily managed. So, what can we do? We can start by understanding that all of these factors are managed by a system of networks in your dog’s body, mainly the immune system via the GI Tract. Origins Canine 5 in 1 Supplement is an engineered gut health promoter to help the GI tract by supporting your pet’s bodily systems to do what it does best…manage the stress load!

How Allergies Are Viewed In Dogs

By viewing allergies in a slightly different way, we can explain why small changes (i.e. food, shampoo, creams, meds) work, often only for a short time, before coming back. Or the change or treatment didn’t work at all, which happens a lot! 

Various allergies allegedly impact a quarter of all dogs in the United States. But allergies are also the scape-goat answer to explain away:

  • Dogs licking paws
  • Hot-spots
  • Biting & itching
  • Secondary infections
  • Hair loss, skin conditions
  • Yeast infections (ears, feet & body)
  • Excessive shedding
  • Intestinal issues and much more!

Unfortunately, commonly suggested solutions — food changes, bathing, oatmeal shampoo, medication, energized crystal waters — only attempt to attack a system level problem with a pointed single symptom approach. The analogy would be, trying to dam a river to stop the flow of water by adding one pebble at a time. Thankfully, veterinarians are finally changing their views on pet health to address the root cause.

How should we view allergies? You guessed it, with a gut health mindset, the epicenter of total stress management control!

Total Stress Management For Dogs

Imagine that every day, many things add a little bit of water to a cup, the cup being the total stress the body can manage before you add too much and it overflows. The water that overflows the cup is a symptom showing up in your dog, like the licking of the feet.

The more the cup overflows the harder it is to get things back under the threshold where a symptom will go away, instead, progressing to major outward problems. Total stress management is critical. Balancing out and or removing negative stress additive factors is how owners can provide relief to allergy-related issues like paw licking. Easier said than done… or is it?

What Are The Sources of Stress?

STRESS SOURCESYSTEM IMPACT
Seasonal changesWarming/Cooling cycles can easily add stress by drying the skin that can cause minor itching/irritation from the outside. Seasonal viruses and bacteria are a factor that can negatively impact the dog’s immune system via multiple pathways (respiratory, oral, GI tract). This all adds to more stress on the total system work load.
Water quality Chemicals and trace levels of antibiotics in water negatively impact the microbes and local gut environment, which collectively alters and hinders the balance with long term negative impacts. This favors a “bad” microbe population which also adds stress to the dog’s total system.

Dry & Processed Food Items 
(snacks, treats, etc. )



These can cause low to mild immune response in the GI tract and add additional workload to the immune system to manage on top of everything else.

Injuries

Bodily injuries elevate the immune system, repair mechanisms, and create additional caloric needs to support the repair while supporting the immune response, which has a draining effect on the total system. Mostly it opens the door to attack for opportunistic issues (i.e. mites, yeast, genetic/autoimmune, etc.)

Aging

As your dog ages, the natural reduction of immune response rate and bodily system efficiencies create vulnerability, which indirectly adds stress from a management point of not keeping up.

Exercise

Not enough exercise or too much adds stress in different ways. Some amount of metabolic stress will help keep the immune system, thus the body, responsive while clearing away waste build-up; but excessive exercise drastically raises metabolic activities and creates up-regulated stress response from micro-trauma of the muscles. Too much exercise with an already over stressed system is a bad combination.

Medications

Nearly all medication has a negative impact on the GI Tract. Antibiotics have a larger negative impact on the good microbes, which changes the gut environment and will lower the immune supporting defenses they give. Antacids also have a negative impact on the lining if the intestinal tract, which directly injures the intestinal lining cells allowing pro-inflammatory events.

Real allergies

Adds immune system stress and requires additional calories to run an elevated immune response.

What Can Dog Owners Do To Help?

There are things you can do and give to support your dog’s natural stress management system.

  1. MEASURE THEIR FOOD: with a real MEASURING CUP, AND FEED AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE TO MAINTAIN A HEALTH BODY WEIGHT. If feeding a kibble food, choosing a moderately priced kibble that they seem to do well on is a great starting point. (Overfeeding might be the biggest issue contributing to allergies that we come across.)
  2. Add highly digestible forms of real food: and reduce the amount of kibble. Add raw, freeze dried, cooked. 
  3. Add digestive enzymes: to further enhance digestive efficiencies of kibble. LOW DIGESTIBILITY OF KIBBLE IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CONTRIBUTING FACTORS TO STRESS FROM FOOD. (See just add water article from our dog food hack series here: https://roguepetscience.com/2017/08/12/dog-food-hack-1-just-add-water/)
  4. Support a healthy gut: With Probiotics, pre-biotics, fatty acids, and highly digestible nutrition. (Origins 5in1 Supplement is the only COMPLETE systems approach product doing this for owners and their pets)
  5. Stop all other food/supplements: Until you have gotten things under control and, then, add things back in one at a time to see if they are adding benefit to your dog’s health. IF IT’S NOT ADDING, IT’S SUBTRACTING. Understanding that no noticed improvement should be an assumed negative until you have removed all inputs, got things under control, and started re-introducing inputs to test impacts one by one. Less could be so much more and save you lots of money in the long run.
  6. Exercise:  This one can go in either direction. Too much exercise can add stress and too little can cause stress of the opposite type. Often too little means that you are overfeeding despite the bag recommendations. This can cause a cascade of negative metabolic consequences. Exercise is super important to metabolic function and the use of nutrition. Without good stress created from healthy amounts of exercise our body does not have a need for the food we are consuming and what it can do with that food becomes less and less efficient leading to undesirable outcomes. Adversely over-exercise without proper rest and nutritional compensations, based on workload, can also have undesirable effects on metabolic function. This is going to require an owner take an honest assessment of their dog’s activity level and test if what they are doing is helping or hurting. Maybe your dog is older and maybe willing and able to run a sport 5 nights a week, but if you are seeing health issues that may not appear to be related to the activity, reducing them to 3 days a week or 2 days and seeing if things improve might be a cheap solution to fixing a health issue. To be clear the only negative impact over-exercising can have on your pet and what those negative health impacts are appearing as is not simply visual injuries…..
  7. NOT OVER REACTING TO CERTAIN ISSUES: Especially loose stools, rash, hives. You have to decide if it’s an emergency and needs vet attention, but if your first reaction is to add something in you might try a 24 hour fast first. Fasting for stomach issues, and rashes, is well documented. It turns out that bad gut bacteria that might be causing the issue replicate at a faster rate and require food to do that. But that also means they die off quicker than the good guys in the absence of food. Throwing fiber in as a first reaction could get you a firm stool, but it could also be adding fuel to a fire. Similarly running antibiotics could be bringing a bazooka to a situation that required a toothpick. Again, this is not a substitute for getting your dog proper veterinary care, but something that might be worth considering.
  8. Once a day feeding: Many adult dogs are enormously benefited from once a day feeding. (puppies and growing dogs need more frequent feeding)  Highly processed food like kibble has a longer digestion time. This means that if food is a contributing factor to over-stress of the dogs system feeding twice a day pretty much guarantees 24 hours of stress on their system, where once a day reduces that by half giving 12 hours for the body to prioritize resources for stress management in other areas. Plus see point one, there is a good chance with treats, chews, etc.,. you are actually constantly feeding and depending on quality and digestibility of those items this can be a big area with a lot of room for knocking down inputs of stress on your dog’s system.
Origins canine supplement from Rogue Pet Science

Other Reasons Why Your Dog Is Licking His/Her Paws

These are some of the most common causes for why your dog is licking their paws constantly:

They’re in Pain

If the paw licking starts suddenly, it can indicate that they’re in pain, especially if it seems like your dog is focusing on a specific paw. In these cases, the pain could be caused by almost anything, including bug bites, small wounds, thorns, or embedded items like a piece of glass.

If you think this is the cause of your dog’s paw licking, you should take them to visit your vet, even if you can’t see anything in their paw; it could be a muscle strain, fracture, or inflammation, especially if they begin limping in addition to licking their paws.

It Could Be a Yeast Infection

Chronic paw licking most commonly gets attributed to allergies, which can come from pretty much anything, but it could also be from a yeast infection.

If it’s not regular allergies, and you suspect that your dog might have a yeast infection, causing them to lick their paws constantly, their diet may be to blame. Oftentimes, if a yeast infection is causing the problem, you can solve it simply by switching your dog to high-quality, nutritious dog food or even supplementing their diet with a healthy dog food topper.

GI Issues

Gastrointestinal (GI) issues are another common cause for dogs who excessively lick their paws. This study found that a majority of dogs who showed signs of excessive licking had a gastrointestinal abnormality. If you suspect this is the problem, it’s essential to have your dog examined by a veterinarian to ensure that there isn’t a more significant issue contributing to your dog’s paw licking.

They Could Be Bored

Particularly in high-energy breeds, dogs can become frustrated and even destructive when they get bored, which can lead to them licking or chewing on their paws. If you think your dog might be bored, here’s how you can help:

  • Don’t leave them home alone for longer than absolutely necessary.
  • When they are home alone, give them puzzle toys or treat-filled ones to keep them occupied.
  • Give them adequate amounts of play and exercise throughout the day.
  • Take them for a walk when you have time.
  • Allow them to socialize with other dogs and people.
  • Don’t tie them up in the yard or keep them confined to a kennel.

They Might Be Anxious

Many dogs that are anxious seek relief by licking their paws excessively. Anxiety issues in dogs can come from anything from obsessive-compulsive disorders to separation issues. Dogs who lick their paws constantly are akin to humans who compulsively bite their nails when they get anxious. 

In a similar fashion, some dogs simply lick their paws because it’s soothing and calming to them. If they only lick their paws before bedtime to help them fall asleep, and it doesn’t cause any problems like swelling or redness, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about.

Displacement Behavior

Excessive paw licking could also be a displacement behavior, meaning that it’s something the dog does when they feel uncomfortable. In these cases, the paw licking is your dog displaying these characteristics similar to when a human chews on a pen or twirls their hair. 

Dogs who lick their paws as a displacement behavior are simply showing that they aren’t sure what to do in the current situation, which leads them to lick their paws subconsciously. Some dog owners have had success with practicing impulse control exercises with their dogs to eliminate their paw licking behaviors.

Dry Skin

Dry skin can also cause your dog to lick his or her paws too much. The common causes of dry skin in dogs are:

  • Their breed: Hairless dogs and ones with extremely short hair are more prone to skin conditions than other breeds. Because they don’t get the natural protection that other dog’s hair provides, they can suffer from dry skin.
  • Dry weather: Dry skin is fairly common among dogs who live in dry, cold climates. In these cases, your vet might recommend that you use a natural oil or dog lotion to relieve their itchy, dry skin. Feeding them high-quality vitamins and supplements can also help remedy their dry skin.
  • Bathing habits: If your dog’s dry skin isn’t from their diet, breed, or climate, it could stem from how and how often you bathe them. Specifically, bathing your dog too often and using harsh soaps can dry out their skin, which can lead to them excessively licking their paws.

A Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal imbalances in dogs are typically from them producing too much cortisol or not producing enough of the thyroid hormone. These imbalances can cause your dog to develop skin issues like balding, brittle hair, or itchy red spots. Dogs can’t help but lick those spots, which can lead to a secondary infection down the road. If you think a hormonal imbalance might be causing your dog’s excessive licking, you should take them to see your vet.

They Could Have Fleas or Ticks

When your dog gets fleas or ticks on their body, those areas can become extremely itchy, leading to excessive licking and chewing. It gets even worse for dogs who have flea-related allergies. In these cases, it’s important not only to get rid of the ticks or fleas on your dog but also to ensure that your home and their beds, toys, etc., are free of the bugs.

Wintertime Paw Licking

If your dog only has paw-licking issues in the winter, it could be from a couple of different things:

  • Deicing salts: The salts that get used to melt ice on roadways, sidewalks, and driveways during the winter can burn your dog’s feet, causing them discomfort and leading to excessive licking of their paws to seek relief from the pain.
  • Ice balls: Small balls of ice can get stuck in your dog’s fur and paws, leading to bleeding or cracking of their skin. These issues are quite painful for your dog, and they might start excessively licking their paws in search of relief. Trimming the hair between their toes and pads in the winter can help prevent this problem.
Why Trust Origins Canine 5in1

Origins Canine 5 in 1 Is The Solution For Dog’s Licking Paws

So now you are armed with some real strategies for fixing your dogs licking paws or allergies. You still face the challenge of sourcing quality products/ingredients, and potentially the cost. Well that’s where Rogue Origins 5in1 Supplement can help. For so many dogs, Origins 5in1 Supplement added to their dietwas enough to make the changes needed to improve licking paws or any allergies. These stress management keys as a system are the foundations of where health and performance should start. Rogue Pet Science created Origins 5in1 Supplement to manage these stress systems as an all-in-one daily food topper.

We have done the work of direct sourcing all ingredients that go into Origins 5in1 Supplement, right here in the USA. We have tested each component and proven that we are getting the best impact possible through a BIOMARKER study. Because we know the power and importance of a systems approach to gut health, we can minimize the cost and not overload the system with negative stress, all while maximizing the desired effects and saving you money and time. We offer a money back guarantee. Put us to the test….We Dare You.

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