Dogs Licking Paws till Bleeding, Red, Limping, at Night

Dogs Licking Paws

A pet that nibbles and licks its paws is likely to be suffering irritation, pain, boredom or stress. In some, it could be a combination of these. Since some are a result of generalized itchy skin problems, they can be solved quite easily at home. However, some may require the intervention of a professional. We explore dogs licking paws causes, treatments, home remedies and how to get rid of accompanying swelling, redness, and bleeding.

Dogs Licking Paws

What does it mean when your dog licks their paws? Dogs groom themselves by licking. It is therefore normal grooming behavior. If this, however, becomes a constant and obsessive behavior, it is an indication that something is wrong. Additional symptoms that show there is a problem with the dogs licking paws tendency are inflammation, swelling, and redness. Where the licking is extremely severe, bleeding, redness and raw skin may be observed. Below we discuss the various causes of these.

Causes of Dogs Licking Paws Constantly, a lot, Excessively,

Dogs can lick their paws for what may appear like non-stop durations. It can get annoying when you are trying to fall asleep at night but your dog won’t let you due to their loud paw licking. There are different causes of dogs licking paws constantly and excessive. To adopt the best technique in stopping the behavior, it is important to know why your pet is doing this a lot. Here are some of the causes.

Genetic Predisposition

Although any dog could exhibit excessive paw licking behavior, it is more apparent in some specific breeds. According to, certain breeds of dogs are predisposed to paw problems. These include Labrador retrievers, poodles, Maltese, terriers, and Chihuahuas.

Alert working breeds are also known to relieve stress by over-grooming and constant paw licking. These include Dalmatians, greyhounds and cattle dogs.


It is possible for a dog to have allergic reactions to things it gets into contact with through the paws. This is more so if the paw licking behavior occurs when they return from a walk or some play time in the yard.

The reverse could also be true: the licking could reduce when they are out of the house in case something from the surrounding irritates them. Dog contact allergies and irritants need to be identified and eliminated for the dogs licking paws to stop.


This is a common cause for general discomfort and itch in dogs. Fleas result in itchy skin and staph infections at times. The effects of flea bites on dog’s skin can be felt even long after the fleas are no longer on the paws. The presence of moving fleas could also trigger excessive paw licking and biting. To alleviate this and get rid of the discomfort, get rid of the fleas.


Boredom in your dog can lead to their engaging in tendencies that may harm them. Just like your pet may relieve pent-up energy by chewing on furniture, dogs licking paws may be a way of relieving boredom.

Where your dog engages in constant paw licking when he is unoccupied, engage him in fun activities to curb this self-harming behavior. You could engage them in activities that will keep them engaged for longer. Play with them, have them interact with family members and employ positive reinforcement techniques.


Individual pet temperament can have a bearing on their behavior. Frustration in your pup may see them licking paws excessively. Active breeds may require a little more stimulating activities than laid-back breeds. Where this is not provided for them, they may result in excessive grooming. This is also observed in less mobile dogs such as those suffering from obesity and arthritis.


The most common signs of infections on dog paws include redness, pain, swelling, the presence of sores, abnormal odor and limping. When dog’s licking paws becomes persistent, the resulting dampness could also escalate the situation. As a result, a simple swelling may develop into a full-blown infection the more your pet nibbles and licks on the paws.

While topical treatments may appear like a reasonable solution, they are not as they end up being licked off before their effect is maximized. Treating infections on paws in situations where the dog is licking them is best done with oral antibiotics.

Toenail and Joint Problems

Some dogs are stubborn in getting their nails groomed. Other times the pet owners are scared of carrying out the task. Where these situations result in overgrown toenails, the joints of the toes could begin to twist. It is also likely for ingrown toenails to occur where the nails spiral back into the paw. These are not only uncomfortable but painful as well. In severe situations, infections could also result. Your dog may find solace in licking their paws a lot in a bid to ease the pain discomfort.

Dogs Licking Paws Red until Bleeding and Raw

There are many reasons why a dog’s feet may be red. These include allergic reactions, injury from trauma, parasites, fleas, infections as well as biting. Depending on the cause, one, some or all the feet may be involved. These conditions come with some element of discomfort which could be mere irritation, pain or itch. To ease these, the dog will result in licking.

In some cases though, the situation may be reversed where the licking leads to redness and bleeding. Dogs licking paws until red could be caused by psychological issues. A dog that is suffering boredom, anxiety or stress could lick the foot to a point where it becomes red and raw. The cause has to be identified and dealt with for the behavior to stop.

Dog Licking Paws and Limping

Dogs usually limp when they are in pain. The pain may be as a result of paw injuries, joint diseases, and trauma. A dog licking paws and limping is simply trying to get relief from the associated pain. This should serve as a signal that all is not okay with your pet’s leg.

Another cause of limping could be issued in the dog’s webbing. There could be something lodged in the area or your pet could have suffered a tear. The presence of cystic masses could cause limping too. The dog will, as a result, lick the area to try to remove the object. In the case of a physical object, its removal should solve the issue. Check if it is something you can deal with at home and if not, such as in cases where there are growths and tumors, call in your veterinarian.

Dog Keeps Licking Paws at Night

Have you been trying to catch some sleep but won’t because of the dog excessively licking paws at night? Well, this is common. In most cases, it is as a result of allergic reactions which could be triggered by something around where your dog is sleeping. It could be caused by detergent used to clean their bedding, pollen from outside among other allergens. Use some Benadryl as a short-term relief and for immediate treatment. After that find out what the allergen is and eliminate it to stop the night time paw licking.

Dog Licking Paws Remedies – How to Stop Dog from Licking Paws

In case you are wondering how to stop a dog from licking paws constantly, there are varied treatment solutions. Their appropriateness is dependent on the cause. Since the reason why your pooch is engaging in this behavior could be a combination of causes discussed above, you may have to use more than one of the dog licking paws remedies discussed below.

Lifestyle Adjustments

There are some changes in the dog’s lifestyle that could help halt the excessive licking. In case you suspect food allergies, try home cooked meals and eliminate whatever they may be allergic to. In case your dog started licking after a change in detergent or some fabrics in the house, try and return to earlier settings and see if the irritation stops. Taking your dog for a walk or playing with them can also help in eliminating boredom. In case you recently moved houses, try to see if anything in the environment could be irritating the paws and get rid of it.

Dog Socks

Dog socks can help prevent excessive paw licking. Your pet will find it unappealing to lick on fabric and in case they do, they will not be harming the paws directly. This helps prevent raw paws that may result from the nibbling and licking. These are also appropriate where infections are developing as they will give time for the healing process. In case you settle for these, change them frequently so as they do not become damp and contaminate the paws.


Antihistamines can help resolve irritations especially those resulting from allergic reactions in dogs. Benadryl is known to be a great relief and will generally discourage. Your veterinarian could also give tranquilizers or sedatives to make your dog sleep more in case of severe licking, rawness, and infections. Discuss the same with them.

Foot Soaks

To help cool of the dog’s paws, you can make use of homemade foot soak remedies. These can be targeted as dealing with the cause. Baking soda foot soak can help get rid of inflammation, itchiness as well as irritation. Foot soaks are also a great way on how to stop dogs licking paws when they come in the form a walk. They will help to eliminate allergens and irritants as well as prevent any allergic reactions.

Medicated Shampoos

These are perfect for itch related paw licking. Shampoos containing corticosteroids can help. Clean your dog as normal and while at the paws massage the shampoo in. rinse off your dog and pat him dry. Where any product is left to dry, on the skin, ensure you bandage or make the dog wear socks to prevent it from being licked off.


Where your dog develops infections on the paws out of the licking, antiseptics and antibiotics can help. In case you settle for topical dogs paw licking treatments, use them together with the socks discussed above to ensure they don’t lick it off. Also, try and find out what the causes of the infections are and resolve them to avoid recurrence.

Behavior Modification Techniques

Where dogs licking paws is excessive and no remedies employed at home seem to help, you may need to engage a professional behaviorist. Engage one so they can help you know what techniques can help your dog.

While the treatments for dogs licking paws discussed above are bound to work, always seek the help of a veterinarian whenever in doubt. The same should apply where the behavior remains persistent even after vigorous home treatment.


1 Comment

  1. I have a pit bull who started licking & chewing on an old scar on her foot.She’s started to open it & I’m trying to keep her from opening it more? What do I do?

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