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Why does my Dog Lick their Paws?

Has your dog just started licking their paws out of nowhere? Or perhaps they’ve been doing it for a while but now you’ve noticed they’re doing it more?

There can be many reasons why your dogs licking his paws. In this blog, we’ll talk through the most common…. PAIN!

Licking of the paws is not only seen with paw or limb injuries or pain but also with other causes or sites of pain. So it’s not always as clear cut as you might think.

Therefore if your dog is frequently licking at their paws its important to see you vet to identify the root cause.

Paw licking can occur due to-

  • Allergies

  • Skin conditions

  • Injuries to the paw such as cuts or stuck grass seeds or small thorns

  • Knots to the hair of the paws

  • Pain in the paw

  • Pain in the limb

  • Pain in another limb or other part of the body

Luckily there are often other signs that your dog is in pain helping to narrow down the possible causes of paw licking.

So what are the other signs of pain in your dog?

  • Changes in behaviour

  • Reluctance to exercise

  • Decrease appetite

  • Changes in muscle mass

  • Changes in gait and posture

  • Aggression

  • Loss of balance

For more help identifying pain in your dogs check out our chronic pain blog here.

What should I do if my dog is showing signs of pain?

Firstly if you are at all worried that your dog is in pain and you haven’t already received a diagnosis of the cause of pain from your vet you must book an appointment with your local vet.

If you have received a diagnosis for the cause of pain but feel your dog’s pain isn’t being adequately managed there are a number of routes to go down. Often a combination of these approaches works best but the most suitable approach will depend on your dogs own individual cause of pain-

  • Speak with your vet about prescription pain relief

  • Speak with your vet physio about electro and manual therapies that can be used for pain relief

  • Speak with your vet and vet physio about treatments to heal the injury or original cause of pain

  • Speak with your vet physio and hydrotherapist about exercise plans that can be used to prevent future injuries and speed up the healing process

If you’d like more advice about how I as a veterinary physiotherapist can help with your pets pain either drop me a message at or book a free phone call here.

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