Excessive Paw Licking: Causes and Remedies

Excessive paw licking in dogs can be a cause for concern, but there are several possible reasons and remedies available. Common causes include allergies, pododermatitis, and interdigital cysts. In a video by Veterinary Secrets, Dr. Jones explains how to identify why your dog is licking their paws and offers effective home remedies. By addressing the underlying issues and using natural remedies like licorice root or an antibacterial foot soak, you can help alleviate your dog’s discomfort and reduce excessive paw licking.

If you’re tired of seeing your dog constantly licking their paws, it’s essential to understand the reasons behind this behavior and take appropriate action. Allergies, whether food or flea-related, are often a primary cause. Dr. Jones recommends licorice root as a natural corticosteroid to combat the itching and licking. Additionally, photodermatitis, inflammation or infection in the foot pads, can contribute to excessive paw licking. By utilizing a concoction of nettle or green tea, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and lavender essential oil, you can create an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory soak to soothe your dog’s paw discomfort.

Causes of Excessive Paw Licking

Excessive paw licking in dogs can be a sign of underlying health issues. There are several possible causes for this behavior, including dog allergies, pododermatitis, and interdigital cysts. In this article, we will explore each of these causes in detail and discuss the best home remedies and preventative measures for dealing with excessive paw licking.

Dog Allergy

Allergies are a common cause of excessive paw licking in dogs. Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to a variety of things including certain foods, environmental allergens, and fleas. When a dog is allergic to something, it often manifests as constant paw licking or chewing, particularly on the front paws. Allergic reactions can cause the paws to become inflamed, red, and itchy.

To address the issue of excessive paw licking due to allergies, herbal remedies can be effective. One recommended herbal remedy is licorice root tincture. Licorice root is known for its natural corticosteroid properties, which can help to reduce itching and inflammation. For a 20-pound dog, a standard dose of about half a milliliter of licorice root tincture, taken twice daily for 10 to 14 days, can often provide relief.


Pododermatitis is another common cause of excessive paw licking in dogs. This condition refers to inflammation and infection between the foot pads. It can cause redness, swelling, and discomfort for the dog. Pododermatitis can be caused by factors such as bacteria or yeast growth on the skin, or even irritation from walking on certain surfaces.

A natural soak can be a helpful home remedy for pododermatitis. This soak can be made using ingredients such as nettle leaf or green tea, vanilla tea, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and lavender essential oil. These ingredients have antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe the affected area and promote healing. The soak should be applied to the paws two to three times a day for about five minutes, ideally for seven to ten days.

Interdigital Cyst

Interdigital cysts are small lumps or cysts that can develop between the digits of a dog’s foot. These cysts are typically the result of bacterial infection and can cause discomfort and irritation for the dog. Dogs with interdigital cysts may exhibit excessive paw licking as a response to the discomfort.

Treating interdigital cysts often requires the use of antibiotics to eliminate the bacterial infection. However, natural antibacterial supplements, such as olive leaf extract, can also be effective. Olive leaf extract is known for its potent antibacterial properties. For a dog with interdigital cysts, a dose of one to two milligrams of olive leaf extract per pound of body weight per day, taken for 10 to 14 days, can help to clear up the infection.

Home Remedies for Excessive Paw Licking

In addition to the specific remedies mentioned for each cause, there are a few general home remedies that can help alleviate excessive paw licking in dogs. Herbal tinctures, such as licorice root tincture, can be beneficial in reducing itching and inflammation. Additionally, using an antibacterial soak, or an antifungal soak if necessary, can help to cleanse the paws and provide relief. These soaks can be made using ingredients such as nettle or green tea, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and lavender essential oil. It is recommended to soak the paws two to three times a day for about five minutes, following the specific soak recipe for the chosen remedy. The duration of the treatment varies depending on the cause, but generally, a period of seven to ten days is recommended.

Preventative Measures for Paw Licking

Preventing excessive paw licking in dogs involves maintaining a clean environment, regular grooming, and considering dietary factors. Keeping your dog’s living area clean and free from allergens can help reduce the risk of allergic reactions. Regular grooming, including trimming the hair between the foot pads, can prevent the buildup of bacteria or yeast in that area. Additionally, considering your dog’s diet and potential food allergies can be important in preventing excessive paw licking. Working with a veterinarian to determine if there are any dietary changes that need to be made can help address this issue.

Consulting with a Veterinarian

If your dog’s excessive paw licking persists or worsens despite home remedies and preventative measures, it is important to seek professional help from a veterinarian. They can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options based on the underlying cause. It is essential to follow up with any prescribed care and continue monitoring your dog’s paw health to ensure a full recovery.


Excessive paw licking in dogs can be a sign of underlying health issues, such as allergies, pododermatitis, or interdigital cysts. Understanding the cause of the excessive licking is crucial in order to provide the most effective treatment. Herbal remedies, such as licorice root tincture, and natural soaks can provide relief and promote healing. It is also important to take preventative measures, such as maintaining a clean environment and considering dietary factors, to prevent further paw licking. Consulting with a veterinarian is always recommended to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. By addressing the root cause of excessive paw licking and providing appropriate care, you can help your dog find relief and maintain paw health.

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