Itchy Pet Paws

March 15, 2023 in Pets

We all want our pets to feel their best. That's why we schedule regular preventative care visits and pay attention to signs of distress. One of those tell-tale signs for dogs? Excessive paw-licking.

It's normal - and healthy - for dogs to groom their paws regularly. Licking is easy for dogs to remove dirt, dust, and anything else that causes discomfort after running around.

But a dog that licks his paws excessively may be trying to tell you that something else is causing discomfort. If you notice your dog is more focused on his paws than normal (for example, over an hour at a time) and you wonder why is my dog licking his paws, it's a good idea to investigate further.

Itchy Pet Paws

What causes itchy dog paws?

  • Foreign object or injury. An injured paw pad isn't uncommon if your furry friend has been running around outside. A minor cut or embedded foreign object can cause discomfort and itching, leading to excessive licking.
  • Allergies. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from many different allergies. Both food and seasonal allergies can cause itchy skin, and this can be especially evident in paw pads.
  • Skin irritation or infection. A dog paw infection can result from excessive chewing or licking of paw pads that are already inflamed. A condition like pododermatitis can develop after allergies or another irritant cause a flare-up.
  • Fungal infection. Because paws are tight spaces, it's easy for a fungal infection to grow and cause discomfort there. A yeast infection can cause odor, itching, and general discomfort.

Itchy paw remedies

Many dog itching remedies can help your pet get some relief.

1. Bathe and Soothe

If you think dirt, dust, or other contaminants could contribute to your dog itchy paws, regularly wipe their paws after playtime with a non-irritating cleansing wipe or damp cloth. This has the benefit of removing potential environmental allergens, as well. You could also cleanse their paws with a soothing shampoo.

After getting your dogs' paws wet, do your best to let them air dry completely. The less moisture, the less likely they are to develop something more serious.

2. Natural Remedies

There are also natural remedies that can be soothing for itchy paws. One benefit is that you probably already have many ingredients around the house.

An oatmeal bath can be soothing for inflamed, itchy skin. You can purchase oatmeal shampoos or pre-made solutions for this purpose, or you can use your mixture - it's as simple as grinding up sugar-free oatmeal and mixing it with water to form a paste. An alcohol-free aloe vera gel is also a good remedy for painful paws. Applied directly, it should give your furry pal quick relief from burning sensations.

3. Medical Treatment

If your pup is still struggling with itchy paws after trying some natural solutions at home, it may be time for an exam to see if he needs medical treatment. During the exam, your vet can determine whether your dog is dealing with a simple skin irritant or something more.

If your dog is dealing with an infected area in their paw, an antibiotic might be prescribed to quickly clear up any issues. For dogs suffering from fungal infections in their paws, like a common yeast infection, the vet may prescribe an antifungal cream or shampoo to bring the infection under control. Your vet will determine the best approach for your dog's overall health.

4. Allergy Treatments

If your vet determines that your dog's itchy paws stem from allergies, you may treat the allergy in hopes of clearing up those symptoms.

For potential food allergies, changing your dog's food may bring relief. Starting with a hypoallergenic diet (a diet that is unlikely to cause allergic reactions) and gradually reintroducing ingredients will often reveal the culprit(s). Your vet may prescribe oral or injectable medications for seasonal allergies that can soothe allergies and symptoms.

Forever Vets can provide quick answers if your dog doesn't stop licking or biting at her paws. Reach out to book an appointment and get some solutions today.