How to cure a dog's obsessive paw licking

Written by leigh nichol
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How to cure a dog's obsessive paw licking
Boredom is one of the reasons why a dog will start to chew on their paws. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Dogs who obsessively lick their paws do it for many different reasons but, much like people who cut themselves, licking releases endorphins that are very addicting to the dog. A dog will start to lick its paws for simple reasons, and then it will start to become a habit. Curing obsessive paw licking can be very hard because the meaning behind the obsession usually is not just physical but very emotional.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Veterinarian
  • Leash
  • Dog toys

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  1. 1

    Take your dog to the veterinarian when you notice that his paws are raw from him licking them all the time. Ask your veterinarian to run a blood test on your dog for allergies to see if something is making your dog react and itch.

  2. 2

    Follow the directions your veterinarian gives you very closely. Also begin your own regiment of exercising your dog a lot more. The exercise will release endorphins that perhaps your dog is trying to release through the obsessive paw licking. Keep the exercise up every day.

  3. 3

    Supply you dog with safe toys, bones and rawhides that will keep your dog occupied when you are not at home. The toys will help minimise their boredom.

  4. 4

    Keep your home as stress-free as possible. Try not to yell, always stay cheerful with your pet. Stress can be a main proponent to obsessive paw licking.

  5. 5

    Return to your veterinarian after a few months if all of the above have not helped. Bring a log of everything you have done with your pet. Your veterinarian may have you observe your pet more closely for awhile, or may start you dog on steroids. There is also hydrocodone that will relieve pain and is known as an endorphin replacement. As a last resort, your veterinarian may have to prescribe an antidepressant.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep a daily log of your dog's progress and even take pictures to help your veterinarian understand.
  • Obsessive paw licking can be a very hard habit to break. Try not to lose your patience with your dog, but take your time and take everything one step at a time.

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