Licking His Paws Raw

6 Remedies to Stop Your Dog from Licking His Paws Raw

I am asked dozens of questions each spring and fall about why my dog is constantly licking his paws. Dog owners are also interested in how to stop their dogs from excessively chewing and licking their feet.

Distract the dog, or apply apple cider vinegar on his paws. Your dog is licking his feet to “warn you” of something, according to the advice given. He’s trying to warn you that he has allergies and needs your help.

Pollen allergies are the most common cause of excessive paw licking. Extreme licking is less likely to be caused by parasites, injuries, allergies, and anxiety.

You can stop moderate to soft paw licking by regularly washing your dog’s feet to remove allergens. After a dog has licked its paws, it is necessary to use medication to control the inflammation.

Allergies are the most common reason why dogs lick their paws excessively. Allergens in contact with an abnormal epidermis on a dog’s foot can cause pain, inflammation and itch. The immune system of dogs overreacts to allergens, causing them to itch and lick their feet.

Allergies are believed to be caused by genetics, epidermal barriers, and environmental factors.

How to Stop my dog from licking his paws


When a dog’s feet itch, but no other lesions are present (swellings, sores or scabs), allergies are likely to be the cause. And the symptoms of allergic skin disease usually begin before three years old.

Atopic dermatitis is what veterinarians call a skin allergy in dogs. AD is a tendency that can be inherited to react hypersensitively to allergens. Pollen is the most common allergen, but other substances, such as wool, grass or dust mites, can also cause allergic reactions.

Itchy paws are common in spring and fall. When a dog bites the bottom of its paws, it is usually a mild condition lasting only one to three weeks. Mildly irritated paws usually get better on their own.


  • Paw-chewing on the tops or bottoms of the feet
  • Fur loss between toe pads
  • Fur that is red, pink or blackish
  • The skin between the pads and toes is swollen, red and swollen.
  • Moisture between the pads and toes
  • The smell of popcorn or corn chips is stronger than usual.
  • Walking on gravel can be painful, and you may limp.
  • Other allergy symptoms include itchy, flaky skin, bumps and blemishes; increased black pigmentation; thickened “elephant skin”.

Why do dogs lick the paws of their dog?

According to one theory, certain parts of the dog’s body have more mast cells responsible for fighting invaders. Mast cells are activated when the skin is exposed to an allergen. Researchers discovered that the skin between the dog’s paw pads and the flaps of the ears has more mast cells ( 1).

The feet are also more affected than other body parts. Since they are in direct contact with the earth, feet contact more things. The paws of a dog are like sponges that absorb allergens.

Allergies are the main reason why dogs lick their feet. Allergies occur when skin inflammation cells overreact to environmental substances like pollen. In the skin of a dog’s paws, there is a large concentration of immune cells. Their feet are exposed to allergens which cause an itching sensation.

Secondary Infections

Allergic dermatitis can cause secondary yeast infections. The itch is not caused by yeast, but it can be made worse. Staphylococcus bacteria can cause secondary infections in allergic dogs. It’s not a primary cause, but it can worsen the symptoms.

Tests can be used to identify secondary skin infections. Both the primary allergic reaction and secondary skin infection should be treated at the same time. Ignoring either one will cause your dog to suffer.


It is difficult to diagnose allergies. Other things can cause symptoms similar to allergy symptoms:

  • Ringworm-type fungal infections
  • Demodex mites
  • Secondary infections caused by bacteria and yeast
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Skin cancer

Skin Cytology

To ensure that your vet is not misdiagnosing your dog’s condition, he will likely want to perform some tests. Skin cytology is usually performed on most dogs. This involves applying a piece of clear tape to the affected area. The tape is stained and examined for excessive bacteria or yeast under a magnifying glass.

Skin Scrubbing

Your vet may do a skin scraping to ensure your dog does not have Demodex mites. Demodex can cause serious skin problems in some dogs. Demodex mites are treated differently than allergies. It’s vital to get the correct diagnosis.

Fungal Culture

A fungal culture is required for some dogs to determine if they are infected with ringworm on their feet. The growth of a small sample of hair or skin is monitored over ten days. If your dog is suffering from ringworm, which is actually a fungal infection and not a worm, he’ll need to be treated with special treatment.

Allergy Testing

Your vet must rule out other possible causes of allergy before making a diagnosis. If your vet is confident that your dog has atopic dermatitis, they will recommend allergy testing. This can be done in dogs with blood tests or intradermal testing, which could be better but still helpful. Immunotherapy can be used to desensitize your dog once his specific allergens have been identified (see below for more details).

Skin Biopsy

Some dogs may need a skin biopsy to determine what is causing their foot issues. Your vet will administer a local anesthetic to your dog and sedate him so that he can take a full-thickness skin sample. A veterinary pathologist will examine the sample under a microscope for any abnormalities within the skin’s cells and structure.


Allergens: Identify them and avoid them

Your dog may be experiencing itchy feet due to newly planted trees, shrubs or grass. A veterinary dermatologist can perform an intradermal skin test to determine if the plant in your yard causes your dog to bite and chew on his feet.

Check local pollen reports on the internet to see your dog’s reaction. In my area, spring is dominated by tree pollen, while weeds and grass dominate autumn. You can see it for yourself at

Avoid walking your dog at times when pollen levels are high. The pollen count is highest between 5:00 am and 10:00 am, with a peak at dusk.

We believe that dogs react to allergens on their skin and not only what they inhale when they are outside, but they will still come into contact with them at any time. It’s still best to avoid pollen-heavy times.

It can take a few days for your dog to become accustomed to wearing boots. Don’t be discouraged if you see him do some goose-stepping when you first put them on.

I bought each dog a complete set of RuffWear Griptrex shoes years ago, and they have been very happy with them.

I recommend wearing the little dog’s socks by the same manufacturer under the shoes to prevent friction sores.

The sole of this model is thick enough to protect our dogs from the cactus spines in the neighborhood. RuffWear is the brand I recommend, as most others need to last or stay on well.

It would help if you rinsed your dog’s paws with lukewarm, preferably warm water, at least twice a day. This is especially important after time spent outdoors. I found a great tool that makes this task quick and easy!

Wash entire dog weekly: Davis Pramoxine Anti Itch Dog and Cat Creme Rinse

Davis Pramoxine Anti Itch Dog and Cat Creme Rinse

This Dexas MudBuster paw cleaner is simple but brilliant. This is a large plastic cup that has silicone “fingers”. Fill it to about 3/4 with warm water, then dip your dog’s foot into it. To agitate dirt, twist the cup. To catch any drips, place a towel underneath the foot. Repeat the procedure with the other paws.

This portable dog paw cleaner is perfect for my dog, who has sensitive feet. He doesn’t mind me washing his paws. It’s much faster and easier than washing them in a sink or dishpan.

After a 15-minute walk, I was surprised at how dirty the water had become. Pollen is the reason why my dog is licking its paws.

Wash the entire dog weekly.

Douxo Calm is the shampoo I use. Lather your dog for 10 minutes, and then rinse. Be sure to wash her feet thoroughly. Make sure to clean between the toes, on both the top and bottom of each foot.

Dexas MudBuster Portable Dog Paw

Dexas MudBuster Portable Dog Paw

After washing your dog, apply the leave-on creme with a topical anesthetic such as pramoxine. Apply it between the toes as well as the tops and bottoms.

Prescription Medication

All of the things I have mentioned can be done without prescriptions. You may not need a veterinarian if you can catch the paw-licking early before they turn “raw”.

You may need to consult your veterinarian if the itching and irritation are severe. They can test for health issues and infections that may not be obvious.

In the short-term, anti-inflammatory steroid liquids can prevent a dog from licking its paws. GenOne(r) and Betagen(r) are prescription products that contain betamethasone, a steroid for inflammation, and gentamicin, an antibiotic to kill bacteria. These products are temporarily used while other allergy treatments work.

Vets are used only to have the option of injectable, topical or oral steroids to treat severe itching in pets. But now, we can use a few amazing medicines to stop the itching without any side effects.

Apoquel (r) is a medication to stop your dog from licking its paws. It can be used within hours. The medication is in pill form and should be taken daily during allergy season. The newer anti-itch medicine, Cytopoint (r), is also available in injectable form. Your vet will administer it every 4-8 weeks during the dog’s itch season.

Preventive Maintenance

This section will discuss ways to improve the overall health of your dog. Although we don’t have any clinical studies that support these claims, we know that stress can cause allergies to flare up in humans. If you can reduce your dog’s stress levels, including physical, emotional and nutritional ones, it may be possible to lessen the severity of allergy attacks.

Diet: Improve your diet

Food is one of the best things you can do to improve your dog’s health. There are several ways to make dog food that is healthy and balanced.

Switching to premium dog food in smaller amounts is a great way to improve your game if you feed store-brand foods and store them for months. Instead of buying large bags and storing them in the garage, buy a smaller bag every two weeks. Dry and stale dog food loses its nutritional value because the fats and nutrients are rapidly broken down.

Add some fresh food to your dog’s daily diet. This can be in the form of lean-cooked meats or cooked vegetables and fruits that are safe for dogs. Vet nutritionists recommend feeding your dog up to 25% of their daily diet as fresh food.

Check out my articles about homemade dog food if you want to give your dog more than 25 percent of its diet in fresh foods. Grab your FREE recipe for a balanced, healthy diet at.IT.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. The results of fish oil supplements will be seen later, as they can take up to 8 weeks. Start giving your pet fish oils daily to reduce future flare-ups. I wrote an article on how to give your pet fish oil supplements.

You can also give your dog a commercial food that contains a higher level of omega-3 fats, such as Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach.

Probiotic supplements

The veterinary profession has embraced probiotic supplements as safe and beneficial for many canine conditions. The gut is the largest part of the body’s immune system. The entire body can benefit from introducing friendly bacteria into the gut.

I wrote a whole article on the benefits of probiotics for dogs and how to select a good product.

Rest and exercise better habits

Stress and allergies have been studied extensively in humans and other species. Although the link is not clearly defined, it appears that stress can worsen allergy symptoms in individuals who are susceptible ( 4).

The effects of dog stress are similar to those of human stress. Most dogs’ stress is caused by an inability to express normal behavior. Not enough sleep, outdoor activity or sunshine are all factors that can cause stress.

Please take the time to walk your pet every day. Visit new places with your dog and let him explore the natural world (in a safe manner, of course). Switch off the television, computers and lights at night to allow everyone to sleep in darkness.

Air purification at home

Some dogs are allergic to dust and dust mites. It would help if you washed your dog’s bed linens at least once per month with warm water and then let them dry out in the sun. Do it weekly if he is having an outbreak.

Dust your furniture and vacuum/mop floors at least once per week. Avoid cleaning products and fragrances.

When pollen counts are high, close your windows and doors. Invest in a HEPA-certified air purifier (click on the image below to see what I use at home). You should change your HVAC air filter every six months, depending on the type you use.

Aloe vera gel

Aloe Vera Gel can be used topically to soothe itchy skin. If your dog licks a small amount of aloe, it shouldn’t be a problem. Aloe vera can cause sensitivity in dogs. If your dog’s skin becomes worse after using it, discontinue use.

Tea rinses

Tea rinses have been used for centuries to soothe itchy skin. To make herbal tea, use dried calendula flowers, chamomile flowers, green tea leaves, yellow dock, and nettle.

Add one tablespoon of herb to 1 cup boiling water and steep for 5 minutes. After straining out the herb, let the tea cool completely. Fill a dish and let your dog stand for 5 to 10 minutes in the tea twice daily.

Use a cloth that has been soaked in tea to compress the area twice daily.


Benadryl and other antihistamines can help a dog stop licking its paws. The sooner I give my dogs that itch antihistamines, the less likely they will need stronger medications. Antihistamine should be given to dogs at the first sign of paw-licking and throughout allergy season.

Vets most commonly recommend diphenhydramine, cetirizine and chlorpheniramine for dogs. Consult your vet to ensure your pet can take these medications safely. You can also get a schedule from your vet for the dosage of these medications.

You can read more about it here:

Allergies in dogs usually cause itchy paws. Allergy dogs have overactive inflammatory cells in their foot skin. They react to dust, dust mites and wool.

Many natural and conventional medicines can relieve the itching sensation that makes allergic dogs chew their nails and paws. Preventing your dog from licking its paws is the best way to stop him! Portable foot washers make it easy to wash your dog’s feet frequently.

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