If you notice your dog has been a little too enthusiastic about paw licking, the first step is to find out why. Remember that this is a manifestation of several medical conditions that have very different treatment strategies, so playing a guessing game might prolong your pooch’s discomfort.
Getting a definitive diagnosis is the first step to stop your dog’s paws from itching, and that means taking a trip to the vet!
What To Expect At The Vet
Your vet will ask you questions about your pooch to find out if your dog has been exposed to factors linked to paw licking. To help them out, think back on any special events that precipitated the behavior.
Then your vet will examine your dog’s paws visually and via palpation. They will check all four paws, regardless of which among those is the reason for the visit.
Laboratory tests are often necessary if the suspected cause is an infection. There are ways to determine if it’s bacterial, fungal, or parasitic in nature. More complex tests are needed for allergies, autoimmune diseases, hormone imbalances, and others.
The treatment is based on the diagnosis.
If the problem is bacterial in nature, the vet will instruct you how to treat your dog’s infected paws at home with oral or topical antibiotics.
If the problem is a foreign body or a wound, your vet will advise you what to spray on your dog’s paws to stop licking and keep it clean.
If the problem is contact with an allergen, the vet may prescribe a special diet and close observation to see if it improves. And the list goes on.
Paw licking must be avoided to allow the area to heal.
Elizabethan collars, bandages, and anti-itch medications may be used. On top of that, limiting exercise is often advised.