Why do dogs lick their feet?

Dogs lick their feet for a variety of reasons. A dog will spend time cleaning its feet with its tongue especially if it is active outside. Dirt, stones and pieces of wood and other material can become lodged under a dog’s nail and between the pads of its feet.

A splinter or cut can easily become infected if it is not kept clean. A dog must spend time licking its feet to keep them clean. Dogs that spend much time outdoors will have to clean its feet often. Reasons that may cause a dog to lick its feet include stress, boredom and hygiene. Regular exercise and quality time spent with the dog will improve a dogs stress and boredom. Other causes that can make a dog lick its feet include injury to the toenail, foot pad and between the foot pads.


Splinters, cuts, insect bites and burns can cause a dog to lick its feet. Medical conditions that cause irritation to the skin and foot area cause licking. Unless the injury or condition is effectively treated, a dog may lick its foot so that the area to develop a condition called lick granuloma. Lick granuloma may also develop if a dog is bored from either not enough socialization with its family or exercise. Red and raw sores are the symptoms of lick granuloma.

Allergies can cause a dog to lick its feet. Allergic reactions may be caused from plants, foods and substances. Injury including broken bones and infections may also cause a dog to lick its feet. If a nail is broken or becomes ingrown, the dog may lick at the area. Arthritis may cause a dog to lick its feet.

When a dog licks its foot or limps, it is important that you determine the cause of the activity. Your dog’s feet are important to its health and if your dog suddenly begins licking its foot, you must find the cause for the licking.

Your dog’s travels on its feet so it is important that a dog’s feet are well maintained and healthy. You can help your dog by watching for any signs of unusual licking that may indicate a problem. You can keep the skin on the pads of a dog’s feet by providing enough water and a healthy diet. You should take your pet to the veterinarian if you suspect that the dog has a problem underlying any foot licking activity.

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