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Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws? Unpacking the Behavior and Providing Solutions

Close-up of a dog licking its paw, illustrating the natural grooming behavior discussed in Riverview Grooming blog.

A Natural Grooming Habit

Dogs licking their paws is, to some extent, a natural grooming behavior. It helps them clean their paws and also soothe minor irritations.

Quick Fix: For minor irritations, consider giving your dog's paws a quick soak in a solution of warm water and Epsom salt. This can help relieve mild itching or discomfort.

Medical Reasons

Persistent paw licking can indicate underlying health issues like allergies or fungal infections.

Quick Fix: If you suspect allergies, try wiping your dog's paws with a damp cloth after walks to remove potential allergens. For suspected fungal infections, a diluted apple cider vinegar spray can offer temporary relief.

Emotional Factors

Dogs may lick their paws as a self-soothing behavior, triggered by environmental changes, separation anxiety, or other stressors.

Quick Fix: Use calming dog sprays or pheromone diffusers to help alleviate minor stress and anxiety in your dog.


Understanding why your dog licks their paws can empower you to address any underlying issues. These quick fixes offer immediate relief but are not a substitute for professional medical advice if the problem persists.

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