Every pet owner knows that dogs love to lick. They lick their treats, they lick their bowls, they lick themselves; they even lick you!
Licking can mean a lot of things; dogs are very expressive in this way. But sometimes, consistent licking of one particular area can be cause for concern.
You may have noticed your Labradoodle lick its paws a lot more recently. We’re going to dive into some common reasons behind this behavior and let you know if you need to be worried about your furry, four-legged friend or not.
Why Do Dogs Lick?
Licking is fairly normal behavior for dogs. In most cases, we see our dogs licking either themselves or us. And in those instances, we rarely question the “why” behind it.
When dogs lick themselves, more often than not, it’s to stay clean. Licking to stay clean is a super common behavior for not just dogs, but pretty much all animals. It’s simply in their nature to clean themselves, as well as their babies.
While it might not be the most adorable thing to see your precious pup lick his intimate parts, he’s just trying to keep himself clean.
Dogs are practically known for licking people – or as we like to call it, giving kisses. For the most part, we can count on a dog’s lick as a sign of affection and communication. You probably receive a face full when you get home from work each day.
That’s your dog’s way of saying, “hi!”
Your dog might be licking you for other reasons, too, though. Some young dogs lick when they’re hungry and ready for food. This is an extension of their natural puppy instincts, as young pups lick their mother’s face when it’s time to feed.
Your dog may also lick you to get your attention. Dog’s also lick as a way to explore their surroundings, much like an infant who puts everything in their mouth.
7 Reasons Why Your Labradoodle is Licking its Paws
We now know a little bit more about why dogs lick themselves, but let’s talk about their paws. If you’ve noticed your Labradoodle licking its paws more than ever before, it might be because of one of the following reasons.
Perhaps one of the most common reasons your Labradoodle licks its paws is because they’re dirty.
As we mentioned above, dogs frequently lick themselves to stay clean. It’s a natural behavior that doesn’t need correction. You should probably thank them for taking care of some of the work for you.
Dogs who play outside can easily pick up dirt, dust, and debris on their paws. They may even get chunks of mud stuck between their toes.
When this happens, it’s time for them to lick.
If you happen to see a lot of dirt or debris stuck between your dog’s toes, give them a hand and help them clear it out.
Anxiety is pretty common in dogs, especially dogs who don’t like to be alone. Licking can be a sign of mild anxiety, and while this behavior isn’t cause for too much worry, it can be a good indicator of your routine with your pup.
Signs like licking paws or lip-licking can let you know that your dog is feeling uneasy or uncomfortable with the current situation. This can happen when your dog is around new people, other dogs, or left alone.
In fact, paw-licking can become something of an addiction for your anxious dog. And this constant licking can give them sores and wounds.
Knowing your dog is feeling anxious can help you make better decisions to ease their worrying and calm their licking.
- Dry Skin & Allergic Reactions
Another super common cause of excessive paw licking in a Labradoodle is dry skin and allergic reactions. Skin conditions can irritate your dog, so they self-soothe by licking the area.
Skin conditions like these can be a result of contact with some sort of allergen. Or, your dog’s paws might simply be dry and need a moisturizer.
You might also try changing up their diet. It’s pretty common these days for dogs to have allergies to grains in dog food. Try giving them grain-free food to see if their licking eases up.
If the above changes don’t seem to make a difference, it might be time to examine the types of cleaning products that you use around the house. Things like floor cleaners might be irritating your dog’s paws, and something as simple as switching to all-natural cleaners could solve the problem.
Finally, dogs can get yeast infections. A yeast infection in a dog typically starts either in their ears or on their paws, so excessive licking may be a sign of this condition.
- Digestive Issues
While it may seem like an odd reaction to us, many dogs actually lick themselves excessively when they are experiencing digestive distress and other stomach issues.
If your dog is licking its paws a lot, it may have one of the following issues going on:
- Gastric foreign body
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Eosinophilic/lymphoplasmacytic infiltration of GI tract
- Delayed gastric emptying
The above conditions all sound very complicated, but you don’t need to know them all by heart. Just keep in mind that your Labradoodle licking paws could be a sign of one of these conditions. Keep an eye on its bathroom habits and contact your vet with any concerns and questions.
When dogs get cuts and scrapes, it’s natural for them to lick them. However, constant licking of a wound can prevent it from healing. This is what we refer to as a lick granuloma.
Lick granuloma, also known as canine acral lick dermatitis, is a skin injury that a dog can give itself from persistent licking. It normally happens after a dog has suffered an injury.
Signs of a lick granuloma include a thickened layer of skin around a wound, raised sores, and hair loss. Your dog can get dangerous infections from this condition, so it’s important to keep wounds covered and contact your vet if you see these signs.
Your dog may also lick its paw if it has a broken nail or if its paw is in pain.
- Fleas & Ticks
Prepare to hear two words that no dog owner wants to hear: fleas and ticks.
If your dog is constantly licking and biting its paws, you might have a flea or tick problem. This is especially possible for dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, whether in grassy fields or dense, wooded areas.
Look for other signs of fleas and ticks on your dog. If they do have these insects on them, they will likely be scratching, itching, and biting other spots on their body – not just their paws.
Thankfully, there are plenty of medications and home remedies you can research to alleviate flea and tick problems. It’s important to act quickly, as these insects can spread diseases and make your pup very uncomfortable.
If all else fails and you can’t seem to find anything else that’s wrong with your Labradoodle, it could be possible that your pup is simply bored.
Different dogs display their boredom in a variety of ways. Some dogs whine and bark at you to try to get your attention. They might bring you a ball or a toy to indicate that they’d like to play for a little while.
Other dogs might sit quietly and find something small to focus on to stimulate their mind. This may look like chewing on your favorite pillow, or it could be licking its own paws.
If you spot your dog licking its paws for a long period, try offering it your attention. Toss a toy their way and see if they’re up for some playtime. Doing so could be an instant solution to finding all those wet spots on your furniture.
Life as a pet owner would be a whole lot easier if our dogs could just talk to us and tell us what’s wrong.
But thankfully, they do give us signs that something is amiss. We just have to stay informed so that we can recognize those signs and take action to resolve the issue.
If your Labradoodle is constantly licking its paws, it could be a sign of something more serious. The best thing to do is contact your vet if you’re ever unsure. Your pet deserves it!