Poodle Licking Paws (Is It Bad?)

Wondering why your Poodle is licking its paws? You are not alone! Poodles have a habit of licking (pretty much everything) so some paw licking is normal.

However, there are several situations when you may catch your Poodle licking paws – that are serious and need to be addressed.

poodle licking paws
How to stop a Poodle licking paws all the time. Not always a problem, but worth investigating.

Dogs cannot speak directly to us, but they can communicate in the best ways that they know. Often, this includes licking. All dogs lick, but Poodles are a breed that licks more often than others. 

You can find Poodles licking humans, themselves, and even household objects. In general, licking is not a behavior you should be overly concerned about. Frequently, Poodles lick as a means to grab your attention, groom themselves, heal minor injuries, or because they simply taste something that they like.

However, you should always trust your instincts if something seems to be wrong. While a poodle licking its paws can be entirely normal behavior, constant licking could allude to your pup having a more significant issue, such as anxiety or an infection that will warrant a trip to the vet.

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind poodles licking themselves and the reasons they might be licking their paws.

Why Do Poodles Lick Themselves?

Generally, standard Poodles, Toy Poodles, Klein Poodles, Teacup Poodles, and Miniature Poodles may all lick themselves for a wide range of reasons. There are a few different reasons why your poodle could be licking various parts of its own body.

Poodles can lick themselves because they are simply cleaning themselves. They could also lick to soothe itchy and infected skin, so if it’s happening consistently, you might want to have them checked at the vet for a rash, fleas, dermatitis, an infection, or dry skin. 

poodle sitting on the lap
A super cute Poodle sitting on its owners lap

Why Do Poodles Lick Their Paws? 

Poodle owners may find that their pup licks their paws more than what seems to be expected. While licking is typical for all breeds of dogs, it is a prevalent behavior for poodles. 

A dogs paw licking can be a sign of affection and a calming behavior. As puppies, poodles’ mothers lick them to ensure that they are calm and healthy after birth, and so they may lick themselves to ensure their calmness and health. 

Depending on whether they lick both paws, just one, or whether or not there are physical symptoms like redness, blood, or pus, the reason for their licking could be behaviorally or physically rooted. 

When your poodle’s paw licking gets to the point where it prevents them from living an otherwise everyday day-to-day life, it is a severe issue for which you definitely should visit your veterinarian. You should not ignore abnormal licking of any kind.

7 Reasons Why Your Poodle Is Licking Its Paws

Your poodle could be licking their paws for a variety of reasons. They could just be keeping themselves clean, or an infection could be bothering them. Below, find seven primary reasons for paw licking that may help you narrow down your pup’s problem.

poodle sits on a outdoor lounge
A Tan Poodle sitting on an outdoor lounge. Beautiful!


Poodles might lick themselves to simply clean their bodies. Finding poodles with their tongues to their paws might merely be evidence of a bit of self-grooming. 

If your poodle has recently been outside, they might just be using their textured tongues to clean their paws of dirt, mud, and organic matter for both their benefit and the benefit of your home. 


If your poodle targets one paw in particular with the licking, it may be due to an injury. Check for:

Make sure to check the entire paw, including between the toes and the toe pads. You might find your poodle licking their cuts to clean them, as their abrasive tongue will remove bacteria and dead skin to help it heal faster. 

If you do find an injury, it is best to call your vet for help on deciding whether you will need to come into the office or if you will be able to perform simple first aid at home.

Skin Irritation

Skin irritation, or atopic dermatitis, might develop from issues with bacteria or allergies. For example, your poodle might get into some gardening chemicals on your lawn that they are allergic to. An allergy can lead to dermatitis on their paws that they lick to relieve their discomfort.


Parasites can lead to your poodle licking its paws in an attempt to soothe the itch. Parasites include fleas and the parasitic mites that lead to mange. If you suspect that your dog has fleas or mange, you should contact your vet immediately to take steps to clear your pup of the parasite.

Dog health relies on us owners noticing problems early and taking definitive steps to prevent.

Some people try and kill fleas at home (like with detergent) and some dog fleas can even irritate humans.

Food Allergies

Food allergies can potentially lead to itchy and uncomfortable paws, as well. Just as humans can get itchy skin from eating a type of food that they are allergic to, poodles may be the same way. 

Seek out your veterinarian’s assistance if you believe your dog might have a food allergy. The remedy to all that licking may just be a diet specialized just for your pup. 

Consider these low allergy but still mainstream dry food options.

Secondary Infections

Suppose your poodle had already been licking their paw due to the discomfort of a wound or infection. In that case, the moisture from their tongue could occasionally spur a secondary infection, such as a yeast infection or bacterial infection. Of course, this would make the itchiness and discomfort more severe, leading to more licking.

naught parti poodle has torn up a pillow
A guilty looking two color Poodle

Behavioral Issues

If you have ruled out any physical reasons for your pup’s licking, then you might be dealing with a behavioral issue such as anxiety. 

Incessant paw-licking can also be a tell-tale sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder, which can occur in dogs just as it does in humans. In this case, you will want to make sure to talk to your vet to see what steps they can take to put your poodle’s mind at ease.

Your poodle could also just be licking its paws out of boredom. Poodles are a relatively active and very intelligent breed, so make sure that you provide plenty of enrichment activities and toys to avoid your pup getting too bored.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, we might think that life with dogs would be easier if they could just speak to us in our native tongue rather than use their tongue to drool on themselves and others. 

That is not the case, so it is up to us to pay attention to their behavior to see when they are trying to communicate their needs to us without words. 

We need to be in tune with our Poodles needs. It is the responsibility of being a good pet owner.

So, while paw-licking is not always a reason to feel concerned, it warrants a closer look and maybe a trip to your local veterinarian to make sure that your poodle is in tip-top shape and feeling happy. 

It is not just a Poodle issue though, from Shih-Tzu to Bernedoodle – many dogs lick almost compulsively.