Cheryl noticed that, when she and Bosco, her 7-year-old Cockapoo, got back from walks in their Schaumburg neighborhood, Bosco would lick her paws. But, after Cheryl first noticed this unusual behavior, she began to see Bosco licking his paws even when they hadn’t recently returned from a walk.
Cheryl’s first thought was that, well, dogs lick themselves. They’re not as fastidious as cats, but dogs will primp and groom themselves with their tongues. Certainly Bosco had simply developed an affinity for grooming his paws, right?
The more Cheryl thought about it, however, the more she was convinced that this was more than merely a new form of grooming for Bosco. After all, at 7, most of Bosco’s self-grooming habits were long ingrained.
So, Cheryl decided to do a little investigating. Though Bosco wasn’t concentrating his licking on one particular paw, Cheryl decided to take a look at his paws for any kind of injuries. She considered the possibility that Bosco might have picked up splinters in her paws while they were walking in their Schaumburg neighborhood. It seemed unlikely that he would have splinters in all of his paws but, well, maybe he walked across something that gave him little splinters in all of his paws.
As closely as Cheryl looked, however, she couldn’t see any slivers or splinters in Bosco’s paws. She also didn’t see any rashes, though she wasn’t really sure what those would look like on the pads of a dogs paws. At this point, Cheryl turned to the Internet for help. She discovered that there are a number of conditions that can cause a dog to lick at its paws, including:
- Cuts, scrapes or puncture wounds to the pads of the paw
- Toenails that are cracked or broken
- Bones in the foot that are broken
- Burns to the bottom of the pads
- Allergic skin diseases
- Thorns or burrs
- Splinters or slivers
- Corns (yes, dogs can get corns, too)
Unfortunately, if a dog continues to lick at its paws, it can injure its paws. An injury caused by a dog licking at the paw can become infected.
Cheryl took the correct first step – she examined Bosco’s paws. Not finding anything, the next step is for Cheryl to take Bosco to a Schaumburg area veterinarian.