There are a variety of different reasons why a dog might lick his paws and how you should approach each situation varies widely depending upon why your dog is licking his paws.
There's Something In There!
The first and perhaps most obvious reason is that the dog has something stuck in his paws and is trying to remove it. This is a common occurrence as dogs can easily get something stuck in or between their paws while their owner is taking him them for a walk. The likelihood of this happening increases if his owner is taking him for a walk in an area that has an abundance of loose gravel or garbage strewn across the ground. If you see your dog licking his paws and realize that he has something stuck in or between his paws, then the best course of action is to simply help your dog and remove the object yourself. After doing so, it is also a good idea to check your dog's paws for any irritation or injury as a dog can easily suffer either or both from walking with an object stuck between his paws for an extended period of time.
A second reason why your dog is licking his paws could be that he is in pain from an injury on his paws. This may or may not be related to anything stuck betweeen his paws. A dog can injure his paws by running outside on the pavement for an extended period of time, especially if he gets loose and his owner is not able to locate him until much later. In this case, the pads on a dog's paws can get worn out and start bleeding. One way a dog can respond to this pain is by licking his paws and trying to help himself heal in this way. You will also want to keep your dog inside for much of the day during his healing and a dog bathroom inside your home will prevent any accidents. In the event that you see your dog licking his paws and you notice an injury or bleeding from the pads on his paws, the best thing to do is disinfect the injury and let your dog's body heal itself effectively by letting him rest.
A third reason why your dog is licking his paws is that he is simply cleaning them from earlier activity. This type of behavior is extremely common among dogs of all breeds, as they typically clean themselves by licking and it is completely fine if you see your dog doing this. The difficulty in this scenario is that sometimes it can be hard to tell whether or not your dog is licking his paws just to clean himself or for an entirely different reason. One easy way to find out for sure is to examine your dog's paws. If you do not see any blood or injuries to your dog's paws, then your dog is probably just licking his paws in order to clean himself.In this case, there is very little to do for your dog. Since your dog is not injured or bleeding, you can simply leave him alone and let him finish cleaning himself. Dogs licking their paws to clean them is most common following any outdoor activity such as a walk or a trip to the dog park. If you recently did either of these things with your dog, he is most likely just cleaning himself. By Irina Kozorog via Shutterstock
A fourth reason for your dog licking his paws is because he is anxious or scared. Dogs sometimes lick their paws to calm themselves down when they are feeling anxious or scared in a particular situation, especially when the dog is frightened by loud noises such as fireworks. An indoor dog potty might prove useful in these circumstances as well, since you cannot easily take your dog outside. However, loud noises like fireworks are a pretty common cause of this fear or anxiety in your dog. One simple thing you can do to limit your dog's fear when there are loud noises is to bring him inside the house and close to you and your family.
The proximity to his owner and the security of remaining inside the house definitely helps your dog feel more at ease. This doesn't mean that your dog will immediately stop being scared of the loud noises. It just means that you can limit the effects of the loud noises on your dog with this simple and easy step. Bringing your dog inside in this situation is a very good idea.
A fifth reason why your dog is licking his paws is simply due to boredom. Just like people, dogs can get bored and do things in order to relieve their boredom which can take a variety of forms. Sometimes, your dog will adjust his bed, walk around the house, or bring you his favorite ball in hopes that you will play with him. Your dog might also start licking his paws just to find something to do and this is completely normal for any dog. Younger dogs can also get bored more easily and if you want to begin housebreaking them for such cases, DoggieLawn is a great idea. It's an indoor dog potty with real grass for dogs that makes potty training a breeze!
If it's been a while since you last played with them, then your dog might be bored. One fun solution to this is to play with your dog and this both relieves your dog's boredom while also helping you get some excercise, making it a win-win situation. Additionally, playing with your dog can also improve your mood as well. Playing with your dog on a day with especially good weather is even better, since you and your dog could enjoy the fun for longer.