Why Do Beagles Lick Their Paws? Understanding the Reasons Behind This Common Behavior
Speaking from experience, it’s natural to wonder why your beagle is constantly licking or chewing on their paws. In this article, I will explain some common reasons behind this behavior and what you can do to address it.
Behavioral Reasons for Paw Licking
One of the most common reasons why beagles lick their paws is due to behavioral issues. This can include anxiety, boredom, or stress.
If your beagle is constantly licking their paws, it’s important to observe their behavior and see if there are any underlying emotional triggers – being left alone, seeing other dogs or animals out the window, too much attention.
Separation anxiety is another possible cause of excessive paw licking in beagles. If your dog is anxious or stressed when you leave the house, they may resort to licking their paws as a way to cope with their emotions. This behavior can also be accompanied by other symptoms, such as destructive chewing or excessive barking. Our article linked above goes into great detail on Beagle separation anxiety.
In some cases, beagles may develop compulsive behaviors that result in excessive paw licking. This can be due to genetics, boredom, or anxiety. If you suspect that your beagle has a compulsive behavior, it’s important to seek the help of a dog trainer or animal behaviorist to address the issue.
Why Do Beagles Lick Their Paws - Physical Causes
Foreign Object in/on the Paw
One of the reasons why beagles lick their paws is because of a foreign object that may have gotten stuck in their paw. It could be a piece of glass, a thorn, or a small rock. The foreign object can cause discomfort and pain, which may lead to excessive licking.
Beagles have a strong sense of smell, and they may use their nose to detect foreign objects in their paws. If you notice your beagle excessively licking their paw or chewing on the pad of their paw, check for any foreign objects.
Another physical cause of paw licking in beagles is insect bites. Active dogs are prone to insect bites, especially during the summer months. Insects like fleas, ticks, bees and mosquitoes can cause irritation and itchiness, leading to excessive paw licking.
Arthritis pain is a common condition in older dogs and can cause discomfort and pain in their joints. Beagles are not exempt from this condition, and it can cause them to lick their paws excessively.
Arthritis pain can affect any joint in a dog’s body, including their paws. In addition to the paw licking, if you notice your beagle limping or having difficulty walking or running, it could be a sign of arthritis pain.
Take your beagle to the vet for a check-up to determine the cause of the excessive paw licking.
Allergies May Be Why Your Beagle Licks Their Paws
This is the culprit for paw licking with our beagle, Janny. Definitely a reason to look into is a food allergy. Beagles, like many other breeds, can develop food allergies to certain ingredients in their diet. Common culprits include beef, chicken, dairy, and wheat. For Janny, it was chicken, we figured this out by doing an elimination diet – more on this below.
If you suspect your beagle has a food allergy, the first step is to switch to an elimination diet. This involves feeding your dog a limited ingredient diet for several weeks to determine which ingredients they are allergic to. Once you have identified the allergen, you can switch to a dog food that does not contain that ingredient.
Another possible cause of paw licking in beagles is environmental allergies. These can be caused by a variety of factors, including pollen, dust mites, and mold. Symptoms of environmental allergies in dogs can include itchy skin, watery eyes, and sneezing along with the paw licking.
If you suspect your beagle has environmental allergies, it is important to identify the allergen and take steps to minimize their exposure. This may involve keeping your home or apartment clean and free of dust and allergens, using air purifiers, and avoiding outdoor activities during peak allergy season.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Flea allergy dermatitis is a common condition in dogs that can cause paw licking and itching. This condition is caused by an allergic reaction to flea saliva, and can be extremely uncomfortable for your beagle.
If you suspect your beagle has flea allergy dermatitis, the obvious first step is to eliminate the fleas from their environment. This may involve using flea treatments on your dog and in your home, as well as vacuuming regularly to remove any fleas or eggs.
Infections and Skin Conditions Causing Paw Licking
Another common reason for paw licking is infection or skin irritation. This usually will occur on the underside of the paw, in between the pads. This is a warm and dark environment, perfect for an infection to take root.
Yeast, Bacterial, or Fungal Infections
Beagles may lick their paws excessively due to yeast, bacterial, or fungal infections. These infections can cause itchiness, redness, and irritation, leading to compulsive licking and chewing of the paws. Look for red or swollen areas under the paw, and also give the paws a smell, noticing any unpleasant odors.
Bacterial infections can occur when the skin is broken due to excessive licking or scratching. Fungal infections, such as ringworm, can also affect a dog’s skin and paws. These infections can be treated with medication prescribed by a veterinarian.
Skin Irritation and Dry Skin
Skin irritation can also cause beagles to lick their paws. Allergies, insect bites, and environmental irritants can lead to itchy and inflamed skin. Beagles may lick their paws to alleviate the discomfort caused by the irritation.
Dry skin can also be a reason why beagles lick their paws. Dry paw pads can become itchy and uncomfortable, leading to excessive licking and chewing. Providing your beagle with proper hydration and moisturizing the paw pads can help alleviate this issue.
Here’s a great product we’ve used in the past to help moisturize our beagle’s pads (As an Amazon Associate, we may be compensated if you make a purchase):
Identifying and Addressing the Issue
If your beagle is excessively licking their paws, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. The first step in addressing this behavior is to visit a veterinarian. A vet can help identify any health problems that may be causing the excessive licking.
During the visit, the vet may perform a physical examination, take blood and urine samples, and perform other diagnostic tests to determine the root cause of the behavior.
In some cases, the excessive licking may be caused by a food allergy or intolerance. An elimination diet can help identify if this is the case. This involves feeding your beagle a diet free of certain ingredients, such as grains or certain proteins, for a period of time. For us, it was chicken. Just remember to slowly introduce the new food over time.
If the excessive licking improves during this time, it may be a sign of a food allergy or intolerance. Your vet can help you create an appropriate elimination diet for your beagle.
When it comes to addressing the issue of excessive paw licking in beagles, a vet visit and an elimination diet are often the best course of action. By identifying and addressing any underlying health concerns, you can help your beagle live a happier, healthier life.
Prevention and Care
One of the easiest ways to prevent beagles from licking their paws is by applying coconut oil to their paws. Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help soothe the skin and reduce the urge to lick.
Simply apply a small amount of coconut oil to your beagle’s paws and massage it in gently. You can do this once or twice a day to keep your beagle’s paws moisturized and healthy.
If your beagle’s paw licking is due to an underlying medical condition, your veterinarian may prescribe oral medications to help alleviate the symptoms. These medications can include antihistamines, steroids, and antibiotics, depending on the cause of the paw licking. It is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully and give the medication as prescribed.
Best Ways to Prevent Licking
Preventing your beagle from licking their paws can be a good idea to avoid further complications. Here are some of the best ways to prevent your beagle from licking their paws:
- Elimination diet
- Keep their paws clean and dry
- Use a cone or e-collar to prevent licking
- Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to reduce anxiety
- Keep their immune system healthy with a balanced diet and regular veterinary check-ups
By following these simple steps, you can help prevent your beagle from licking their paws and keep them healthy and happy.
Beagles licking their paws is a common behavior that can have various underlying causes. While it may seem harmless, excessive licking can lead to skin irritation and infections. It’s important to monitor your beagle’s paw licking behavior and consult with a veterinarian if you notice any concerning symptoms.
By understanding the reasons behind your beagle’s paw licking and taking appropriate measures to address them, you can help keep your furry friend healthy and happy.