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Why Do Pugs Lick Their Paws?

Has your pug gone bonkers while licking its paws lately? Well, it can be a thing to worry about if the aggressive licking causes a lot of redness and swelling on your pug’s paws. But there are a variety of reasons why your pug loves to lick its feet. It can be allergies, yeast infections or even simple boredom. Do you know that pugs lick their own feet because it’s instinctive for them? Nevertheless, it’s important for you as a pug owner to care for your pooch. You have to be ready for any eventuality or health risk that your cute pug can have in the future. 

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Why Do Pugs Lick Their Paws?

Well, this is an important question and you have to be informed about the reasons. Pugs normally lick their feet more often. But, if it’s happening constantly to a point that your pug is having redness, swelling or bleeding it’s time to stop it. There can be a lot of reasons for your pugs to do that. It can include allergies, canine atopy and yeast infections. Some reasons as to why your pug is aggressively licking his/her feet:

Physical Reasons:


Allergies can also instigate a pug to lick its feet. Pugs are generally more prone to allergic reactions. They can get allergies due to pollen, household cleaning products and pug food. Watch your dog for seasons like spring where there is a chance for your pug to catch pollen in its feet. It can cause skin irritation which will lead your pug to lick its paw more than usual. It can cause redness in the area. Paw wipes can mitigate the problem. Also, watch out for specific seasons, remember certain seasons cause your dog’s irritation more. Look for signs if pugs are being irritated during specific times of the year. Food can also play a factor here. Look for food products if they are causing any allergies. Complete list of allergens that might be troubling your pooch:

  • Food
  • Airborne allergens (air, pollen, mould, grass)
  • Dust particles
  • Medicines
  • Perfumed products
  • Synthetic materials (plastics and rubber)

Yeast Infections

Brachycephalic dogs suffer from yeast infections more compared to other dogs. The reason being these yeast infections can be because they have multiple skin folds. The immune system plays a decisive role as well. Pugs with weaker immune systems have a higher chance of yeast dermatitis. It is a common problem that is caused due to the production of excessive oil which then leads up to itching. These sorts of infections can be treated with proper nutrition and food intake. Pugs who just can’t stop licking their paws will create more infection. And, this might lead to the makeup of a Frito smell which is pungent. You have to eliminate the intake of all carbohydrate-rich foods like wheat, potatoes, corn, and rice from your pug’s diet.

Gastrointestinal Issues

A study however has found that gastrointestinal distress can also make your pug lick its paws more. As far as the findings are concerned, a study published by the Journal of Veterinary behaviour states that paw licking is rather an act of a dog that has gastrointestinal distress. It tried to compare 19 dogs who liked licking paws with 10 healthy dogs. They found out in this study that dogs who liked licking their feet had issues such as lymphocytic-plasmacytic infiltration, chronic pancreatitis, or a gastric foreign body

Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal Imbalance can very much force your pug to aggressively lick its feet. The signs of hormonal imbalance however will be very much visible on your pug. It might have red spots on its skin. The red spots could become irritating, forcing the pug to lick on their paws.

Fleas and Ticks

Pugs can pick up fleas and ticks while they walk or play outside. Your vet will recommend you use anti-flea medication to treat it.  

Dry skin

Dry skin acts as another irritant for your pug to deal with. Cracked and dry skin can cause a lot of itching which will force your pug to aggressively lick the area. Paws can also go dry due to excessive bathing, cold weather, etc. It can be a reason. A pug is more susceptible to dry skin when they walk in abrasive spaces. Always remember to not let your pug walk in salted grit. This can lead to an issue of cracked skin and hence compel your pug to lick the area.

Acral Skin Infections

This is another cause of irritation for your pugs which forces them to lick their paws. But it does not directly affect the paws, rather it spreads from saliva. The bacteria in saliva causes an infection which results in aggressive licking by your pug. The licking however has many potential triggers like a rash, skin issue, infection. It can also happen due to osteoarthritis which happens due to underlying discomfort. 

Behavioural Reasons:

We have discussed physical reasons that lead your pug to lick its paws aggressively. There are other behavioural traits too that can prompt your pug to lick on its paws. Let’s know about it in more detail:


Stress can however act as a major influence in forcing a pug to lick its paws. Pugs have some inherent behaviours that are rooted in them. They lick when they sense any sort of distress. To exhibit whether they are stressed or not, they exhibit other behaviours. They can cry, whine, excessively pant and even urinate showing that they are stressed. 


Anxiety is commonly associated with separation in pugs. Pugs tend to lick themselves more when they are lonely and sad. Try spending more time with them. You will know what a bundle of joy they can be. But, regardless they get anxious as well. Anxiety can trigger paw licking behaviour.

Displacement Behaviour

This behaviour is common in humans when they feel unsure, scattered or scared. It is common in pugs as well. To tackle those nerves they will chew anything they can find or lick their paw in ways that you can’t even imagine. Like humans, when they are stressed they twist something, play with pens or shake their legs. Similarly, pugs can exhibit intense paw licking.


Pugs can be bored pretty soon. They need a very stimulating environment. As they also suffer from separation anxiety. They do not like to be alone and hence to tackle that loneliness they will start licking their paws. Some tips to keep your pug happy during boredom time:

  • Take them for a walk.
  • Groom your dog, this way they will have you like their company.
  • Play with them outside.
  • You can teach them some tricks.
  • Make them learn a new game.
  • Play with them in their paddle pool especially during summers.


Sometimes your pooch can be so hungry which will force them to lick its paws aggressively. So to keep that swelling off of your pooch make sure they are fed well fulfilling nutritious meals. Make it a priority to keep their bellies full. 

How Do I Get My Pug to Stop Licking His Paws?

There is no one reason as to why your pug can be so intense in licking paws. The best way out is to invest some time and research what causes it first? And, with sufficient input, you would have your answer. There are many tips & techniques through which you can make your pug stop licking its paws. Some are here:

Home remedies for the pug to treat itchy paws

It is advised to always consult your vet before giving any medicine which is homemade. These are temporary solutions to treat your pug’s paw licking problem. But, expert advice and vets can go a long way in treating it. In case the home remedies do not work, you can go to any vet for treatment.

  • Soothing paw balm: Paw balms that are natural and hypoallergenic should be used on your pug’s paws. It is advised to apply the balm and let it dry for 5-10 minutes. Applying it to the skin and wait for some time. It shall do wonders. 
  • Salt baths: A salt bath helps in the regulation of ph levels on your pug’s skin. It then treats the skin irritation issue that your pug might be facing.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda can act as a great reliever for your pug’s paw. Make a paste that has 50% of both water and soda and form a paste out of it. Put it on your pug’s skin so that it can feel some relief.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar can act as a great itching relief on your pug’s paw. Soaking your pug’s paws for a few moments in Apple cider vinegar can reduce the amount of itchiness in the pug’s paws. 
  • Fish Oil Supplement: A high-quality fish supplement can do real wonders to your pug’s immune system. It can also deter allergy problems as well as yeast infections. 
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oils are so amazing in terms of adding moisture to your pug’s skin. Rub coconut oil as it does tremendously well in soothing irritation, curbing infection and dealing with any itchiness.

Some other remedies that can be proven beneficial include:

  • Antibiotic medicines: In case the situation is serious then home remedies won’t be enough. You can treat your pug’s paws by giving him/her antibacterial and antifungal medicines. It is advised to rather actively seek a course of antibiotics and make sure to feed it to your pug. This can retract the licking problem.
  • Prescribing shampoo: Your vet can recommend a shampoo that can lower the skin irritation in the paws of your pug. You can try that. If it works, alright. If not you can try the previously mentioned home remedies granted under the doctor’s supervision.
  • Topical sprays: This is a far better solution for deterring your pooch to stop licking its red paw. You can use sprays that are bitter. You can use a spray on your pug’s paws and it won’t lick its red paw after that.
  • Distraction: You have to be a master at distracting your pug when it feels lonely. Try to play with him/her if he/she is alone and seeking company. Granted they only lick their feet when they are alone.
  • Humidifiers: If your pug has extremely dry skin, it’s time to invest in a humidifier. Humidifiers increase the water vapour in the air which will, in turn, make the environment filled with moisture. It acts as a severe deterrent to dryness.

Clean Your Pug’s Paw to Heal its Itching: Step by Step Guide

  • Along with having know-how about natural and artificial remedies to treat the paws of a pug. You can do a step by step guide on cleaning pug’s paws to stop any underlying condition from worsening:
  • Pug paws can be very dirty and this can lead to a possible infection. So, the first step is to get some pug wipes, pug wax and a dry towel.
  • Put your pug on a table where you can comfortably reach him and work on his paws.
  • Wash the paws with pug wipes to bring out the dirt trapped in the pug’s paws. You can use warm water as it will soothe your pug’s skin.
  • Let the paw fingers dry at first. Rub a dry towel to dry the moist area.
  • Put some pug wax on the gaps of its fingers. This will heal any wound that is seeped within its fingers.

When to Visit Your Vet to Consult on Pug’s Paw Licking?

After trying all the remedies and still not knowing what to do you will finally make the call to visit a vet. Well, the signs would be that your pug seems helpless and cannot do anything apart from licking its skin. If you see blood in your pug’s paws or it starts to limping you should visit a vet. 

If your pug is chewing and biting on the paw it means there is an issue. You should consult a vet immediately. In case there is an issue, your vet will tell you. They will run their tests and diagnose the problem effectively. In case of a problem the vet will recommend you following treatment plans:

  • Use of antibiotics in case of bacterial infection.
  • Use of antifungals in case of yeast infection.
  • Use of antihistamines in case of an allergy.
  • Changes to the diet.
  • Medicines that can treat tick and flea problems.
  • Shampoos that have antibacterial properties.

Is it a cause of great concern that my pug likes to lick its paw?

Well, truth be told paw licking in itself is not a big problem. But, if your pug is licking its paw in a harsh manner and that is causing wounds on its legs, you have to see to the matter.

Some signs you need to watch out for:

  • Your pug should not limp at any point.
  • If you see any foreign sore or infection in the paw, it’s time to be concerned.
  • If your pug starts to chew instead of licking, it’s a thing to note.
  • There should not be any sign of redness on your pug’s skin.
  • If your pug’s paws bleed it’s time to be concerned.

FAQs on Why Do Pugs Lick Their Paws

How to stop a pug from licking its paw?

Well, the first thing you can do to stop your pug from licking its feet is to use topical sprays. Topical sprays, especially bitter ones will deter your pug from licking its feet. However, in case it’s an allergy problem you are advised to make a solution. Fill a small container with a few inches of lukewarm water and povidone-iodine solution. It will kill off allergens and your pug will automatically stop licking its paw. 

How do I get my pug to stop chewing his paws?

Well, licking and chewing are two different things. In case your pug is chewing its paws, you have to first visit a vet. And then confirm if your pug has any parasites like fleas? If you’re feeding your pug proper food or not? The vet will address your concerns and further provide medication.

Final say!

Well, there can be many reasons why your pug will not stop licking its paws. First thing first you have to keep calm and find the problem. And, then you can use any natural remedy or artificial remedy as mentioned above to treat your pug’s paw. In case everything fails, you have to visit a vet and find the roots of the problem. In any situation, it’s advisable to follow precautions while using remedies with the vet’s recommendation. And, do not worry your pooch will be healthy.

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