Why do Golden Retrievers lick their paws?

You are probably wondering that why your Golden Retriever is licking his paws a lot and what is the solution to this problem? It can be due to a number of reasons and in this article, we are going to discuss the possible causes of this problem and solution. 

Why do Golden Retrievers lick their paws?

Why Does Your Golden Retriever lick its feet and paws?

The possible reasons for licking of paws and feet by your Golden Retriever are that he is bored by some activity, or there is something stuck to his feet or paws and he is trying to remove it with his mouth. The other possible causes of this licking activity include some sort of allergies, fleas, injury in that particular area, some sort of separation anxiety or it could be some compulsive behavior. 

So, it is evident that this licking activity could be due to a single reason or combination of more than one reason. So, there are some you can consider when figuring out the root cause and then you can have a number of options to propose the solution.

1. It has something in/between them

One of the causes of licking of paws by the Goldens is that there is something stuck in them. It would be more likely the case when he starts to do it suddenly, or he has been licking one particular paw. If you can see something in the paw, then don’t try to grab it by all of yourself as it could be painful for your Golden Retriever. It is better to take your dog to the vet for further assistance.

2. Allergies

Allergies or the presence of rash might also be the cause that your Golden Retriever is licking its paws a lot. The main causes of allergies are some items like shampoo, pollen, other dogs, or household chemicals

To find out the exact source of the allergies, it is better to consider what else happened in the surroundings when your Golden Retriever started to lick its paws. For example, while using some particular product of shampoo, you noticed licking, and hence it could be something to deal with.

3. Fleas

Fleas can also prove to be the cause of a lot of licking in your Golden Retriever. This would be more likely the cause if your Golden has been itching or biting in other areas of its body along with licking. If you find fleas on it, then they could be the probable cause.

If flees are present on its body, then it is better to consult your vet in this regard and get the proper treatment to counter this problem. There are some helpful remedies to get rid of the flees which are as follow:

  • Properly vacuuming the carpet and discarding the bad ones
  • Washing the bedding with hot and soapy water
  • Applying the environmental flee control
  • Applying a spray, pellet, or no-toxic treatment in the yard for flee control
  • Getting your Golden Retriever treated with a monthly preventative
Golden Retriever Paw injury

4. Injury

Another possible reason is that your Golden has gotten an injury. This would be more probable cause if it has started the licking suddenly and if it is accompanied by other signs of being injured like a bruise or swollen paw. In this case, you should visit the vet to get the proper treatment.

5. Compulsive Behavior

It might also be the reason that it has been doing it on a compulsive basis. This is the scenario in the cases where it becomes nearly irresistible for it to lick its paws and it keeps on doing it. This would be in that case when it has been licking its paws for a few weeks. In this case, try to get help from the vet.

6. Separation Anxiety

It could be also due to the reason that it has been doing it due to anxiety. One of the prominent anxieties is separation anxiety. Separation anxiety occurs when your Golden does not like to be left alone.

The reason for licking would be separation anxiety it starts at the time just before you are about to leave the home. To cope with this problem, you would need to avoid leaving it for extended periods and to be back home during office breaks. Another solution is to hire a dog sitter so that your Golden does not feel left away.

It would be of great help to train it to be less anxious when you are leaving and when you are away. To do this, you need to do a handful of the following things:

  • Make it look like that you are about to leave by doing something obvious such as picking up your keys off your shelf.
  • Try to reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few more times.
  • Make more actions towards leaving like picking up keys and moving towards the door and grabbing the door handle.
  • Reward your dog for being calm and repeat this process.
  • Next time actually open and stay outside for a few moments and come back and reward your dog.
  • Repeat the above by staying outside for a slightly longer time.

Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure that it gets to pee, eat and get exercise on time before you leave. In this way, your Golden does not have to wait for too long and stay relaxed.

7. Dermatitis

If you observe that the paw pads and feet are normal, then the licking could be due to skin condition, often as a result of bacterial problems called dermatitis. To counter this problem, it is better to keep a bowl of water and a towel near the door to gently clean off his paws.

8. Pain

If your Golden is experiencing pain due to arthritis or some problems related to foot or leg conditions, then in response it could lick his paws. Even though if the pain is being experienced in some other part of the body, your dog may start to lick its paws continuously. For this problem, thorough examination and diagnosis by a vet are required.

Things to keep in mind

There are some things to consider to figure out why your Golden has been doing the licking. Some of them are as follow:

Occasional licking is normal

If you notice licking of feet or paws now and then in your Golden Retriever, then consider it to be normal behavior. This occasional licking is just for the sake of self-grooming or the attempt of removal of something stuck to the paws. However, licking more than usual is an unusual behavior that needs the vet’s help.

What is the timing of licking?

It would of great help to note the timing of licking to know the exact cause. 

The first time it started to do it

If your Golden Retriever did not always lick its paws and feet a lot, then it should help you consider the first time when it actually started doing it. If it was done suddenly, then the main reasons for doing this could be allergies, fleas, injury, etc.

How to stop your Golden Retriever from licking its paws?

How to stop your Golden Retriever from licking its paws?

Below are a number of things you can do to stop your Golden from licking its paws:

1. Check if something is stuck in its paws

If you notice that your Golden Retriever has started to lick its paws suddenly, then the reason for this could be that there is something stuck in between its paws. In an attempt to remove that object, it is trying to lick its paws.

2. Take your Golden Retriever to a vet

If the reason for the licking has not been identified or rectified by you, then it is better to consult your vet for proper guidance in this matter.

3. Give your Golden Retriever enough exercise

If your Golden Retriever is medically fit, then it is better to make it able that your Golden is getting the required amount of exercise daily. When it does not get enough exercise, it would get bored and hence will start to look for a way to stimulate itself. Due to this, it could start licking its paws more often.

4. Avoid encouraging this behavior

To control the licking of paws attitude, it is better to not reward him for this act. However, if your Golden stops licking his paws, then you can reward him with his favorite treat. In this way, it would come to know that you do not like his intensive licking.

5. Don’t take your dog out on a hot day

Hot sidewalks, asphalt, and other surfaces can hurt your Golden’s paws and can also cause a burn. To counter this, your dog will start to lick its paws once you are out with him on a sunny day. This marks that the hot surface is unbearable for him. Therefore, it is better to take your dog out when the sun is down.


So, it is evident that some of the reasons for excessive licking are due to medical grounds and some are due to high energy levels and getting no opportunity to utilize that energy. So, it is better to give your dog good exercise along with some parasite control. However, if the problem persists then you should not be late in giving your vet a visit.





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