How many of you have been enjoying a bit of Netflix (ok, you have had to click that "Are you still watching tv you lazy slug" message away twice, but who are we to judge?) and heard a slurpy, sloppy, licking noise that never EVER stops. You look over and yep, your dog is licking and sucking on one of their feet. Did you gently ask them to stop or maybe nudged them carefully with a soft throw pillow and said, "Stop that my dear heavenly angel" or may the adjectives were a bit stronger.
Like the sound of a mosquito when you are trying to sleep, the sound of a dog sucking and slurping as they lick their food is one of THOSE sounds. Plus, it has an edge of "What kind of heinous dog parent am I?"
Foot licking can have a wide range of causes from boredom to stress to fungal or bacterial issues.
But leave it to our dogs to also have issues that fall outside the range of normal (what the heck IS normal). Some dogs get into a habit of “foot-licking” like an OCD behavior. The foot may not even itch any more, but they are so used to sucking their foot…they keep doing it! It can even be a form of “self-soothing’, like some of us who overeat to soothe our emotions. Or the kid who sucks their thumb or beloved pacifier as a way to calm themselves.
Think about what may have been going on in your dog's world lately. Is there a new family member - two-legged or four? Has your work schedule changed and their routine may be off?
Some dogs are bored and develop the habit of licking their foot (and it is often only one foot) just to have something to do! There is an easy fix for this - more walks, more playtime and more interaction with your dog.
Believe it or not, foot licking can also be a way in which they cool themselves. Have you ever seen the Discovery Channel show where foxes, etc. lick their feet to keep cool. The evaporative action cools them.
Of course, foot-licking can be a fungal issue, like a case of athlete’s foot, but in dogs. Or the foot licking can even have a bacterial cause. In either of those cases, antibiotics and steroids would probably have no effect on the licking. Maybe your vet could do a scraping and see if it is bacterial or fungal. If so, there are many excellent medicines available to help that.
A friend of mine, Kelly Achenbach, shared her tried-and-true, Stop that #@$% Foot Sucking Concoction. It is shared in the spirit of just that - sharing! use your own good sense on if this will work for your dog or dog. What the heck, anything that helps is worth a shot in my book!
Official Disclaimer: I am not a vet, never played one on tv, this is just info I share to help you make good choices and be informed.