Why Do Pugs Lick Their Paws? And The Best Way To Stop It

Why is my Pug licking his paws, until they are red and raw?  It can be frustrating to watch your dog obsessively lick their paws. That’s why we’ve researched several reasons to help you answer the question, “why do Pugs lick their paws?”

Why Do Pugs Lick Their Paws?

It’s normal behavior for dogs to lick their paws every now and then to groom themselves.

However, if you’ve noticed that your dog has all of a sudden started licking their paws until it is red, then it’s time to figure out what’s causing this behavior.

why do Pugs lick their paws

Related: Why Do Pugs Lick So Much Some Causes And How To Fix It

Below, you’ll find some possible reasons that can cause the paw licking and what to look for as a pet owner.


Allergies are one of the most common reasons for excessive Pug licking occurs.

This breed is prone to allergies and an allergic reaction could have been triggered by environmental factors such as pollen,  household cleaning products, dog food and etc.

My Pug was allergic to pollen and every Spring, she would lick her paws excessively after going for walks. We would have to wipe her feet with paw wipes after spending time outside.

If you notice that your Pug only licks at certain times of the year, it most likely is seasonal allergies.

For dogs that are licking year-round, it could be related to food allergies.

You may want to consider putting your Pug on a new diet. I’ve put together a list of foods to help you understand the types of foods to feed a Pug.

Yeast Infections

Brachycephalic breeds such as the Pug and Bulldogs are prone to yeast infections, because of those adorable skin folds.

Yeast dermatitis tends to affect dogs that have an overactive or underactive immune system. It is a common skin condition that causes an overproduction of skin oil, which becomes extremely itchy.

As your dog licks their paws, they are spreading the infection to other parts of their bodies.

You’ll notice a pungent, musty smell. Some people refer to this smell as an unpleasant “Frito Feet” smell. If it affecting her paws, she won’t be able to leave them alone.

You may want to eliminate wheat, potatoes, corn, rice, and other carbohydrates from their diet.

If left untreated, the condition will just continue to spread to other parts of their body.


Paw pain can cause your dog to lick obsessively. Maybe your dog has a small cut, foreign object, stepped on hot pavement, or got stung by a bee?

Your dog’s paws are exposed to all kinds of dangers on a daily basis. Regular pug paw care is vital to ensure that your dog doesn’t have any discomforts that can be causing them pain.

Licking is a mechanism that is used to help comfort themselves.

If your dog has suddenly started licking their paws, the first thing you should do is inspect their paws for any injuries, bites, or stuck objects such as splinters, ticks, glass, and etc.

Don’t forget to spread their toes to check in between the webbing, the bottom of the pads, and their nails. Just keep in mind, your dog may not like you touching their paws, especially, if this is a new experience for them.

If you notice any abnormal growths such as a cyst or tumor, you’ll want to contact your veterinarian.

Boredom Or Anxiety

boredom can cause licking
Boredom can lead to paw licking.

If you have ruled out all the other reasons that can be the excessive licking, your Pug may be dealing with stress, fear, or anxiety.

This breed is prone to separation anxiety and boredom can eventually lead to severe behavioral problems.

Pugs love being around their humans and will get bored if they are left home alone all day long, or ignored while you’re at home.

One of the easiest ways to deal with behavioral paw licking is to spend more time with your dog.

Some of the best ways to reduce boredom:

  • Take them for a 30-minute walk.
  • Sit quietly with them and groom them with a doggie brush or mitt.
  • Spend time playing with them in the backyard
  • Invest in some stimulating games to keep them entertained.
  • Teach them some new tricks.
  • Give them some toys to play with when you’re not around.
  • Take them to the dog park so they can socialize with other dogs.

While it’s okay to leave your dog home while you go to work or run some errands.

You should avoid leaving them for too long, otherwise, it can lead to behavioral issues.


When Pugs lick you, we know that it is a way that they used to communicate with their mother as puppies. This maternal instinct helped puppies become more resilient and less stressed.

Licking is a canine behavior that is thought to reduce stress hormone levels in a dog’s body. This is why dogs revert to licking their paws if they are feeling anxious or stressed.

If your dog is feeling stressed, they may be exhibiting other signs such as crying, whining, excessive panting, defecating, and urinating.

You’ll want to find out what’s causing your Pug to feel anxious.

Have you made any big changes to their daily routine? Maybe you got a second pet? It could be that your dog is just getting older and they’re starting to lose their eyesight or hearing.

If your pooch is stressed, then it’s time to contact your veterinarian or dog training specialist to find out what’s triggering the anxiety.

How To Stop Dog From Lick Paws?

You can’t truly help your dog until you figure out what’s causing the paw licking issues. As I mentioned above, there are several reasons that can be causing this problem.

If your Pug has a mild case of paw licking, here are some home treatments you can do to help bring them some relief.

Home Remedies For Itchy Paws

how to stop dog from licking paws raw
Try these home remedies to keep your dog from licking their paws raw.

You can try these home remedies to help bring some relief to your dog.

Consult with your veterinarian before starting any type of home regime. If your Pug’s symptoms become worse or stay the same, you should stop the treatment and seek medical assistance.

Soothing Paw Balm: A soothing paw wax balm can help bring relief to your pooch. Opt for a hypoallergenic, all-natural balm that won’t harm your Pug when they lick their paws.

For best results, allow the balm to dry for 5 – 10 minutes before resuming regular activity.

Epsom Salt Bath: Fill a small bowl with some Epsom Salt and soak your dog’s paws for 5 – 10 minutes. The Epsom Salt will raise your dog’s natural pH level, which will help kill bacteria that is causing the inflammation.

Repeat the process 2 – 3 times per day to see noticeable results.

Baking Soda: The baking soda you have in your pantry can help alleviate your dog’s itchy skin, and help reduce inflammation and redness.

Combine 50% water and 50% baking soda to create a paste. Apply the paste directly to your Pug’s itchy paws. After 15 – 20 minutes, rinse your dog’s paws.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Grab some apple cider vinegar from your pantry and use it to make a relaxing paw soak bath for your pooch.

Soaking your Pug’s paws for just 5 minutes can help soothe irritated paws and control the itchiness.

Fish Oil Supplement: A high-quality fish oil supplement can help strengthen your dog’s immune system and overall health which will help deter yeast infections and other ailments.

I’ve put together some other great home remedies to help you stop a Pug from itching.

*Note: Don’t expect to see immediate results. You’ll want to continue the treatment a couple of weeks before you start seeing any type of results.

When To See The Vet For Paw Licking?

When your Pug can’t do anything else but lick and chew their paws and it’s starting to break the skin, or draw blood, or causing them to limp, it’s time to see your veterinarian.

The earlier you see your veterinarian, the sooner you can bring relief to your dog before the chewing and licking leads to other issues.

Your vet will be able to run diagnostic tests to determine the underlying medical conditions that can be causing the paw licking.

They will also know the best way to treat the condition. They may recommend the use of antifungals, antibiotics, topical sprays, steroids, or prescription shampoo to help relieve the symptoms.

Ignoring the issue can lead to depression, loss of appetite, and restlessness for your pooch.

Final Word About Pug Licking Paws

Paw licking can be annoying to you, but you need to realize that it could be a sign of an underlying medical issue. There are several reasons they may be licking your feet, instead of their paws.

Unfortunately, there are several reasons that can be causing this problem. Not all dogs that lick their paws will have a medical condition.

Your dog could just be grooming themselves or may have stepped on something that tastes good to them.

As a Pug owner, it’s important to find out what’s causing this behavior, so you can help get your pooch some relief.

Related Articles You May Be Interested In:

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References And Further Reading

Pet Health Network – Dr. Justine A. Lee, DVM, DACVECC – Why Is My Dog Excessively Licking His Paws?

HuffPost – Dr. Karen Becker – The Huge Benefits Of Foot Soaks For Dogs

Black Pug Site