10 Reasons Why Dogs Lick Their Noses and Paws

by Felesha Scott

Looking at your dog lick their nose and paws obsessively can get a bit annoying, especially when you have no clue why they are going at it so aggressively. Some dogs may even start to lose interest in the things around them and simply focus on licking their noses and paws.

It is important for you to know what leads to their behavior and find out if it’s continuous or accompanied by limping, swelling, bleeding, or a foul odor.

Why is Your Dog Licking Their Nose?

Black dog licking nose

Any sudden behavioral change in your dog speaks great volume about them. Dogs are unable to talk to you and tell you how they feel, so you need to pay attention to their actions. One of those actions is constant nose licking. To help you understand, I have listed a few reasons why your dogs lick their noses.


Black labrador standing up at a five bar gate licking nose

Some dogs lick their nose when they are anxious or confused. Try to watch your dog in different situations to find out what might be triggering their anxiety. For instance, some dogs who suffer from storm phobia lick their nose when they are frightened or anxious. Other dogs become eager around new people and in new environments.

Nose Injury

bulldog lying on the floor licking his nose

Any injuries such as cuts, abrasion, puncture, or damage to your dog’s nose can cause them to constantly lick their nose. Check your dog nose for infections, the intensity of the injury, and speak to your veterinarian if you become concerned.


Collie Dog Licking Nose

Dogs have a tendency to develop fungal or bacterial infections, which can lead to nasal discharge. Most dogs deal with it by constantly licking their nose. These kinds of infections might even cause them to sneeze constantly.

Abnormal Growth

Close-up of a white zuchon puppy licking lips

Nasal tumors are a leading reason for licking in some dogs and should be inspected by a certified vet as they can quickly assess the real issue your dog is facing.


Allergies are other reasons why your pets keep licking their nose. Because dogs lead with their nose, it’s common for them to pick up allergens. Have your vet check your dog for allergies to find out what they are allergic to and keep them away from those things that trigger their allergic reaction.

A dog sitting waiting for its owner and licking lips

Why is Your Dog Licking Their Paws?

A puppy’s paw with shallow depth

When your dog starts to lick their paws obsessively, there is something wrong. It can be anything from itching, pain, irritation, or just a plain obsessive disorder. Knowing what is causing your dog behavioral change can help ensure their health in the long run.

Paw Injury

Close up of dog injury paw

The most common reason for paw licking is paw injury. This may be caused by any sharp object, hot pavement, insect bite, a fighting wound, or something foreign that might have gotten stuck on your dog’s paw that needs to be removed.

Abnormal Growth

An abnormal growth can be anything from a cyst to a tumor, or your dog might have soft tissues, bones, or arthritis. Some of these are visible, others might need your dog’s doctors’ assistance.


Cute white puppy dog sleeping on wooden floor. Paw in focus. Polish Tatra Sheepdog

Itching or irritation around the paw pads is due to allergic reactions. Your dog may get allergies due to his environment or from something that he ate. Pay attention to your dog to pinpoint the triggers. Your dog can get develop an allergic reaction from the food they eat, pollen, weeds, mold, dust mites, toiletries, plastic or rubber toys, and prescription drugs.


It’s common for dogs to develop fungal or bacterial infections. The reasons can be endless, but keeping up with clean paws is a great place to start.

Hormonal Imbalance

Dogs tend to produce an excessive amount of cortisol when their hormones are out of control. These come forward as red spots, balding, and brittle hair. Additionally, excessive licking can lead to an infection. This is why you need to get them medical help before things get out of control.

Dog paw in owner hand

Pets are family, and they deserve the best care that you can give them. It’s never a bad idea to visit your veterinarian if you believe that your dog has a health or behavioral issue.

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