At first glance, seeing your Cavapoo lick its paws might not raise alarm bells. However, if you continue to catch them in the act, you might start to wonder why they’re choosing to groom their paws so much.
There are many reasons why your Cavapoo might be licking its paws, such as allergies, boredom, and anxiety. Licking their paws isn’t always a bad thing, but it might be a sign of something that needs checking by a vet.
If you’ve noticed your Cavapoo licking their paws and want to understand more about their behavior, keep reading.
Possible Causes Of Paw Licking In Cavapoos
There are many reasons why your dog might be doing this, so don’t allow your mind to automatically land on the worst-case scenario. There could be a perfectly innocent reason behind it! Let’s look at the most common causes of licking their paws.
Anxiety is a common issue among dogs that not many first-time owners know of. Dogs are sociable and loyal creatures, so being left alone without a clear idea of where you are can be anxiety-provoking for them.
However, some dogs are more prone to anxiety than others. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is among these, making the Cavapoo more prone to anxiety as an extension.
So, they might be licking their paws to soothe themselves when they’re feeling anxious or upset, much like a baby sucks their thumb.
Common causes of anxiety include:
- Meeting new people in their house
- Thunderstorms and other loud noises
- New pets moving in
- Moving to a new house
- Strange smells
Cavapoos are very proud of their homes and owners, so they don’t deal with the change surrounding them well.
However, their anxiety might also be genetically inherited from the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parent. Better known as the Velcro dog, the Spaniel can suffer from high levels of anxiety any time they’re away from their owners.
Cavapoos often inherit this loyalty, so they might feel just as anxious when being left alone. Licking their paws could be a way of relieving some of this stress.
One of the most common reasons why Cavapoos lick their paws – and everywhere else on their bodies – is allergies. Dogs can suffer from allergies to both food and their environment, so you should be vigilant in looking for any allergens around them.
Common allergens include ingredients such as beef and chicken and environmental things like dander and pollen.
Allergies all present similarly in Cavapoos, no matter what the root cause is. Symptoms to look out for include increased itching, red skin, and breakouts of hives.
If you’ve ever experienced allergies, you’ll know how bad they can make you feel. Cavapoos suffer just as much as we do.
When Cavapoos experience skin irritation, they’ll often clean themselves to wash away the irritant. However, this is counterproductive as it actually makes it worse and more irritating. Your dog will then be caught in a vicious cycle of overgrooming.
If the allergies are left untreated, the skin can become raw from all of the overgrooming and even turn into infections. This is particularly true if repeatedly exposed to the bacteria in your dog’s mouth.
So, your Cavapoo might be cleaning its paws because they’re irritated from an infection. They might also be self-soothing if they’re feeling sad.
Cavapoos are incredibly intelligent dogs (thanks to their Poodle parent!), so they need lots of mental stimulation throughout the day.
They love playing games, training, and using treat boxes to get their brains working. This is different from physical exercise, which is also just as important.
Without enough exercise and mental stimulation, your Cavapoo might be getting bored. This is even more true if they’re left at home for long periods of the day.
Without enough things to stimulate their minds, you might find that your Cavapoo finds its own ways to entertain itself. This could materialize in the form of destructive behaviors, such as chewing, digging, or barking. To find out more about the types of bad habits that your Cavapoo may display, check out our blog, Are Cavapoos Destructive?
It might also look like overgrooming and licking their paws. At first thought, licking their paws might not seem like a bad form of entertainment. After all, at least they’re not tearing up your house!
However, licking their paws excessively could lead to your Cavapoo developing hot spots and hair loss. Overgrooming can also lead to irritated skin, which might get infected by bacteria in your dog’s mouth.
They’ll then start licking their paws to soothe the irritation, which makes them worse. It’s a vicious cycle!
Cavapoos are adventurous, so it’s likely that your dog will get debris stuck in its paws at some point during its outdoor excursions! The most common debris to get stuck includes grass seeds, stones, salt, or sand. You might also find some twigs in there, too.
You might not be able to spot these right away if they’re small enough, but your dog licking their paws is a good indication that there’s something bothering them. Licking will be their way of dislodging the debris and offering them some relief.
Your Cavapoo might be able to get the debris out themselves, so this isn’t too much of an issue.
However, you can take a look and help them (if they let you) to speed up the process. If the debris is left too long, it might cause an infection, so it’s best to sort out the issue right away.
What You Can Do To Help Your Paw-Licking Cavapoo
If you’ve noticed your Cavapoo has been licking its paws a lot lately, the first thing to do would be to determine the frequency of its grooming sessions. If something were wrong, your dog would be grooming their paws almost constantly.
If they’re licking their paws only now and then, they might simply be going through the motions of their routine. Dogs like to soothe themselves by licking their paws, so it might be one step in their nightly routine before bed.
However, there could be another reason behind the licking, which would require your assistance. So, what should you do?
Figure Out If It’s A Medical Issue
If the paw grooming has become obsessive, the first thing you should do is determine whether it’s a medical issue or not. You should check for other symptoms like Alopecia to determine whether you should talk to a vet.
Look for signs of allergies and stress from separation anxiety. If you find any, look for ways to minimize these. Vets might be able to prescribe them allergy medication, and you should minimize their contact with allergens.
To soothe an anxious dog, consider getting someone to look after them while you’re away – or take them with you!
Training classes also never hurt when they can teach your dog how to enjoy their own company more.
Check For Any Debris
Your dog might have something small stuck in their paw that they’re trying to dislodge by licking them.
This can be annoying for your Cavapoo, so try and see if you can help by finding the object and removing it for them.
If you can see something but are unable to remove it, consider getting your vet to help. The worst thing you could do is leave the object stuck in the paw, as this can turn into an infection.
So, get the object out and consider regularly inspecting your dog’s paws after walks.
Keep Their Environment Mentally Stimulating
Cavapoos need plenty of mental stimulation to stop them from getting bored, so make sure you have lots of toys left around the house for them.
If you’re going to be out most of the day, arrange for a dog walker to come and take them out to explore or a sitter to play with them for an hour or two. If they get anxious every time you leave the house without them, we have some great tips on how to train your Cavapoo to be left alone.
Lay out treat cages and puzzle toys throughout your entire house for your dog. This will keep them entertained as they find new things to play with throughout the day.
Food will also be a great incentive for them to continue playing, which will keep their attention on the food instead of their paws.
If you’re home throughout the day, make sure you put some time aside throughout the day to play with them and go through some training techniques. This will also keep them mentally stimulated and happy.
Thanks for reading our guide on why Cavapoos lick their paws. This could be something as simple as a self-soothing technique, or it could be an indication of allergies or a health condition.
Cavapoos can suffer from separation anxiety, so licking their paws might be a way of soothing their stress away. It could also be a way of entertaining them while they are bored.
Make sure your dog is happy and entertained throughout the day to prevent overgrooming, as this can lead to hot spots and infections.