Is your Pomeranian licking paws? While it may seem like an innocent activity (and often is), there are also times when Pomeranian behavior problems need to be identified and rectified.
Why Does My Pomeranian Lick Her Paws?
The first reason why dogs lick their paws and that’s for the taste. The second, and more important, reason for a Pomeranian licking paws is as a means of communication. Owners don’t often recognize that this is potentially a serious problem and so they ignore it.
So their Pomeranian licking or chewing a specific part of their paw(s) continues making the problem worse.
If your dog continues Pomeranian licking, the friction caused by his tongue and teeth can cause the following problems:
- Sores: Friction can cause tiny sores that you may not even notice. However, as he keeps chewing or licking the same spot over and over, the sore will deepen and widen.
- Bleeding: The sore may crack open over time. This is different to a cut in that the crack may look like shattered glass. There will be spots of blood coming through and the skin in the area will be very dry. Your dog will keep at it because he has a natural “wound licking” instinct.
- Infection: Once your Pom’s paw has broken skin, infection can easily occur. The paw may swell up, turn red, feel sore and it may also have a discharge.
- Loss of fur: If he constantly licks the paw in the same spot, the continual moisture, when combined with a gentle tugging action will weaken the follicles of his hair and so he may lose some of it. Over a long period of time, minor skin trauma can be as dangerous as acute trauma in the short term.
Dealing With Pomeranian Licking and Pomeranian Chewing Problems
If your Pom behaves in this way, try to learn the reason why. Targeting a specific paw: Your Pom dog may focus on a single paw and this can be because of stress. If it’s itchy, he may concentrate on a front paw. However, he may also try to get to a hind paw by lying in a certain way.
Read on to discover the significance of one paw focus versus front and back leg focus.
Feeling restless is a typical behaviour, regardless of the reason for a problem. Your Pom may feel stressed, have a compulsive disorder or could have allergies.
These are all problems that cause him a certain level of discomfort. He may have difficulty sleeping or relaxing because, within a short time span, he’ll have the urge to start chewing/licking once more.
Why Do Dogs Nibble On Their Paws?
- Boredom: It’s easy for any dog to be bored, especially if he’s left at home all alone every day. Licking and chewing until problems occur may be the results.
- Stress: Pomeranians (and some other dog breeds) can contract a stress-related condition called Acral Lick Granuloma/Dermatitis. It’s a skin disorder that causes your pet to lick one or more paws or the lower part of a leg. He’ll keep licking until he causes the area to become irritated, swollen and red and it may also bleed. Hair follicles may break and tiny bacteria pockets may be created. This constant licking can go deep enough to affect capillaries and oil glands.
Causes of Pomeranian Dogs Licking Their Paws Too Much
The three most common causes are:
This can be a few different things such as:
- Having a new owner (so a new home and different people to get used to, as well as the actual home itself).
- The gain or loss of a human or animal family member.
Dogs handle this problem in different ways.
- Some will bark or whine (sometimes all day long).
- Others will lick or chew their paws as a coping mechanism.
- Some can become destructive so when you open your front door, it looks like a tornado has swept through.
- The longer you leave your puppy/dog alone at home, the greater the difficulty it will be for your Pomeranian to cope.
Many Poms can have allergies with a whole range of symptoms including licking and chewing his paws. These may include (wheezing, diarrhoea, vomiting, nasal discharge, itchy eyes and/or eye discharge, coughing, itchy all over, hair loss, stool changes and so on.
However, some will only have licking and chewing paws as a symptom. If this is the case, it’s usually caused by something he has touched. It’s much simpler to treat. After his paws have healed, he should be fine, as long as you identify the trigger and remove it from his environment.
Less Common Reasons for Pomeranian Licking Paws
- Your Pom may start licking or chewing his paws for other reasons such as:
- Imbalances in his hormones.
- Yeast infection (often found between his claws.)
- Pain due to having trodden on a pebble or sliver and it has lodged in his paw.
- Parasites such as mites, ticks and fleas.
- In rare cases, he may sustain a neck injury that causes nerve pain to travel to the paws.
- Hip pain that radiates to his paws.
How to Stop Pomeranian Licking Paws
- It can be easy to treat this issue at home provided there are no additional health problems. If your Pom has made his paw or skin bleed, it’s strongly recommended to ask your vet to check him out. He may have an infection and a need for medications to treat it and testing to identify the allergies. If your beloved Pomeranian only has minimal hair loss and/or sores and you think he has an allergy, remove the trigger to see if he settles down.
- Apart from Winter, your Pom will usually want to lick/chew his paws after having been outside. Irritants on outside ground surfaces and in grass can be stuck on his paws and he then brings them into your home. Perhaps you started using new floor cleaner or deodoriser or have laid new carpet. All of these seemingly innocent things can cause your Pom problems and make him start chewing and licking. During Winter, chemicals used to melt ice can cause chemical burns and/or severe itching for your Pom. Consider that, even if your Pomeranian doesn’t have these issues in his own environment, he may spend time in other people’s cars and environments where such problems do exist and can easily be transported back into your home.
- Always rinse your Pom’s paws before letting him back into your home. A canine paw wipe isn’t enough. Running water is the best method to eradicate outside contaminates.
- Everyone should take off their shoes before entering your home to avoid bringing in other contaminants that may affect your Pom dog.
- Vacuum your floors with a HEPA certified vacuum cleaner. It sucks up 99.97% of all particles as tiny as 0.3 micrometres. These are among the many irritants invisible to the naked eye but still can cause your Pom dog severe problems.
- Professional treatment from your vet. If your steps don’t provide your dog with improvements after a week, contact your vet to have him properly tested for allergies. He’ll test to find the exact trigger and then he’ll prescribe a treatment plan that may include anti-inflammatories, antihistamines and/or antibiotics if an infection exists.
- Dry skin. Any part of your Pom’s skin can become dry. His paws are more susceptible because he walks on them. Dry skin is more prevalent in Winter months because the winds are colder and the air is very arid. Whenever your Pom licks to ease itchiness associated with dry skin, that aggravates the condition. If there’s bleeding and/or deep cracks and a possible infection, it’s best to ask your vet to check him out. However, there are several ways to ease general dryness. Use a humidifier. It adds more moisture to your home. You can have houseplants and also leave your doors open when you shower as these will also help a bit. Use a quality paw wax, as well as moisturising conditioners and shampoos to moisten your Pom’s paws.
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How to Treat Damaged Pomeranian Paws
While you can treat minor Pomeranian feet problems, there are many that need your vet’s attention including:
- Pain that causes your dog to limp and prevents him from moving freely.
- Deep sores and visible tissue within them.
- Prolonged episodes of bleeding.
- Severe redness or pus.
- Other indicators of infection, emotional or physical distress.
A visit to your Veterinarian is recommended. You owe it to your Pomeranian to learn correct Pomeranian care.
Disclaimer: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your dog. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on ANY website.
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References and Further Reading:
 Denise Leo “The Pomeranian Handbook”.