Please stop licking your paw

May 07, 2012  •  Leave a Comment


My dog, Sammy, developed a paw licking habit a few months ago. Here's the story of all the things we tried before settling on a very low-tech solution: socks.

First, we tried "No Chew" tape which is basically nasty-tasting athletic tape. If we had put it on the first day, it might have done the trick. At the time, I optimistically thought Sammy would stop licking on his own. But, three short days later, he had developed a licking habit which would take him months to kick. 

Yellow lab with socks and shoesDog with socks on paws to stop licking

After a few weeks of Sammy chewing through the "No Chew" tape, we took the vet's advice and gave him anti-anxiety meds. Sadly, he continued to lick his ankle and leg. One thing we didn't try was the dreaded cone. Sammy gets wide-eyed and absolutely NUTS when he wears the cone so we figured that would make him even more anxious.

Socks were what eventually helped Sammy break his licking habit. We tried a couple of variations before we hit on the winner. In the photo with the puppy, Sam is wearing socks and shoes. We cut the ends off old socks, slid them on like leg warmers and put on his dog shoes so they wouldn't slide off. That worked more or less but he still could push the socks down to lick his leg. In retrospect, I think the puppy's visit may have been causing him more anxiety! Poor Sam.

The photo of Sam in the grass shows socks safety-pinned to a piece of elastic that goes over his back like suspenders. This was the winner! It looked ridiculous but the socks didn't fall down. He stopped licking and both of his legs have healed!

Here's an article "Ask a Vet: So, My Dog Won't Stop Licking Herself!" that I could have used a few months ago. If your dog ever starts licking, nip it in the bud before it becomes a habit!

Yellow lab wearing sock suspendersDog with socks on paws


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