If your husky has been licking its feet and paws a lot you might be wondering why and what you should do about it.
In this post, I will show you a number of reasons why your husky might lick its feet and paws a lot and what you can do about it.
So, why does my husky lick its feet and paws? Possible reasons are being bored, having something stuck in them, allergies, fleas, injury, separation anxiety or it could be a compulsive behavior.
There are actually multiple reasons why your husky might be licking its feet and paws a lot and it could be a combination of multiple reasons. However, there are also some things you can consider that will help you in identifying the exact reason. Once you have a good idea of the cause it will become easier to get it to stop.
Why your husky licks its feet and paws
The different reasons why your husky has been licking its feet and paws will likely come with some clues in the way that it does it.
Below, I will show you a number of reasons why it might be licking its feet and paws and what would make them more likely.
Huskies are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise in order to be fully stimulated. When they do not get enough exercise they will look for other ways to stimulate themselves and it could be part of the reason why yours licks its feet and paws a lot.
Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day. If your husky is not getting that much then it would help to make sure that it does after confirming it is not doing it due to injury.
It has something in them
It might be the case that it has been licking its feet a lot because there is something stuck in its paws. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly, it has been licking one paw in particular and if you can see there is something in there. In this case, it would likely be the best option to take it to a vet.
Allergies or a rash could also be causing your Siberian husky to lick its paws. Allergies can be caused by things such as shampoo, other dogs, pollen or household chemicals (source).
It would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that your husky started licking its paws often. For example, if it started doing it when you started using a new shampoo on it then it would likely have something to do with it.
It might be the case that it has fleas and they are causing it to lick itself a lot.
This would be more likely if it has been itching or biting itself in other areas as well and if you have found flees on it or around the house.
If fleas are causing your husky to lick, scratch and bite itself, it would help to talk to your vet about what you should do to get rid of the flees.
It would also help to eradicate fleas from your home by doing things such as:
- Washing the bedding with hot soapy water
- Vacuuming the carpets and throwing the bad
- Applying an environmental flee control
- Applying a spray, pellet or non-toxic treatment for the yard
- Treating your husky with a monthly preventative
It might be the case that your husky is doing it obsessively. This is where it has an irresistible urge to lick its paws so it keeps doing it. This would be more likely if it has been licking its paws constantly for a few weeks now. In this case, the best option would be to get help from a vet.
The reason why it has been doing it could be that it is injured. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being injured. In this case, the best option would be to get help from a vet.
The reason why it has been doing it could be that it has separation anxiety. This is where it does not like it when it is left alone and it becomes anxious when it is left alone. Separation anxiety would be more likely to be the reason if it licks its paws more just before you normally leave home and if it starts getting anxious when you are about to leave.
In this case, it would help to avoid leaving it for extended periods and to periodically check up on it if possible.
Also, it would help to train it to be less anxious when you are leaving and when you are away.
To do this you could do as follows:
- Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
- Reward your husky for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
- Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
- Reward your husky for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
- Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your husky
- Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer
It’s not unusual for huskies to lick their paws occasionally. If your husky has not been licking its paws constantly, it’s not losing fur and there is no sign of anything else being wrong it could just be that it is normal behavior and it is grooming itself.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when trying to figure out why your Siberian husky has been licking its feet and paws.
It is normal for it to lick its paws or feet occasionally
If your husky only licks its feet or paws occasionally it would likely just be normal behavior. When it licks its paws the cause could be that it is just grooming itself or that it has something stuck to its paws.
Whereas, if your husky has been licking its paws or feet a lot then it would be unusual behavior.
When it does it
It would help to consider the timing of when your husky licks its feet or paws since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
If you notice that it tends to do it more when you are about to leave home it would make it more likely to be due to separation anxiety. Whereas, if it does it more when it has not gotten much exercise it might be due to boredom.
When it first started doing it
It would also help to consider when your husky first started licking its paws. If it started doing it suddenly it would make it more likely that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.
If it did start doing it suddenly it would make it more likely to be due to things such as allergies, fleas, injury or getting something stuck on them.
How to get your husky to stop licking its paws and feet
Below are a number of things you can do when getting your Siberian husky to stop licking its paws.
Check there is nothing stuck in its paws
Since your husky could be licking its paws due to having something stuck in them it would help to see whether or not there is anything stuck there. It would also help to check for fleas or a rash.
Take it to a vet
If you cannot figure out why it has been licking its paws, it has been doing it constantly or it has been showing signs of being injured it would help to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert guidance tailored towards your particular husky.
Give it exercise
As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that your husky is getting enough exercise. If your husky is not getting much exercise right now it would help to give it more by walking it yourself or getting a dog walker to do it for you.
Avoid negative reinforcement
Negative reinforcement is where you reinforce bad behaviors by giving your husky things that it wants when it displays them. If you have been giving your husky rewards when it licks its paws you might have reinforced the behavior.
Instead of rewarding it when it does it try to reward it when it is being well behaved and to recognize when it is likely to start licking its paws and to redirect its focus onto something else.