Dog Itchy Paws: 5 Causes & At-Home Remedies

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Golden retriever dog chewing his itchy paws

Is your dog licking or chewing their paws? It could be because of an intense itch that they just can’t seem to scratch. We’re breaking down the top 5 reasons for dog itchy paws as well as sharing practical home remedies you can use to help provide relief to itch paw symptoms that your dog might be suffering from.

5 causes of dogs’ itchy paws

Your canine companion's well-being is a top priority, and when those itchy paws in dogs become a persistent issue, it's time to investigate the potential culprits. Let's explore five common causes behind irritated dog paws:

1. Allergies

Did your pet start itching after your recent move to a different city or state? Your pets may be showing signs of environmental allergy. This is because different states have different flora–like plants, trees, and grass–that can trigger your pet’s allergies. Whether it's a reaction to food, flea or insect bites, pollen, or environmental allergies like grass, allergic responses can often translate to red and itchy dog paws. Identifying and managing these triggers is key for restoring peace to your pet's paws.

2. Paw yeast infections

Yeast can set up camp in the nooks and crannies of your pup's paws. This buildup of yeast can lead to discomfort and redness. Itchy paws in dogs might be a sign of a yeast overgrowth, emphasizing the importance of regular paw inspections and hygiene routines.

3. Dry paw pads

Just like our skin, a dog's paw pads can suffer from dryness, especially in harsh weather conditions. Cracks and dryness can contribute to the cycle of itchy dog paws, making moisturization a crucial aspect of paw care.

4. grass allergies

If your dog suffers from grass allergies, contact with allergens present in grass can result in irritated and itchy paws, calling for strategic outdoor play and post-play cleanup.

5. Dirty paw, poor paw hygiene, or excess moisture

Sometimes, itchy paws might have more than one cause. Dirt, inadequate hygiene, or excessive moisture accumulation can lead to red and itchy paws in dogs. Regular paw cleaning routines and drying paws after water play–including between the toes–can go a long way in preventing this common issue.

Understanding these five triggers is the first step toward bringing relief to your pet's paws. Next, we’ll explore effective remedies to bid farewell to those pesky itches.

Infographic on symptoms of itchy paws in dogs

Home remedies for itchy paws in dogs

Your pup's itchy paws needn't be a persistent problem! There are many effective home remedies designed to bring relief to those irritated dog paws. 

Flea medication

For dogs with flea allergies, 100% flea control is essential for remaining symptom-free and staying ahead of itchy paws. That means applying flea medication regularly––because it only takes 1 flea bite to cause an allergic reaction!

Vet Tip

Does your dog have skin irritation or itching? Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common skin disease in dogs.

Bathing & paw cleaning

The best way to give the paws a thorough clean is with a soothing bath. Opt for an anti-itch dog shampoo and pay extra attention to their paws. A gentle paw cleaning after outdoor play can rid their sensitive pads of potential irritants, providing immediate respite for a dog itching paws.

Bathing & paw cleaning

Dog allergy wipes are helpful for removing allergens on-the-go, when a paw bath or rinse isn’t feasible. Medicated ingredients can offer targeted relief to those persistently itchy dog paws without causing additional irritation.

Anti-itch spray 

You can help your dog combat the urge to scratch with an anti-itch spray––preferably one made with ingredients like hydrocortisone or pramoxine to soothe and numb itchy areas of paws. Often made with soothing ingredients like aloe vera or chamomile, these sprays offer on-the-spot relief, minimizing the discomfort associated with dog itchy paws. 


Consult your veterinarian to obtain a prescription and to help determine the appropriate dosage for your dog. These medications can help manage the underlying causes of itchy paws in dogs, especially when allergies are the primary triggers.

paw pad hydrating balm

You can combat skin dryness on the paws and promote healing with a paw pad hydrating balm enriched with natural moisturizers. This remedy can help address cracks and discomfort, working to alleviate the persistent issue of dogs' itchy paws.

Omega fatty acid supplement 

Nourish your pet’s skin from the inside out by incorporating an omega fatty acid supplement into their diet. By contributing to overall skin health, omega fatty acids can help diminish the frequency of dog itchy paws and foster well-being.

Experiment with these solutions to uncover the optimal combination for your furry friend's comfort. If itchy paws persist despite home treatment, it’s time to contact your vet for help!

Symptoms of itchy paws in dogs

When your dog experiences itchy paws, several symptoms may become evident. Common indicators include excessive licking or chewing at the paws, which can lead to redness or inflammation. You might also notice your dog limping or favoring one paw over others if discomfort is present. Frequent between-the-toes nibbling and moist, irritated patches known as hot spots are additional signs. In severe cases, the paws may emit an unusual odor or show hair loss due to persistent scratching and licking. Monitoring these symptoms closely can help in early identification and treatment of underlying causes.

Below are a few of the most common symptoms of itchy paws in dogs:

  • Excessive licking and chewing: Dogs often lick or chew their paws excessively when they itch.

  • Redness and inflammation: Look for signs of irritation or swollen paws.

  • Limping or favoring one paw: This may indicate that the discomfort is concentrated in a specific area.

  • Nibbling between toes: This targeted behavior can suggest localized issues.

  • Development of hot spots: Moist, inflamed areas can form from constant licking.

  • Unusual paw odor: A foul smell can emerge from infected paws.

  • Paw hair loss: Persistent scratching might lead to noticeable bald spots on the paws

How veterinarians treat itchy paws in dogs

We (your veterinarian) will assess for potential allergens triggering the itchy dog paws—from environmental factors to dietary issues. Identifying the root cause will guide how we approach treatment.

For mild cases, a regimen of topical solutions may be the answer. This includes specialized itch-relief wipes for dogs, anti-itch sprays, and antihistamine creams to quickly soothe the discomfort and reduce inflammation. Your vet may also suggest washing your dog’s itchy paws with an anti-itch shampoo to wash away any lingering irritants.

To combat the negative effects of environmental allergens, antihistamines may be prescribed. These medications work internally to manage the underlying causes of itchy paws in dogs, especially when seasonal or environmental factors are at play.

In severe instances, we might delve into immunotherapy—a personalized treatment plan designed to desensitize your pup to specific allergens, offering long-term relief for those perpetually itchy dog paws.

Allergies can be very frustrating for both pets and pet parents. The key to minimizing itching and allergy flare-ups and symptoms is to do as much at home care as you can. 

Just like us humans, every canine patient is different. Some dogs’ itchy paws can be well controlled with occasional treatment, and some may need more extensive maintenance or routine allergy checkups with your veterinarian. Every case is unique, and a tailored approach from your veterinarian ensures we get to the bottom of your furry friend's discomfort––while making a paw-sitive impact on their well-being! 

This blog exists to provide general information and education about veterinary health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, website, or in any linked materials is not intended as and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We cannot diagnose conditions, provide second opinions, or make specific treatment recommendations through this blog or website.

If you suspect that your pet has a medical concern, you should consult with your veterinary health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog, website, or in any linked materials.

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Written by a Vetnique Vet

Dr. Reina Hagstrom, DVM

Dr. Reina Hagstrom is the owner of Mermaid Vet Hospital and the non-profit Mermaid SANDS (Spay And Neuter Dental Services) in Vero Beach, FL. She has a passion for pet dentistry and has been recommending Vetnique products to her patients for years to support a variety of health conditions. 


Vero Beach, FL

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