My GSD won’t stop licking her feet

Ask A Vet Adrian Caunter MRCVS

German Shepherd Dog Won't Stop Licking Her Feet


My GSD licks her back feet. The fur has gone all pink in between her toes. I have checked and there is no reason for her to lick her paws.

I have checked and there is no fungal infection and am worried that she has formed this habit and now can't stop.

What can I do to make her stop?


Hi Michelle, Great Question! Foot licking is a really common problem in a lot of dogs. You can usually tell as soon as the animal walks into the room if they have this behaviour as the whole foot is brown from saliva staining.

There can be a behaviour component to the problem or issues like painful arthritis of the foot, in general, though there is usually some kind of allergy or infection going on. The foot of the dog is the only part that sweats and this can lead to a build-up of bacteria or yeast within the pads.

This is also the part of the body that comes into contact with grasses etc. that the dog may be allergic to. I would advise you to bathe the feet in a product with antibacterial and anti-yeast properties, especially after going for a walk.

It is also worth looking at switching to a grain-free diet omega 3 fatty acid supplements to help with general skin control. IF this doesn't work then a vet check to rule out other problems is advised. If it truly is a behaviour problem then distraction techniques and barrier therapy like the use of socks etc. may be useful.

Adrian Caunter MRCVS