My Dog Is Licking Her Foot & Limping

By Nora Zavalczki

Limping and licking of feet may point to an injury or an age-related illness in an animal. Canines often limp if they are in pain and licking is another means to signal the problem. Dogs often lick an achy area, because this brings temporary relief. If you detect these symptoms in your pet, you should look for additional symptoms and get specialized help to prevent complications.

Possible Causes

A paw injury may result in limping. Possible paw problems include abrasions, lacerations, punctures, burns and blisters to the pads or splinters and objects stuck between toes. If the pads are dry or cracked, this may also cause pain. Arthritis is a common problem in middle-aged and senior canines. The condition is painful and your dog may limp and lick her feet. Other causes of limping may include closed fractures, ligament injuries, bone tumor, hip dysplasia or kneecap dislocation. Fleas can make your dog lick and chew her feet and the excessive chewing of feet may cause wounds and possibly limping.

Additional Symptoms

When your dog is licking her foot and limping, she may also display other symptoms that may help you identify the problem. Check your dog's paws for any injuries or foreign objects or symptoms such as bleeding and discoloration. Look for fleas, which may be visible in the dog's fur and will cause scratching. Other symptoms of arthritis may include difficulty when performing certain moves and extended sleeping hours, and your pet may also hesitate to climb stairs. Depression, lack of appetite and a change in the dog's behavior may signal cancer.

Diagnosing Limping

Take your pet to the veterinarian and inform him about the additional symptoms of your pet. The veterinarian examines your pet and performs tests such as x-rays, if a fracture is suspected or a complete blood count to detect cancer or infections.

Treatment Options

If your pet has a paw or foot injury, disinfect the wound with an antibacterial wash, and bandage the foot. The dog may chew the bandage, so place a cone collar around her neck to prevent this and facilitate the healing of the wound. If the wound looks infected, if it oozes or you notice puss accumulation, consult your veterinarian for an antibiotic treatment. Arthritis is not a treatable condition, but management treatments are available including joint supplements and physical therapy. Parasites can be eliminated with insecticides, and the veterinarian may also recommend a cone collar to stop your dog from chewing and biting her skin. Surgery is recommended if the pet has a fracture or bone tumor that is in the initial stages of development.