How to Keep a Dog From Licking an Injured Paw

When a dog sustains an injury, it will lick at the wound in order to reduce bacteria and keep the wound from getting infected. The downside is that the dog may not stop licking at the injury, and over time it could become raw and difficult to heal. There are a variety of methods you can employ to stop the behavior and keep your dog from licking her injured paw so it can heal.

A dogs paws
credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Dress the wound with gauze wrap to keep the dog from licking it. If you catch your dog licking at the gauze or attempting to bite and tear it away from the wound, distract him with another activity to keep his mind off of it.

Use an Elizabethan neck collar. These stiff collars, which look like a cone around your dog's head, make it difficult for dogs to reach beyond the width of the cone to lick. Proper sizing of the collar is essential to ensure your dog can't reach beyond the collar, but note that some dogs may become stressed out by the use of this type of collar. If your dog is expressing extreme stress, remove the collar and attempt another method.

Exercise your dog. Sometimes dogs lick excessively because they are bored. If your dog has enough exercise, it will be able to rest properly, even if she's got a healing wound.

Spray the wound and surrounding area with a natural repellent spray. Many pet stores sell these types of sprays, which are safe for consumption, but unpleasant to taste.

Put a long-sleeved t-shirt on your dog. The t-shirt will cover the wounded area and your dog won't be able to lick it. You may want to watch for signs that your dog is attempting to chew through the t-shirt and discourage him from doing so by distracting him with another activity.

Talk to your veterinarian to get a prescription for a spray-on antibiotic. Not only will the antibiotic promote healing, it will also reduce the amount of itching that may be the cause for your dog's constant licking. You will need to use an Elizabethan collar in conjunction with the spray, to keep your dog from poisoning herself by licking at the spray.