Why is My Dog Licking His Paws and Drinking a Lot of Water?

As a dog owner, you may have noticed some peculiar behaviors in your furry friend, such as excessive paw licking and increased water consumption. While these actions may seem harmless at first, they can indicate underlying health issues that require attention. 

In this article, we will delve into the reasons why your dog may be licking his paws and drinking more water than usual. Understanding these signs is crucial for maintaining your pet’s well-being, and we will also discuss potential solutions to address these concerns.

The Natural Instinct of Paw Licking

Before we jump into the potential reasons for your dog’s paw licking, it’s essential to understand that some degree of paw licking is a natural behavior for dogs. 

Dogs use their mouths to explore and interact with the world around them, much like we use our hands. Licking their paws is a way for them to clean themselves, provide comfort, or even communicate their feelings. However, when this behavior becomes excessive, it’s time to investigate further.

Allergies and Skin Issues

One common reason for increased paw licking is allergies. Dogs can develop allergies to various environmental factors, including pollen, dust mites, certain foods, or even cleaning products. 

When allergies strike, your dog may experience itching and discomfort, leading to excessive paw licking as a way to soothe the irritation.

Additionally, skin issues, such as dermatitis or fungal infections, can also trigger paw licking. These conditions can make your dog’s skin itchy and uncomfortable, prompting them to lick their paws in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort.

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Stress and Anxiety

Just like humans, dogs can experience stress and anxiety. Changes in their environment, routine, or the introduction of a new pet or family member can lead to heightened anxiety levels. 

Dogs may react to stress by licking their paws excessively, which is akin to a human biting their nails when nervous.

It’s crucial to pay attention to your dog’s behavior and identify potential sources of stress. Addressing these stressors can help reduce the compulsive paw licking.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Now, let’s shift our focus to the increased water consumption. If your dog is drinking more water than usual, it could be a sign of underlying gastrointestinal issues. 

Excessive thirst can be an indicator of diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, or Cushing’s disease. These conditions affect the body’s ability to regulate water balance, leading to increased thirst. 

If you notice your dog constantly seeking water, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian for a thorough examination.

Medications and Diet

Certain medications and dietary choices can also influence your dog’s water intake. If your pet is on medication, consult with your vet about potential side effects, including increased thirst.

Moreover, dry dog food may require your dog to drink more water to aid digestion. Ensuring that your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times is essential to maintaining their health.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors, such as hot weather or increased physical activity, can lead to increased water consumption in dogs. Dogs tend to pant more in hot weather to regulate their body temperature, leading to increased water loss and subsequent water intake.

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Exercise and playtime can also make your dog thirsty, so make sure to provide plenty of water breaks during outdoor activities.

How to Address These Issues

Now that we’ve explored the potential reasons behind your dog’s excessive paw licking and increased water consumption, let’s discuss how to address these issues.

Consult Your Veterinarian: If you’re concerned about your dog’s behavior, the first step is to consult your veterinarian. They can perform a thorough examination and run necessary tests to rule out underlying medical conditions.

Allergy Management: If allergies are the culprit, your vet may recommend allergy testing and prescribe medications or dietary changes to alleviate symptoms.

Stress Management: Addressing stress and anxiety in your dog may involve behavior modification techniques, calming supplements, or, in severe cases, medications prescribed by your vet.

Gastrointestinal Health: If your dog’s excessive thirst is due to gastrointestinal issues, your vet will develop a treatment plan that may include dietary changes, medications, or other interventions.

Proper Hydration: Ensure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times. This is essential for their overall health.


Your dog’s well-being is of utmost importance, and changes in behavior, such as excessive paw licking and increased water consumption, should not be taken lightly. 

These behaviors can be indicators of underlying health issues that require attention. By understanding the potential causes and seeking timely veterinary care, you can help ensure that your furry companion leads a happy and healthy life. 

Remember, your veterinarian is your best resource for addressing these concerns and providing the appropriate guidance and treatment for your dog’s unique needs.