9 Reasons For Shih Tzu Licking Paws & Tips

Categorized as Dogs
Shih Tzu Licking Paws
Shih Tzu Licking Paws

Is your Shih Tzu constantly licking their paws? If so, you’re not alone!

Many Shih Tzu owners have this same issue, and it can be a real challenge to find a solution.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the causes of paw licking in Shih Tzus, as well as potential solutions and treatments that can help your pup feel better.

Read on to learn more about why your Shih Tzu is constantly licking their paws, and what you can do to help them.

Shih Tzu Licking Paws

Shih Tzus often lick their paws for a variety of reasons, including allergies, boredom, stress, and a need for attention.

Allergies are the most common cause of excessive paw licking in Shih Tzus, as it can cause itching or irritation.

Boredom, stress, or a need for attention can also lead to excessive licking, as can salt cravings and anxiety.

If your Shih Tzu is licking their paws excessively, it is best to take them to the vet to rule out any medical conditions and to ensure they are getting the proper care and treatment.

Let’s break it down further…

Common Causes of Paw Licking in Shih Tzu

Below are some common causes of paw licking in Shih Tzu:

Skin Infections

A Shih Tzu may compulsively lick its paws if it has a skin ailment, such as a fungal or bacterial infection.

Redness, swelling, and itching are possible symptoms of the illness; these symptoms can be momentarily alleviated by licking or chewing.

Veterinary medicine, such as topical or oral antibiotics or antifungals, is frequently used to treat skin infections.

You might also need to keep the afflicted region dry and clean.


One of the most frequent reasons Shih Tzu dogs lick their paws is allergies.

Anything can cause them to develop allergies, including food, pollen, dust mites, and flea stings.

Shih Tzus who are allergic to something may lick their paws to soothe the itching or inflammation.

You may need to find and stay away from the allergen if your Shih Tzu is licking its paws because of allergies.

To identify the cause of the allergy, a veterinarian may advise allergy testing or an elimination diet.

Antihistamines and other allergy drugs may also help to lessen itching and irritation.

Hormonal Imbalances

Many skin issues, such as itching, dryness, and inflammation, can be brought on by hormonal imbalances.

Paw licking in Shih Tzus can occasionally be caused by hormonal disorders like hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease.

The exact illness will determine the course of treatment for hormonal abnormalities.

To assist control the imbalance and lessen symptoms, a veterinarian could suggest medication, dietary modifications, or other treatments.

Anxiety or Stress

Due to their sociable nature, Shih Tzus may experience anxiety or worry when left alone for an extended amount of time or when they are in an unfamiliar environment.

Anxiety can manifest as excessive paw licking, which may also include other symptoms such as shaking, panting, or hiding.

You may need to collaborate with a veterinarian or a certified dog trainer to create a behavior modification strategy if your Shih Tzu paw-licking behavior is brought on by stress or anxiety.

Desensitization training, meditation, or anxiety-relieving drugs may be used in this situation.

Dry Skin

A Shih Tzu’s discomfort and irritation from dry skin may drive them to lick their paws excessively.

By feeding your dog a balanced diet, giving them regular grooming, and hydrating their skin with the right product, you may help avoid dry skin.

You might need to include a moisturizing product in your Shih Tzu’s grooming regimen if they have dry skin.

Examples include dog-specific moisturizers and natural oils like coconut or olive oil.

A veterinarian could also suggest dietary modifications or supplements that encourage good skin.


Shih Tzus’ paws can become inflamed, itchy, and infected from parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites, which can result in excessive licking.

It’s crucial to safeguard your animal friend from parasites by taking the necessary precautions.

The key to preventing paw licking brought on by parasites is parasite prevention, specifically using the right flea and tick preventive methods.

A veterinarian may advise medication, topical treatments, or other methods to get rid of parasites if your Shih Tzu already has an infestation.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Dryness, flakiness, and itching are just a few of the skin disorders that can be brought on by nutritional inadequacies.

Make sure your Shih Tzu is eating a balanced, nutritious diet if they are excessively licking their paws.

Paw licking brought on by nutritional inadequacies can be avoided by making sure your Shih Tzu eats a balanced and nutritious diet.

To support your dog’s health, a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist might be able to suggest dietary modifications or supplements.

Environmental Factors

Shih Tzus may lick their paws as a result of environmental causes such as skin irritation brought on by severe weather, chemicals, and pollutants.

By shielding your pet from harsh weather and utilizing non-toxic materials around the house, you can help prevent this.

Paw licking brought on by external causes can be avoided by shielding your Shih Tzu from inclement weather and hazardous substances.

This may entail restricting outdoor activity during severe weather, utilizing pet-friendly cleaning supplies, or staying away from pesticide-treated outdoor areas.

Pain or Discomfort

Shih Tzus may lick their paws to ease pain or discomfort brought on by joint problems, arthritis, or other ailments.

Take your animal buddy to the vet for a professional diagnosis if they are limping or having trouble moving.

If your Shih Tzu is licking their paws because they are hurt or uncomfortable, you may need to consult a veterinarian to identify the underlying issue and create a suitable treatment strategy.

This can entail using painkillers, physical therapy, or other therapies.

Identifying the Underlying Cause Shih Tzu Licking Paws

Identifying the underlying cause of a Shih Tzu’s licking of their paws can be a difficult task, as there are many possible causes.

Possible underlying causes include allergies, behavioral conditions, skin infections, parasites, and environmental factors.

To determine the underlying cause, your veterinarian may need to take skin scrapings to look for parasites or infections.

Additionally, your veterinarian may also recommend allergy testing and provide medications or dietary changes to help alleviate the issue.

It is also important to rule out any behavioral issues that may be causing the licking, such as boredom or stress.

Learn more about caring for a Shih Tzu puppy.

Addressing Shih Tzu Paw Licking Behavior

Here are some tips to help address this behavior:

  1. Keep their paws clean and dry: Keep your Shih Tzu’s paws dry and clean by routinely wiping them down with a moist cloth to eliminate any dirt or debris that might be irritating them. After a wash or a stroll in muddy or damp weather, dry their paws completely to avoid moisture buildup that could result in diseases.
  2. Check for any underlying health issues: Paw licking may occasionally be a sign of an underlying health problem, like allergies, infections, or injuries, thus it is important to rule out any such conditions. Take your Shih Tzu to the doctor for a checkup if they are excessively licking their paws or if the behavior is accompanied by other symptoms like redness, swelling, or limping.
  3. Attend to any allergies: Allergies can cause paw licking by causing itching and irritation. Work with your veterinarian to create a plan to control the allergies and treat the symptoms if your Shih Tzu has allergies.
  4. Distract your Shih Tzu: Paw licking occasionally indicates boredom or worry. Make sure your Shih Tzu gets enough exercise and socialization, as well as plenty of toys to keep them occupied.
  5. Use deterrents if necessary: If your Shih Tzu persists in licking its paws in spite of your attempts, employ deterrents like bitter sprays or a cone to block access to the paws. However, before administering any medication to your pet, always seek advice from your veterinarian.

Keep in mind that each dog is unique, so what works for one dog might not work for another.

If your Shih Tzu paw-licking tendency persists or gets worse, speak with a doctor or a trained dog behaviorist for additional guidance.

Learn more about old age Shih Tzu issues.

Preventing Paw Licking in Shih Tzu

To prevent paw licking in Shih Tzu, start by consulting with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical condition.

Additionally, make sure to keep your dog’s paws clean and dry after walks, as wet paws can lead to irritation and excessive licking.

Consider using dog booties if your dog is walking in wet or muddy areas, as this can help protect its paws from excessive contact with the elements.

Additionally, consider using a moisturizer or balm on your dog’s paws to keep them from becoming dry, cracked, or irritated.

Finally, provide your dog with plenty of mental stimulation, as boredom or stress can trigger excessive licking.

Learn more about food Shih Tzu should avoid.


In conclusion, it’s important to remember that if your Shih Tzu is constantly licking their paws, it could be a sign of something more serious.

Therefore, if your pup is exhibiting this behavior, it’s important to consult a veterinarian to identify and treat the underlying cause.

With the right care and treatment, your pup can be back to its happy, healthy self in no time!

By Samuel Akira

Samuel Akira has 12 years of experience with dogs his a major author in Pet Creeks and currently living and taking care of 2 different breeds of dogs, Samuel Akira is here to write and share his years of experience with dogs.