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Veterinarian Shares Shocking Reason For Your Dog’s Excessive Paw Licking

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on January 11, 2022

Licking, itching, and scratching are common dog habits. In some cases, these actions are just a part of grooming, but other times, they become excessive. Paw licking is one of the first signs that something is wrong with your dog’s wellbeing. Dr. Gary Richter, a leading veterinarian in America, believes the cause for abnormal paw licking could be more serious than we suspect.

According to Dr. Richter’s research, certain types of dog food could lead to uncontrollable licking and other health concerns. The way your dog’s food is cooked could be hurting them more than helping them, but there are solutions.

Dog licking paws

How Does Dog Food Cause Paw Licking?

The most common type of dog food is kibble, but Dr. Richter believes it’s also the worst type to give to your dog. Pet food manufacturers use extremely high temperatures to cook kibble, which removes many beneficial nutrients in the process. When food is cooked with excess heat, it extends the shelf life of the food, but it also adds unhealthy items to it.

“This method quickly destroys vital nutrients and can actually release harmful substances into your dog’s food supply,” said Dr. Richter.

High heat cooking creates advanced glycation end products and Maillard reaction products (MCPs). These harmful substances can irritate your dog’s skin, leading to increased licking. It can also contribute to other health concerns, such as allergies, digestion problems, joint pain, and low energy.

Dog with three kibble bowls

What Should Your Dog’s Diet Include?

Dr. Richter says that dogs need whole, healthy food, which includes meat, fruits, and vegetables. A raw diet is a popular way to give your dog those ingredients because it doesn’t involve high-temperature cooking. However, raw food can be pricey, messy, and time-consuming, which is why many dog parents avoid it.

So, Dr. Richter recommends freeze-dried raw food instead. It contains all the health benefits of a raw diet with the convenience of dry food. As long as the freeze-dried food includes essential items like organ meats, fruits, vegetables, amino acids, prebiotics, omega-3s, antioxidants, and vitamins, your dog will feel better than ever.

The changes that Dr. Richter observed for dogs who switched to better diets went beyond decreased paw licking. The dogs also showed improvements in dental health, digestion, and energy levels. So, if your dog is licking their paws, it might not be a harmless habit. It could be a sign that they need a significant improvement in the food they eat.

Cocker Spaniel Licking Lips

Ultimate Pet Nutrition’s Nutra Complete is a premium freeze-dried raw diet that fits all of Dr. Richter’s suggestions. It’s made from 95% raw beef and organ meats, and it contains no preservatives or fillers. It promotes healthy joints, vision, energy, bones, and digestion. New customers can save over 50% on their first order!

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