Why Do Jack Russells Lick Their Paws?

why do jack russells lick their paws

If you’re reading this article, there may be a good chance that you are very concerned about why your Jack Russell licks his paws. If so, that is understandable as it is one behaviour that cannot be ignored, as many owners of this breed will gladly tell you.

Paw licking is an abnormal behavior that can sometimes be difficult to troubleshoot. But if you know what the cause might be, you’re more likely to find a solution.

Knowing what your Jack Russell likes and dislikes can help you determine if there’s a behavioral issue that needs attention.

By making sure your dog gets enough exercise and exploring the factors that correlate with excessive paw licking, you may find the answer to excessive paw licking.

Why Do Jack Russells Lick Their Paws?

Jack Russells will lick their paws if they suffer from an injury, skin allergies, food allergies, or simply because they are bored or anxious. While it is common behaviour for a Jack Russell to lick his paws, there might be an underlying issue if he is constantly licking his paws.

How can I get my Jack Russell to stop licking his paws?

If you notice your Jack Russell incessantly licking or chewing his paws, the first step to take is to determine what’s causing the symptoms.

This can eliminate a lot of time sitting there scratching your head wondering why he’s doing it. While some problems are fairly obvious and easy to diagnose, many stem from complications such as allergies or internal parasites.

Let’s take a look at a few things you can try.

1.) Consult your vet

The best thing you can do to stop your Jack Russell from licking his paws excessively is to take him to the vet. He should be examined and checked for skin issues, fleas, and other skin parasites. He could also have an infection like ringworm or even allergies.

If the paw licking is caused by an internal disorder or parasite, the vet will prescribe meds to help with the symptoms. The vet might also recommend visits to eliminate any potential pests that may be causing your pet discomfort.

2.) Eliminate food allergies

Food allergies are a common cause of paw licking in dogs. If your dog has discovered a new food or treats he just can’t stop eating, you need to consider his dietary needs. If your dog is always licking his feet after meals or after he eats, you should check his diet.

One thing to look for is if your dog’s food contains seeds or nuts. If you notice that he has an issue with some of the foods you give him, you might want to consider switching brands.

If it turns out that there is nothing wrong with the food or that your Jack Russell just likes to lick his paws, try sprinkling a pinch of poultry seasoning on his food before he eats it. If this doesn’t help, talk to a vet about feeding him a hypoallergenic diet.

They will be able to recommend food additives that could help ease the itching and itching associated with paw licking.

3.) Avoid outdoor walks in the summer

During the daytime in hot weather, your Jack Russell will lick his paws to cool down. If he is constantly licking, this is an indication that he is suffering from heatstroke.

This can happen if it’s too hot outside for your dog while he’s not used to it and doesn’t have any shade available. You can also help protect your dog from excessive heat exposure by keeping him inside during midday hours when it is very hot outside.

If you’re worried about heatstroke, make sure that no one who doesn’t live with your dog is in the neighbourhood during daytime hours and that they do not do any activities during those times.

4.) Check your dog’s environment

If all of the above is ruled out, you could also check if there are any issues with your dog’s environment or furnishings. There are certain circumstances that may cause your dog to lick his paws excessively.

You might have to give him more space and keep him confined to a bathroom or a basement during hot times of the year.

5.) Eliminate boredom from your Jack Russell

Some dogs suffer from stress, boredom, isolation, and anxiety. This can cause excessive paw licking if he has nothing else to do but lick and scratch his paws for relief.

You might need to offer treats or toys that are interesting and fun for your dog to play with, or to consider some other activities that will give him something else to do and help him relax during the day.

6.) Dry the paws

If your Jack Russell has an injury, itchiness may very well precede licking. To reduce fidgeting or excessive scratching, try applying a damp cloth on his paws several times a day. This will help keep the area dry and in good condition.

You can also apply an ointment containing anti-itch compounds. If this doesn’t help, you may want to visit a vet.

7.) Keep the paws clean

Not washing your pet’s paws will probably lead to constant paw licking. If your Jack Russell is constantly licking his feet, it might not be the dog’s fault; you might want to check for obvious dirt or debris that could be causing the problem.


Reasons, why a Jack Russell may lick his paws, can range from mild discomfort and itchiness to health issues, allergies, boredom, and anxiety.

As pet owners, we must pay attention to our dogs’ behaviour and look for signs that something is wrong. With a few simple adjustments to your dog’s environment, paw licking can be significantly reduced or completely eliminated.

However, if you notice your Jack Russell is licking his paws too much, you should take him to the vet. Diseases and infections can cause paw licking, so talk to your veterinarian about different treatment options that could help alleviate the problem.


  • Jan Pretorius

    Meet Jan Pretorius, the passionate dog lover and proud owner of the popular canine haven, JackRussellTerrierDog.com. Born and raised in a small town known for its love of animals, Jan’s journey into the world of dogs began at a young age, fueled by an innate connection with our four-legged companions.