6 Reasons Why Your Boston Terrier Is Licking Its Paws

Does your Boston seem to bite and lick at their paws excessively?

Maybe, the itching and chewing have been keeping you and your pup up all night.

6 Reasons Why Your Boston Terrier Is Licking Its Paws

There are many different causes for paw licking in Boston Terriers. This article will describe 6 of the most common causes of paw licking and what you should do about it.

Boston Terrier Paw Licking: Causes & Solutions

If your Boston is only occasionally licking their paws, this could be considered a normal grooming behavior. Sporadic paw licking that only occurs a couple of times per day is probably pretty normal.

If your Boston seems to be licking their paws excessively, there could be some type of underlying condition causing the itchy paws.

6 Reasons Why Your Boston Terrier Is Licking Its Paws

6 Reasons Your Boston Terrier Is Licking Its Paws

Some of the most common causes of paw licking include allergies, infections, injuries, or behavioral issues. The following are the 6 most common causes for paw licking in Boston Terriers.

1. Allergies

One of the most common causes of paw licking in Boston Terriers is allergies. Allergies are extremely common in the Boston Terrier breed and can cause additional symptoms such as:

  • Itching
  • Scratching
  • Hair loss
  • Skin infections
  • Ear infections

There are many different things that can cause allergies in Bostons. Environmental allergies tend to be the most common cause of allergies. 

This could be an allergy to grass, grass pollen, or tree pollen. These things can cause a reaction on the paws causing the paws to become itchy.

An allergy to something in the food can also cause itchy paws. The most common ingredients that dogs are allergic to include beef, chicken, or eggs. There are special low allergen diets that your veterinarian may recommend if they suspect a food allergy.

Last, flea allergies can also cause itchy paws. If your Boston has fleas, they could be allergic to them. This can cause the paws to become itchy and inflamed.

Do you think your Boston Terrier has allergies? Read this guide to help, Boston Terrier Allergy Guide: Symptoms & Treatments (Natural One’s As Well)

2. Injury

Some type of injury may cause paw licking. If your Boston has scraped or cut their paw, they may lick it incessantly.

One time at the veterinary hospital, I examined a dog that had been licking his paw excessively. Upon further examination, he had a large thorn stuck in his paw pad.

If your Boston is suddenly licking their paw with no other explanation, you might check the paws and between the toes to ensure they haven’t been injured.

6 Reasons Why Your Boston Terrier Is Licking Its Paws

3. Boredom

Your Boston may just be bored. If your dog is not getting the exercise it needs, they can become bored. They may start licking their paws just because there is nothing better to do.

Make sure you are providing plenty of exercise and mental stimulation for your Boston by taking them on plenty of walks and providing them with safe puzzle toys like a Kong.

Is your Boston bored? Fight boredom with these 20 Ideas To Keep Your Boston Active.

4. Yeast Infection

If your Boston has been licking their paws excessively, they could have a yeast infection. Usually, yeast infections are caused by some underlying allergy. When your Boston licks the paws, they become moist creating an ideal environment for additional yeast growth.

Boston’s with yeast infections of the paws will often have stinky feet. You may also notice that they have discharge between the toes or paw redness.

If you suspect your Boston has a yeast infection, it will typically need to be treated with oral or topical medications prescribed by a veterinarian.

5. Bacterial Pododermatitis

Pododermatitis essentially means inflammation of the paws. It can be caused by a variety of factors, but one of the most common causes of pododermatitis is a bacterial infection. 

If your Boston has pododermatitis, you may notice:

  • Swelling of the paws
  • Redness of the paws
  • Constant paw licking
  • Hair loss
  • Foul foot odor
  • Discharge or pus

Boston Terriers with pododermatitis will need to be treated with topical or oral antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian.

6. Anxiety

Bostons that are anxious may also lick their paws excessively. Because your dog is nervous, they may lick their paws a lot.

There are several forms of anxiety in Bostons including:

  • Separation Anxiety- fear of being separated from their owner or left alone
  • Noise Anxiety- fear of loud noises
  • Thunderstorm Phobia- fear of thunderstorms

Other symptoms of anxiety in Bostons include:

  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Restlessness
  • Urination or defecation inside
  • Destructive behavior

Boston Terriers with anxiety will need to have their underlying anxiety addressed. Your veterinarian can help give you guidance as to what will improve your Boston’s anxiety.

Does your Boston Terrier have separation anxiety? Learn how to fix it here, Boston Terrier Separation Anxiety: Guide & Remedies.

6 Reasons Why Your Boston Terrier Is Licking Its Paws

5 Solutions for Boston Terrier Paw Licking

The solution for paw licking in your Boston will depend on the underlying cause. Your Boston may need medications, or it may be a simple fix of wiping the paws with a wet washcloth when your Boston comes inside.

Here are five solutions to paw excessive paw licking in Boston Terriers.

1. Seek Veterinary Care

The first step to addressing excessive paw licking in Boston Terriers is to seek veterinary care. As you can see from reading the list above, there are many potential causes for paw licking in Bostons.

Because of this, it is important to have your veterinarian examine your dog so they can determine the underlying cause of the paw licking. 

You will only be able to treat the paw licking if you know the underlying cause of the paw licking.

Your veterinarian may recommend certain diagnostic tests including cytology of the paws to look for bacteria or yeast on the paws. If there is an underlying infection, they will need to treat that with the appropriate medications.

Your veterinarian may also administer allergy medications that will decrease the level of itchiness that your Boston is experiencing.

Want to talk to a veterinarian right now? Check out Pawp.com to speak with a vet 24/7. Learn more by clicking, Pawp.com.

2. Wipe the Paws After Coming Inside

If you suspect the paw licking is caused by allergies, one technique to decrease paw licking is to wipe the paws off with a warm wet washcloth every time your Boston comes in from outside.

The goal here is to wipe any foreign material or pollen off the paws that your Boston may be allergic to.

3. Fatty Acid Supplements

Your veterinarian may recommend fatty acid supplementations if they suspect the paw licking is secondary to allergies. Fatty acids have been shown to be effective at decreasing itching secondary to allergies in some dogs.

My favorite fatty acid supplements include:

6 Reasons Why Your Boston Terrier Is Licking Its Paws

4. Medicated Wipes

If there is an underlying bacterial or yeast infection or if your dog is prone to these issues, your veterinarian may recommend a medicated paw wipe. 

These wipes contain antibacterial and antifungal ingredients that may help to decrease the level of itchiness your dog is experiencing. My favorite medicated wipes are the Curaseb Wipes.

5. Elizabethan Collar

If the paw licking is becoming so excessive to the point your dog seems to be damaging their paws or the paws are bleeding, you may need to put on an E-collar to temporarily break the cycle of itching.

A Few Final Thoughts

The most common causes of paw licking in Boston Terriers are from environmental allergies to some kind of pollen. Other causes of paw licking are secondary to injury, infections, or some type of behavioral issue.

It is best to seek veterinary care anytime your dog is experiencing a new symptom. If your Boston starts licking their paws suddenly, it is a good idea to get them checked out by your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose what is causing the paw licking and prescribe appropriate medications to help your Boston have a speedier recovery!


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Addie Reinhard, DVM

Addie Reinhard, DVM- Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced small animal veterinarian. She is a Boston Terrier lover and always enjoys caring for her Boston patients at the veterinary clinic. She is passionate about providing helpful educational resources to pet parents regarding animal diseases and preventative care. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, greyhound, and four cats.

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