My Dog Keeps Scratching Ear And Licking Paws-6 Reasons

It is normal for a dog to scratch and lick his paws, but when it is done in excess it leads to bald/hot spots, wounds, and discomfort to your dog. Because you want the best for your dog, you have to find him a solution but it is can be challenging if you don’t know the reasons why your dog keeps scratching the ears and licking paws.

Your dog can keep scratching his ears and licking the paws for reasons like food allergies, environmental allergies, dry skin, stress and anxiety, boredom, and parasites. This can be treated by changing the diet, eliminating parasites, discouraging the behavior, and addressing allergy problems.

My Dog Keeps Scratching Ear and Licking Paws- 6 Reasons

Food Allergies

When your canine’s immune system overreacts to part of the protein or carbs in the food he eats, he develops food allergies. Diet sensitivities usually develop over time as a result of an unpleasant element in your dog’s food. These symptoms may not show immediately after eating the meal, but they will become more noticeable over time. Different types of food can cause an allergic reaction to your dog like beef, dairy, chocolate.

Allergies make a dogs’ skin itchy and sensitive. When a dog has an allergic reaction, he can lick his paws and scratch the ears to soothe the skin.

Environmental Allergies

Atopic dermatitis, often known as “environmental allergies,” is a genetic tendency to develop allergies after frequent exposure to allergens such as dust, pollen, mold, grasses, and other triggers. You may only observe your dog scratching at particular periods of the year because they are generally seasonal. Environmental allergies result in your dog licking his paws and scratching his ears.

Dry Skin

When the dog’s skin becomes dry it cracks, gets itchy and dandruff appears. Dry skin can be caused by excessive bathing or swimming, allergies, and dry humidity. To keep your dog’s coat healthy, your veterinarian can recommend a grooming plan and products to use.

Stress and Anxiety

 If any underlying health issues have been ruled out by you and your veterinarian, your dog may be suffering from a behavioral condition such as worry or stress. Dogs, like people, look for ways to relax when they are stressed. Licking produces calming endorphins, which help dogs relax. Changes in routine, encounters with other animals, and separation anxiety are some of the triggers to paw licking.

Putting your dog in a crate for long hours or placing the crate in a very secluded place can contribute to a dog having stress and anxiety. Try to figure out what’s causing your dog’s stressed and nervous behavior, then use exercise and redirection to help him feel better.


A dog can lick his paws if he is bored. He will do it to keep himself entertained. This is a common case for dogs that do not receive enough exercise as per their breed and size.


A dog can be invaded by parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites. They can attack the paws, ears, or entire body. These parasites will make your dog lick his paws and scratch his ears and whole body. They can get these parasites from the other animals in your compound or if the beddings are not regularly cleaned.

Treatment for Dogs That Keeps Scratching Ears and Licking Paws

Change Diet

If your dog is licking his paws and scratching his ears due to food allergies, it is advisable to eliminate the specific food triggering the allergy. If it is hard for you to identify the food causing an allergic reaction, you can consult your vet. He can recommend the best foods for dogs with allergies to keep their coat healthy.

Eliminate Parasites

Your vet can prescribe a range of flea and tick treatments. If your dog is scratching his ears and licking his paws is triggered by fleas, ensure that you wash his beddings and vacuum the carpet regularly to avoid infestation. You must also ensure all the other animals in your homestead are parasite free.

You can also wash your dog using a dog shampoo but not dish soap to eliminate the fleas. Also, you should remember that washing your dog regularly is not advisable, you can use baby powder to keep him fresh and suffocate fleas on his fur.

Discourage the behavior

If your dog scratches his ears and licks his paws habitually, it can negatively impact his health. It is advisable to do everything possible to stop this habit before it becomes his norm. Spraying bitter sprays on his paws can stop the behavior.  

Address Allergy Problems

 You should know if your dog is licking his paws and scratching his ears because of allergic reactions from environmental changes or a certain diet. You should be keen to know the time of the year or the location that triggers your dog’s allergic reaction or the type of food he eats and he shows an allergic sign. If you can’t find out what’s causing the allergy, talk to your veterinarian.


Regardless of the reasons why your dog keeps scratching his ears and licking his paws, this habit can lead to more serious problems if not treated. You can discuss with your vet the best methods to treat the problem. After treating the condition, ensure you have some preventive measures in place like cleaning the beddings, vacuuming your house, and ensuring all the pets in your house are parasite free.

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