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Why does my dog wipe its paws?

Have you also wondered why dogs wipe their paws?

Wiping feet after their need, it occurs in all dogs. You've most likely already wondered what the point of it is?

This behavior can occur in all dogs, but that's not necessarily why they all do it. It looks playful since it looks like they are "washing their hands" after they have done their need yet it does not have such an obvious explanation.

The sweeping on the ground is actually meant to spread their scent. By wiping over their pee, they spread the scent over a larger area. They also use the scent of their paws to turn on the marking. Under the soles of their feet there are glands that allow the dogs to develop a personal scent. By wiping their paws they not only spread the scent of their pee but also their personal scent.

TIP: Do not wash your dog's paws with shampoo. They like it better if they can keep their own scent.

Why spread their scent?
But why is it necessary to spread their scent? Well, communication of dogs is largely done through their nose. By spreading their scent, they let other four-legged friends know of 'hey, I passed here'. This marking behavior occurs in all types of dogs, from the largest to the smallest breeds. Spreading their scent is not necessarily equivalent to marking territory, rather it is a way of communicating with their peers.

Way of communication
If there are changes in the environment of a dog, it can suddenly show marking behavior. Or if you meet another dog during the walk, your dog may also start marking to show his toughness towards the other dog. This behavior is completely well-intentioned and is certainly not a behavior you should unlearn. Wiping their paws is part of being a dog.

Keep watching their body language. If your dog is suddenly angry or tense, then wiping their paws may be accompanied by some sort of aggression. So be sure to watch their stress signals such as staring or fixating or their tail going straight up. So be sure to distract your dog at such a time and make sure he fixes his attention on something nice.

The behavior is certainly nothing to worry about. Do keep an eye on changes in your dog's behavior. Does he pretty much always wipe his paws and suddenly stop doing this? Then this could indicate pain. If you think you notice something, always consult a veterinarian.


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