Why Do Dogs Chew on Their Paws?

Dog chewing paws

The reason dogs chew on their paws

Is your dog too fond of its paws lately? is she licking and chewing on her feet and toes? Such behavior may not only seem strange to you or your guests but may also be a cause for concern. How much is too much?

You should be concerned if your dog s chewing and licking of his paws are intense, frequent or prolonged. And if your dog is also limping, or the “overly licked” area is red, swollen, bleeding, or smelly, you definitely want to see your vet.

Here are some common reasons dogs lick and chew their paws too much:

Dry Skin

Dogs will experience dry skin during winter months or in arid climates just like we humans do. Unlike humans who would normally moisturize or buy some lotion at CVS, dogs would lick their paws to relieve the fretful feeling of dry skin on their paw pads.

The dry skin itself may additionally be a sign that your dog isn’t getting enough fatty acids in her diet. Fatty acid help in keeping the skin and coat healthy and versatile.

If you believe dryness might be the case with your pet dog, you can add a dash of olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or fish oil to your dog’s food a few times a week to address the deficiency.


Dogs my often develop seasonal allergies to pollen and molds, or they may become allergic to cleaning products or chemicals in your home. However, food allergies develop on a regular amongst dogs and sometimes lead to skin irritation that affects numerous parts of the body.

Some dogs may develop reactions to specific proteins in their food (beef, lamb, dairy, chicken, wheat, eggs, corn, or soy), however, it’s difficult to identify the provoking ingredient on your own. However, in order for a dog to develop the allergy, she must have had prior exposure to the ingredient in question, meaning it’s likely one of the ingredients in your most tried-and-true dog food is causing the problem.

Talk to your vet about what you’re feeding your dog and explore how you might make nutritional changes that prevent skin irritation.


dog paws

If your dog is licking its paws (sometimes too much) your dog could also be nursing an injury, like a wound or puncture to the toe pads, or probably a broken claw or toe. If your dog is especially active or has been running off-leash in a new track, this might be the simplest explanation.

Always make sure to test the paw (or any area that’s excessively groomed) for a few initiating causes. Observe for any visible signs of injury to the realm.


Fleas, ticks, and mites most definitely cause restless and somewhat itchy sensations, your dog may attempt to address the itchy, restless sensation by licking away or chewing out the tiny buggers.

Ticks are easiest to find, however, mites are rarely visible, and fleas are tough to pinpoint unless they’ve run rampant on your dog.

If you can’t figure out another cause for your dog’s behavior, confer with your vet regarding parasites, notably if you’re not already providing regular treatment for ticks and fleas.

Psychological Upset

Dogs may feel anxious, depressed, bored or lonely and may overgroom themselves in the process.

Dogs might lick their paws to quickly ease and soothe their nervous system when he feels “too much” or doesn’t receive enough play, stimulation, or fondness.

Of course, some dogs are naturally anxious, especially when they are left all alone in the house Rescue dogs might have experienced neglect or abuse that turned amplified their anxiety and concern. Observe once your dog engages in the behavior and what else goes on in the home at that point.

If your dog is alone often, a caring dog sitter or dog walker will do wonders to assist alleviate their stress.

The Bottom Line

It would be weird if your dog never licked herself. But if your dog is still licking the same area after several days or a week, definitely give your vet a call.

It’s important to intervene and seek a solution because the behavior can be self-perpetuating. What starts as an injury may lead to licking, but your dog may discover she likes the feeling. The process of licking may produce a new injury to the paw (tongues are rough and wet!), so the dog will continue to lick to treat the wound when she’s only making it worse.

This behavior can lead to a rather frightening lick granuloma—an open wound on the paw or leg—or can be accompanied by a yeast or bacterial infection of the skin. So, it’s best to seek help early if you notice the licking and chewing have gone too far.

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