Why Do Dogs Chew on Their Paws?

Dog chewing 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 want to see your vet.

There might be something else that might be going on some that you may not even tell using your naked eyes.

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

Your canine friend has a dry skin

Dry skin is also known as dermatitis and could be the main cause that your ball of fluff is licking his paws throughout the day.

Dogs will experience dry skin during winter months or in arid climates just like we humans do.

When your dog scratches herself you may see some skin flakes or you may even see the skin is bumpy or red.

Licking themselves can be a way that they can soothe any irritations that they may have.

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.

Your pooch might have an allergy of some sort

There are several things that your doggo can be allergic to like chemicals, pesticides and even some plants.

Dogs my often develop seasonal allergies to pollen and molds.

They may also 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.

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.

Your area vet can carry out a test to determine what exactly your dog is allergic to or you can do it yourself by using elimination.

Lucking on their paws because of an injury

Paws
dog paws

If your dog is licking its paws, your dog could also be nursing an injury, like a wound or puncture to the toe pads, or probably a broken claw or toe.

This could be one of the signs that your pooch is in pain and you should take your dog’s paw and look at it.

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.

You may even notice that the dog may be limping or not in the mood for play. He may also move less.

Your vet is the best bet for you to treat such a condition.

Paw licking because of parasite infestations

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.

There has been a growing tick infestation problem in the US and UK with dogs that go for walks in the woods and hike being most at risk.

Your pooch could also be allergic to these parasites and can cause them to feel itchy.

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.

This is one way that he can ease his stress levels and one of the reasons that mother dogs lick their puppies.

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.

You should figure out what is making your pooch anxious and carry on from there.

An expert on dog behavior or your vet could also help you if you think by any chance that your dog could be suffering from anxiety.

You may not be giving your canine friend enough exercise

As we mentioned above dogs may lick their paws when they are feeling anxious.

If your dog does not get enough play and mental stimulation licking his paws helps him to reduce his levels of stress.

This explains why some pooches lick their paws when they get bored because boredom increases stress.

Different dog breeds have different activity levels and boredom may be subjective. More intelligent dogs may require you to give them more attention than the average pooch.

You should try and figure out what breed your dog is and meet his exercise needs.

Training and spending time playing mentally stimulating games can also help make sure that your dog does not get bored.

If you are away from home most of the time you should get a play toy for your pup.

He might just be grooming himself

You should also consider the fact that some dogs like the Akita love to self groom.

They may lick and chew their paws just after a walk when trying to make themselves clean.

If you notice that your pooch just licks one paw for a long time and he has no injuries he might just be grooming. It is pretty typical behavior that you should not be concerned about.

How can you stop your pooch from chewing on paws

To control a problem you need to establish the root reason why it is happening. From there you can try and control this behavior in your dog.

If you find out that the cause of the paw licking is health-related your vet would be best suited in modifying this behavior.

Once the pain or the dryness of the skin is gone the pooch should stop chewing on his paws.

Now if your dog is licking his paws and it is not health-related then it might be due to boredom or anxiety.

Here is how you can deal with it:

Look for an expert in dog behavior and they will help you understand the cause of the paw licking.

Once they have figured out why your doggo was doing it, he will need to be counter-conditioned and desensitized.

Separation anxiety might be the problem and you will need to teach your dog that you can stay away at times. Introducing a barrier in your home can help with this.

The barrier is where the dog can see you but not have direct contact with you. You can introduce the barrier for up to 30 minutes at a time.

Make sure that the pooch has something that he can play with while he is in the barries. Some squeaky or chewy toys can come in handy when you are doing this.

Reducing boredom:

  • Give your pup his meals using a feeding toy or a slow feeder.
  • Spend time and play with them.
  • Some brain games are very important.
  • Training session where you work on some basic and simple commands.
  • Take your doggo for daily walks in the park and change the routes.
  • Allow your dog to roam in the yard that should be fenced so that he can explore.
  • Do not underestimate how important grooming is.
  • Have a change of the toy choices that you give to your furry friend because he can get bored with the same toys.

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 visit or a call.

There are several reasons that your pawsome friend could be licking his paws and it is not always simple.

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.

Did you find this article helpful?

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There you go WOOF!!!

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