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Why Does My Dog Chew His Paws? How To Stop Pooch From Licking Their Feet

Takeaway lessons from this post:

  • Dogs may often chew on their paws as part of their grooming ritual. On the other hand, excessive chewing might point to more significant underlying issues, including parasites, illnesses, wounds, etc.
  • To decide if a dog is chewing on its feet out of discomfort or worry, you may need to consider the dog’s overall health or probable stress levels.
  • When your dog bites and leaves actual wounds on its paws, it’s essential to treat the situation seriously and see a veterinarian.
  • There are some specific solutions on how to stop dogs from licking paws.

Reasons Why Dogs Lick or Chew on Their Paws

Dogs may lick or chew on their paws for a variety of reasons, much like with other dog behaviors. That action might be considered a part of their self-grooming routine, especially when they enter the house after wandering on sand or dusty ground. However, if your dog is licking his paws repeatedly and vigorously, you should be concerned.

Here are 12 reasons that explain “Why do dogs lick their feet?”

Injuries

Physical issues like injuries are a typical reason for particularly strong chewing, and it usually happens with chewing one paw.

The severity of injuries can range from minor to severe

The dog’s owner should examine the claws to rule out any injuries like cuts, ripped nails, growths, or possibly a stone, thorn, or ice ball lodged between the pads. You have to take note of the tops of the feet of your dog, the part in between the toes and pads, and to the nails.

It’s possible that your dog hurt his paw by stepping on something sharp, using sidewalks that were salty or hot, getting stung by a bee, or developing a blister. Some of these issues can be resolved with straightforward first aid, while others could need veterinary care.

Skin Allergies

Dogs who repeatedly chew on many paws may do it out of habit or stress, but it may also be an obvious indicator of a skin allergy. The following are a few of the various causes:

  • Grass and pollen;
  • Household dust mites;
  • Molds;
  • Trees.

Food Allergies

Itchy paws are a common symptom of food allergies, which are challenging to diagnose. You should ask for some advice from your vet about a special diet or the removal of specific substances from your dog’s food.

Parasites

The paws may become extremely itchy as a result of parasitic illnesses like fleas or mange. The vet might provide you with some medicines, which should stop the itching of your pet and get rid of the parasites.

Dermatitis

If the paw pads and feet look healthy, the reason for the licking may be dermatitis, a skin ailment that is sometimes brought on by bacterial issues, allergies, or food sensitivities. 

Due to an allergy to deicing agents, chemicals used in your yard, or specific varieties of grass or weeds, your dog might develop dermatitis. It could be helpful to provide a bowl of water and a towel next to the door so you can gently wipe your paws as you enter.

Pain

Why do dogs lick paws? A reason could be that the dog that is in discomfort from arthritis or other issues with his feet or legs could start licking his paws continuously. Some dogs may repeatedly lick their front paws to try to soothe themselves, even if the discomfort is in another part of their body.

Behavior Problems (Boredom, Anxiety, etc.)

What if your dog gets bored

Why do your dogs chew their paws? It is possible that they are experiencing boredom or a behavioral issue like nervousness. 

To bring joyful moments to your pet, take them for additional walks, runs, or games with you and other dogs to burn off more mental and physical energy. To redirect the dog’s attention from his paws to something else, give him puzzle toys or any similar ones.

Also, there are several methods you may try to reduce the anxiety, including giving him calming treats, if you suspect that it may be causing him to lick his paws due to separation anxiety or dread of loud noises. 

Interdigital Cysts

These cysts are the consequence of a hair follicle that is blocked. They are more frequent on the front paws and may cause gnawing to make them feel better. Sadly, chewing can also result in these cysts.

Hyperkeratosis

Your dog’s body creates more keratin than usual if he has hyperkeratosis. His nose skin or toe pads thicken as a result. That in turn causes dryness and cracking, which is why you feel the desire to lick. As your dog ages, it happens more frequently.

Salt Irritation in Winter

In the winter, if you see your dog chewing on his paws, it can be an irritation from the salt that has been applied to the sidewalks and roads. Getting your dog some shoes or booties is the easiest way to address this issue.

Self-injury

Unfortunately, some dogs can get into a vicious cycle that begins when they sustain a tiny wound that leads to self-injury (such as a splinter in the paw). This results in excessive licking and chewing, which can occasionally aggravate the condition worse. 

This added irritation prompts the dog to lick more frequently, which, as you would have imagined, aggravates the inflammation.

Subsequent Infections

Finally, it’s critical to understand that licking activity may indicate a health issue or even danger to the dog. Don’t wait too long to do this since continuing to lick your feet might lead to a secondary bacterial or yeast infection, which will make your feet even more itchy, red, swollen, and prone to licking.

The veterinarian may prescribe topical anti-itch sprays, steroids to decrease inflammation, antibiotics for a bacterial infection, or antifungals for yeast infections to treat the underlying issue and alleviate your dog’s itching. The sooner you can identify the issue and shed light on its root, the better.

When to Be Concerned About Your Dog Chewing His Feet?

If your dog starts biting excessively on his feet, you should pay serious attention to your pet. Determining what is excessive can be a problem. Your knowledge from training your dog will be useful in this situation. 

You probably have a fair notion of how frequently your dog chews on or licks his foot after only a few months of ownership. He is acting in an excessive manner if he begins to act in this manner more frequently than usual.

Your dog’s veterinarian will need to determine “Why do dogs chew their paws”, then decide on the next suitable solution.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Is Licking His Feet?

There are many ways to solve the problem “Why do dogs chew their feet”. The following are a few particular treatments that can help your dog quit biting himself.

Toys Can Help Your Dog Feel Less Anxious and Bored

Stop your dogs from chewing paws by providing them toys

Look into purchasing your dog some toys to keep him engaged if he seems anxious or bored. To help him burn off surplus energy, you may also try taking him on extended walks or runs.

Use Other Food To Stay Away From Allergies

Start by switching your dog to a meal made specifically for dogs with allergies if you believe allergies to be the cause of the issue. You can work with your veterinarian to identify the chemical he is most likely allergic to.

Avoid Contact with Other Allergies or Keep Your Pet Clean

The best course of action in cases of environmental allergies is to keep your dog away from them. If this isn’t possible, make it a practice to give him a relaxing bath right away after coming in touch with them.

Maintaining Your Dog’s Coat Will Help Prevent Itching

Simply focus on taking better care of the coat if you have itching from a dry coat. When giving your dog a wash, consider adding a conditioner or switching to a moisturizing oatmeal shampoo. Or get a balm to relieve his paw pads.

Get Some Booties for Your Dog

Doggie booties are the ideal option if the chewing is most likely brought on by salt burns in the winter or burns from hot pavement in the summer. There are many excellent choices available.

When It’s Time To See A Vet

Bring your pet to see a vet when the situation is getting worse

Most of the time, it’s OK to keep an eye on your dog to determine whether the paw-chewing is a severe problem or whether it’s just out of boredom or something more incidental, like a little splinter. 

However, if the paw-chewing is a recent (and persistent) problem and you notice that the foot is red or inflamed, those are two telltale signals that it’s time to take your furry buddy to the doctor. There can be a harmful underlying reason in either scenario for your dog. 

Contact your vet immediately if your pet:

  • Chewing or licking the feet excessively or repeatedly;
  • Having trouble walking, bald patches, or skin that is red, bloated, bleeding, or heated to the touch;
  • Having oot hair discoloration (pink or red hue brought on by the presence of the chemical porphyrin in dog saliva);
  • A region of the dog’s foot that is sensitive to the touch or bears a wound or other injury.

In Conclusion

Dogs may chew on their feet for a variety of reasons, including boredom, infections, nervousness, and injury. Many of the factors might be brought on by yeast infection, winter salt sensitivity, or parasites.

To decide if a dog is chewing on its feet out of discomfort or worry, you may need to consider the dog’s overall health or probable stress levels. Contact your vet right away if your dog starts to bleed, has inflamed skin, or starts losing fur.

Camp Canine Florida
Camp Canine Florida
We are special people who love pets, especially dogs. Over the past 3 years, we have accumulated a lot of experience in how to care for and train dogs. Now, what we're doing is building an in-depth blog to share knowledge that will help you get to know your dogs better, making you and your dog best friends.

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