Why is my dog chewing its paws? It is not super uncommon for dogs to chew or lick their paws, and it doesn’t always have to mean that something is wrong. Dogs chew paws for several  reasons; injury, cleaning, infection, food allergies, anxiety, and parasites. These are all reasons why your dog might be chewing their paws.

As a dog parent, you may be curious why your dog is displaying this type of behavior. For some, it may seem a little alarming that their dog is more interested in using their paw as a chew toy rather than…well, an ordinary chew toy.

You and your vet will need to get to the bottom of why your dog is chewing on its paws. This can be easily done during your dog’s next vet visit as part of a dog wellness plan. But remember, you need to take action sooner rather than later. Otherwise, your dog’s chewing habit might get a lot worse.

Reasons Why Your Dog is Chewing Its Paws

Here are some top explanations as to why your dog is chewing on its paws:

Allergies

Your dog chewing its paws could be because they have an environmental allergy, such as pollen, mildew, or mold, which could be causing them to excessively lick their paws. It can be challenging  to determine different allergies in our dogs, but a little trial and error can help narrow it down.

Pet insurance for dogs and a dog wellness plan can get your dog allergy tested once they are over the age of 12 weeks which can aid in the search.

Disease or Illness

Dog’s chewing paws could mean that there is something wrong. There could be a number of different diseases between the toes and on the skin. Sometimes if a dog injures itself, it is instinct to lick the area in the most pain to soothe it.

Autoimmune diseases, cysts, tumors, and cancers can also lead to paw biting. This is usually due to skin infections or hormone imbalances, usually from too much cortisol or too little thyroid hormone. Dog insurance plans can help cover any costs associated with a disease or illness.

If you suspect that an underlying disease or illness could be causing your dog to chew its paws, make sure to voice any concerns you have during your next routine vet visit. As part of our dog wellness plans, we cover many of the tests carried out during dog healthcare checkups.

Dry Skin

Some dogs’ paws can get dry just like humans when the weather gets a bit chillier. Cracked paws, claws, or even corns on our dog’s feet can occur between their toes (super common in greyhounds) due to salt on icy roads.

Dog’s paws can also dry out from harsh lawn and garden pesticides, so it is always good to keep them off freshly treated grass. Also, pay close attention to the soaps and shampoos you’re using, as those could be causing skin irritation and dryness.

Fleas & Ticks

Sometimes fleas, ticks, mites, and other parasites can irritate our dog’s skin as well. If left untreated, this can become a bigger problem that causes havoc all over the dog’s body. If your dog needs a checkup due to a flea or parasite, a dog wellness plan and pet insurance for dogs cover routine blood work and routine fecal exams to eliminate and treat illnesses.

Anxiety & Behavioural Problems

If you have talked to your vet and you’ve been through the entire list of possibilities for paw chewing but still cannot determine the culprit, it might be anxiety. While this can be super hard to diagnose in dogs at times if anxious enough, they can begin developing compulsive behaviors like paw licking.

To help ease your dog’s anxiety, take it for more walks, runs, and playtime. Try to offer them safe chew toys instead of their paws whenever they begin to bite or lick them. Many dogs might start chewing or licking their paws excessively if they are dealing with separation anxiety (something that has been on the rise since owners began returning to the office).

How to Stop Dog From Chewing Paws

It is always best to try and avoid the habit of paw chewing before it starts. We can do this in a few different ways:

  • Feed them a high-quality, well-balanced diet that keeps them feeling full
  • Ensure lots of exercises and mental stimulation
  • Socialize with other dogs as much as possible
  • Routine grooming and bathing, at home or by a professional groomer
  • Use a preventative flea and tick medication
  • Periodically rinse and examine your dog's  feet for dryness or irritation

If you do notice any irritation on your dog’s paws, or they begin to chew them frequently, begin to limp, develop any lumps, or are warm to the touch, give your vet a call. Dog insurance plans cover x-rays, surgeries, blood tests, hospital stays, prescribed medications, etc. Basically, anything associated with their illness and diagnosis. This saves pet parents thousands on dog healthcare.

A dog wellness plan can help pet parents and veterinarians determine the cause of the biting and cover the different preventative measures to reduce the risk of paw biting. This includes fecal exams, bloodwork, flea & tick medications, urinalysis, and routine grooming. Get in touch with the Wagmo team today to learn more about our wellness plans for dogs and cats.