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 a number of reasons; injury, cleaning, infection, food allergies, anxiety, and parasites are all reasons why your dog might be chewing their paws.
Here are some top explanations as to why your dog is chewing on its paws:
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 difficult to determine different allergies in our dogs, but a little trial and error can help narrow it down. Pet insurance for dogs and dog wellness plans 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.
Some dog’s 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 a good idea 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. 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, dog wellness plans 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.
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 dogs feel 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 any x-rays, surgeries, blood tests, hospital stays, prescribed medications, and more. 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.