Understanding certain attitudes and behaviors your dog displays as a dog owner is vital. You might have recently seen your dog chewing or licking its paws and be wondering if the dog is fine. This attitude is quite normal for many dogs, but it might mean an underlying illness when you notice it becomes frequent.
Your dog chews its paws for various reasons, including food allergies, dermatitis, injuries and pain, parasitic infections, behavioral issues, dry and itchy skin, psychological issues, bacterial and yeast infections, environmental allergies, and anxiety. The major causes of this issue are physical.
Licking and chewing on paws is a normal dog attitude; they do not do this to annoy you or because they feel like it. This behavior is a basic grooming behavior, so they do it occasionally.
Why Does My Dog Bite His Paws?
There are many reasons dogs chew their paws. It could be normal occasionally, as dogs often lick their paws for self-grooming. However, if you recently noticed your dog who has never done this before, suddenly chewing or licking its paws excessively, then you should be more concerned. Some major reasons why dogs often chew their paws are;
Food allergy is a possible reason your dog could be chewing its paws. If you recently changed your dogs’ diet, and it suddenly begins to chew its paws, it is an indication that the dog is allergic to such food. That particular food or diet could cause your dog to have itchy paws, resulting in the dog chewing its paws.
It can be difficult to identify the type of allergies, so you would have to take the dog to a veterinary doctor for a medical checkup and treatment. You should meet with your vet for suggestions and recommendations and eliminate certain foods to alleviate the problem.
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This is a skin condition that affects both humans and dogs. It involves itching and rash on the skin. If you observe your dog’s pads and it appears normal, consider looking for any form of dryness on some part of its skin. The dog might be suffering from dermatitis, resulting from some allergies such as dust, weeds, and insects.
Dermatitis is often caused by allergies, bacterial issues, and environmental allergies. If you notice your dog chewing its paws most times when you return from a walk outside, there are chances that it came in contact with an allergen outside. So, try to provide water where the dog would wash its pads before entering.
Injuries And Pains
When your dog is injured, it is most likely in pain. The injury might be from your dog stepping on a sharp object, getting a blister, or walking during very hot weather, which could irritate your dogs’ paws. The chewing of its paws might be on just one of its paws.
You need to examine the paws very well and look out for any form of cut, torn nail, or tiny stones that could be stuck in his pads. If you can detect the injury, you can administer first aid treatment to the dog. However, if the dog does not respond to your treatment, consider taking it to a vet for proper care.
If you cannot detect why your dog is chewing its paws, it might be suffering from some problems such as boredom or anxiety. If you notice your dog is likely chewing its paws due to boredom, then you could help it by taking it out on walks or getting it some dog toys.
Dogs with separation anxiety should not be left alone for too long; you can hire a dog sitter whenever you are away from home. However, you may need to speak to your vet or behaviorist about addressing behavioral problems in dogs, especially if you do not know the cause.
This is another reason why your dog could be chewing its paws. Some parasite infections could cause a dogs’ paws to become itchy, and the dog ends up chewing its paws. The major parasites that can cause your dog to eat its paws are ticks, mites, and fleas. Ticks can easily be found.
Mites are difficult to find; fleas are not visible, except if there are so many on the dog that they become visible. If you check the dog’s body and there are no ticks, mites, or fleas, you might need to take your dog to a veterinary doctor for a proper checkup and treatment if it is suffering from parasites infections.
Every creature is prone to experiencing loneliness, depression, boredom, and anxiety. Humans are better equipped to handle these psychological issues than animals; dogs try to ease themselves by eating and licking their paws. It is temporarily soothing to the dog’s nervous system.
Dogs experience anxiety naturally, and you worsen the case if you have a dog that can experience separation anxiety and leave it alone for too long. If your dog is from a rescue home, it will spend lots of time chewing its paws; this is because of the trauma of abuse or neglect it might have experienced.
Should I Stop My Dog From Licking His Paws?
It is an instinctive grooming behavior for dogs to lick their paws; you may not have to stop your dog from licking its paws if it is an occasional behavior. However, if your dog licks its paws obsessively and incessantly, you need to stop it, especially if the dog loses interest in everything and focuses on licking its paws.
One of the most predominant reasons dogs lick their paws is dry skin; this is caused by the dog breed, grooming routine, and weather changes. You will notice your dog licks its paws more often when the weather is dry and cold. You would need a natural dog oil or lotion to relieve the dry skin.
Hairless dog breeds lack the natural protection provided by hairs, so they are prone to various skin diseases, and the dog tries to ease itself of the pain by licking its paws. Examples of dog breeds that experience these are the American Hairless Terriers, the Xoloitzcuintli, the Chinese Crested, Peruvian Inca Orchid, and Hairless Khala.
Another reason your dog licks its paws is poor bathing and grooming habits. If you do not take proper care of your dog, it can develop various skin issues that will make it lick its paws often. It could also be caused by the soap you use, the frequency of bathing. It is best to seek the advice of a vet before grooming your dog.
Is It Normal For Dogs To Chew On Their Paws?
Many dogs chew their paws for self-grooming. If you have noticed your dog occasionally chewing or licking its paws, you do not need to get bothered; it is pretty normal. However, the moment the chewing becomes very excessive, it might indicate something else or an underlying health challenge.
You can choose to examine the paws yourself to detect the cause for the excessive chewing, such as a cut or being stung by an insect. However, if you cannot identify any obvious cause, take the dog to the vet. You will be asked questions about the dogs’ health and routine. Ensure you provide adequate answers to help the vet detect the cause.
As long as your dog does not eat or lick its paws aggressively, there is nothing wrong with the dog; it is an instinctive grooming behavior. However, if you notice unusual behaviors in addition to aggressive chewing and licking of the paws, you should take the dog to the vet immediately.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.