Why Does My Dog Chew and Lick His Paws?

Dog holding up a paw

Allergies

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from allergies and this can make their paws itch. Usually, if dogs are consistently chewing and licking their paws throughout all seasons, it means that they are allergic to something in their everyday diet and it is causing their paws to become irritated.

Dogs lick and chew their paws to relieve this discomfort, naturally because they want to stop the itching.

Dog rubbing its face in the grass

Many dog foods are made from chicken, turkey, or beef, but a lot of dogs are actually allergic to the properties in these ingredients along with gluten and wheat. If you think allergies might be the cause of your dog’s feet chewing, then try switching his diet to a fish-based blend. Fish are rich with omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce your dog’s irritation. Plus, they work great for your dog’s digestive system.

If you are concerned about switching your dog’s food or have tried switching and it hasn’t helped, your dog might be chewing his feet for other reasons. If nothing has worked and you’re sure that the reason behind the chewing is allergies, visit your vet for further advice.

Burns

puppy walking on bricks

Although the bottom of your dog’s paws may seem tough and able to handle all terrain, they are more sensitive than you think. In the warmer months, the pavement can become extremely hot and dogs who walk on it can end up burning the pads of their paws. This causes them to lick their paws to relieve the burn and cool them down.

If you think your dog might have burned his paws on the hot pavement, be sure to only walk him in the shade or in the early morning or late evening when the sun isn’t so severe.

Anxiety

Grey dog being pet on head

Dogs can get stressed out just like humans and one of the ways they cope with this stress is by chewing their feet. It’s a bad habit that can develop over time but is fairly easy to correct.

Take the time to watch your dog’s actions and disposition over the course of a week and find out what might be causing him anxiety. It might be being left alone while you go to work, getting nervous when you have people over, or being around loud cars while on walks. Once you figure out what is making your pet so anxious, you can gradually get them used to that thing or eliminate it from their life altogether if possible. Once your pup starts feeling more comfortable, the paw chewing should stop.

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Punctures

Like we said earlier, the pads on the bottom of your dog’s feet are not invincible and they are susceptible to injuries. If your dog is excessively licking and chewing their paws and this is out of character for him, then he might have stepped on something sharp or gotten a splinter and is trying to relieve the pain or remove what pricked him.

Dog with paw on wooden fence

A lot of times the pads on your dog’s paws are dark, so it may be hard to see puncture marks or splinters, so the best thing to do is let your dog’s paws soak in an apple cider and water solution to soothe them. The liquid will also help dislodge whatever is in your pup’s paw and will make it easier to remove.

If you can’t seem to get whatever is in your dog’s paw out or if the puncture wound is significant, take your dog to the vet for help. Even if it’s minor, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If your dog is chewing and licking his paws a lot, it’s not necessarily something to be alarmed about. Next time, look for the signs we mentioned and you may be able to relieve your dog’s discomfort.

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2020-11-10T14:17:49+00:00