Why Does My Dog Chew His Paws?


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why does my dog chew his paws

Is your dog chewing his paws a lot?

Well, you’re not alone.

Unfortunately, that’s one Baloo’s favorite things to do on a regular basis. I haven’t really found out 100% why he’s doing it. So, I can only guess. So, this article contains basically all the information I could find on the topic while researching it for Baloo.

Here’s a short summary: Dogs often chew or lick their paws because of allergies, itchy or dry skin, a yeast infection or an injury. Along with those, anxious dogs might also lick and chew their paws when they get stressed or bored. And some dogs chew their paws excessively because they suffer from OCD.

Why Does My Dog Chew His Paws?

You might notice that your dog chews on his paws a lot. But why does he do it, and is it a problem?

Most of the time, your dog chewing his paws is perfectly normal. But if he’s doing it excessively, then there might be something wrong. Here are a few reasons why your pup might be gnawing on his feet.

Allergies

Just like us, your dog can have allergies too!

Most of the time, these allergies have to do with your dog’s diet. If this is the case, your vet will help determine what it is in your dog’s diet that is causing him problems. They might then prescribe a special diet for your dog to help manage his allergies.

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The problem could also be a contact allergy. Maybe you washed your floors with a soap that’s irritating your dog’s skin. If that’s the case, you’ll want to find something a little gentler on him.

Dry Skin

Dry skin can make your dog extremely itchy and uncomfortable, which might be why he’s chewing on his paws. There are lots of reasons why your dog’s skin might be dry. Again, it might have to do with allergies. There could also be parasites on your dog causing his dry skin.

Some breeds tend to be more prone to dry skin than others. Many hairless dogs have skin problems, since they don’t have a layer or two of fur to protect them.

If you notice your dog is itchy, has dandruff, or inflammation, those are all signs of dry skin. To prevent dry skin, it’s important to make sure your dog is eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. You should also make sure to brush him regularly to prevent debris from building up in his fur and irritating his skin.

dry skin can be a reason why your dog chews his paws
Dry skin can be a reason why your dog chews his paws

Yeast Infection

Yeast infections in your dog’s feet can be very uncomfortable for him. A yeast infection usually occurs when other bacteria in your dog’s body starts having problems, which allows the yeast to flourish.

Signs of yeast infections include itchiness, a foul odor, greasy skin, and swelling of your dog’s feet. If your vet diagnoses your dog with a yeast infection, they might prescribe a medicated shampoo to help get rid of the infection.

Injury

Your dog’s excessive paw chewing might be a sign that he has an injury. If his paw is hurt, he might chew on it to relieve pain. Check your dog’s paws for any signs of splinters that might have embedded themselves in your dog’s feet.

If your dog’s injury is more serious, such as a fractured bone in his foot, then he’ll need to see a vet for treatment.

If your dog's paw is injured, he might lick and chew it to soothe the pain
If your dog’s paw is injured, he might lick and chew it to soothe the pain

Boredom

If your dog is chewing his feet and he’s not showing any signs of injury or illness, he might just be chewing because he’s bored.

Consider how much stimulation he’s getting during the day. If the majority of his day is spent laying around, then it might be time to walk him more often, and introduce some brain games!

We’ll get to that in a minute.

Stress

Just like we bite our nails when we’re stressed, your dog might chew his feet if he’s feeling anxious. Chewing his paws might relieve your dog’s stress—momentarily.

If your dog is stressed out, he’ll probably show other signs. Whining, yawning, panting, and changes in your dog’s posture can all indicate he’s feeling stressed.

While chewing his paws might offer your dog temporary relief, it’s really not a long-term solution.

To help your dog cope with his stress in healthier ways, consider crate training your dog. And be sure to check out these tips to help reduce your dog’s stress.

Depression

Like humans, dogs can become depressed. Sometimes this is because of the loss of another family member or pet. Sometimes dogs get depressed because of major changes in their lives.

Chewing on his paws might be your dog’s way of self-soothing. So consider any major changes in your dog’s life that might have triggered depression.

If you think your dog is depressed, you can start finding ways to help him break out of it. In my article about dog depression you’ll find things you can do to help your pup.

If the depression doesn’t seem to be letting up, it might be time for a trip to the vet. They’ll be able to tell you if your dog’s paw chewing is because of something else. Or, if it is depression, they might prescribe an antidepressant for your pup.

OCD

Some dogs struggle with canine OCD. This can be a difficult illness to deal with, and can vary in severity.

Signs of canine OCD include—that’s right—paw chewing, light chasing, and fly snapping when there are no actual flies to be seen.

If your vet diagnoses your dog with OCD, there are plenty of ways you can help him. One is by reducing his stress, and increasing the amount of exercise he’s getting. If your dog’s OCD is particularly severe, your vet might recommend behavioral modification with a certified behavioralist. They could also prescribe medication for your pup.

One sign of OCD is dogs is excessive chewing of their paws
One sign of OCD is dogs is excessive chewing of their paws

How to Stop a Dog from Chewing and Licking His Paws?

Now that we’ve looked at some of the reasons why your dog is chewing his paws, let’s take a look at some ways you can get him to stop.

Rule Out Any Medical Issue

The very first thing you should do is make sure your dog doesn’t have a medical problem.

Bring your dog to the vet to check for parasites, skin conditions, or allergies. If it is a medical problem, you can start treating it right away. If it’s not a medical issue, then you can start looking into other ways to help your dog.

Speaking of vet: have you ever thought about getting pet insurance for your dog? No? Then check out my article on the question “is it worth getting pet insurance for dogs?“. Or go straight to PetAssure for a cheap alternative to get 25% off each vet visit!

Clean His Paws Regularly

Lots of dogs are sensitive about their feet being touched. But it’s really important to make sure that they’re clean.

This will prevent debris and bacteria from getting in between the pads of your dog’s feet, which might be causing his discomfort and chewing. You should also make sure that you’re trimming his nails regularly, since nails that are too long can also cause irritation.

If your dog is sensitive about his feet, follow these tips to help get him used to having his paw handled:

Get Him Something Else to Lick and Chew

Licking and chewing is common behavior for dogs. But if they’re focusing that behavior only on their feet, that can be a problem!

Make sure that your dog has plenty of things around him to chew. Filling a Kong toy with peanut butter and then freezing it is a great way to help satisfy your dog’s urge to chew and lick, while keeping him away from his paws.

Provide More Mental and Physical Stimulation

Making sure that your dog is properly exercised will help with chewing caused by stress or boredom. Start taking your dog on more walks or hikes, or sign him up for a dog sport like agility or flyball.

And don’t forget the mental stimulation! Check out these great brain games for dogs to get some ideas.

Here are a few articles to get you started:

The cool thing about brain games is that you can even train your dog using them. By playing these games regularly, your dog will become smarter and training him will become so much easier.

That’s exactly what my favorite dog training course does. Braintraining4dogs goes through 21 games, each teaching your dog a different skill. This will result in a well-behaved and smart dog that loves working with, and not against you. Make sure to check it out now to profit from the 60-day money back guarantee.

Field Dogs 300 x 600

Help Him Feel More Secure

If your dog is chewing his paws out of stress, then you’ll need to help him feel more secure. There are lots of ways you can help your dog to build confidence.

Most of it will involve desensitization techniques. You’ll remove the stimulus stressing out your dog, and then slowly and gradually reintroduce it in controlled environments. Over time, and with patience, your dog will start building more confidence around the things that worry him.

Here’s another way to do it:

Related Questions

Before we wrap this up, let’s look at a few other questions that might bother you.

Why Does My Dog Chew His Nails?

If your dog is biting his nails, that’s a sign they need to be trimmed! It could also indicate a problem with allergies, or a skin condition.

If you’ve trimmed your dog’s nails and he’s still chewing, it might be time for a trip to the vet.

Why Does My Dog Chew His Tail?

Dogs chew their tails for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it has to do with problems like OCD or stress. It can also be another sign of a skin condition if you dog’s tail is very itchy.

For some more information and tips on how to help your dog stop chasing his tail, check out Dogpackr’s previous article about tail chasing in dogs.

Why Does My Dog Chew on Me?

While all dogs experience the world through their mouths, some dogs can be a little mouthier than others. Usually if your dog is chewing on you, this is just a sign he was never trained out of mouthiness.

Since this is a behavior that’s mostly displayed by puppies, I recommend you take a look at my previous articles about how to stop your puppy’s biting habit and overtired puppy biting.

Conclusion

While dogs occasionally chewing their paws is usually nothing to worry about, if it becomes excessive that can be a problem. Excessive chewing can be a sign of boredom, skin conditions, or even depression or OCD.

If your dog is chewing his paws a lot, the best thing to do is take him to a vet to check for a medical problem. Once you rule that out, you can work on other ways to help him, leaving you with a happier, much more comfortable dog.

P.s.: Don’t forget to check out Braintraining4dogs if you want to take your dog training game to the next level. It offers a 60-day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.

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