I have been a dog owner for many years now. I have had an excellent experience with many breeds, and they all are loyal, intelligent, and fun-loving.
I used to think I knew a lot about dogs, and I felt proud of that.
I was living a stress-free and happy life with my two dogs when Selma, a female Belgian Malinois, suddenly got into the habit of chewing her feet. I ignored her at first, considering it an ordinary dog reaction.
But then the chewing grew intense, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. So that was when I searched the internet to look for the answer.
To my surprise, it was filled with ifs and buts, and no one could speak clearly about why dogs chew their feet.
If you are searching the web for the same question why do dogs chew their feet, and you are not finding a satisfactory answer, I can understand your frustration.
But thank God you have landed on the right page.
I have gone through the pain, agony, and nail-biting frustration to find the satisfactory answer to why dogs chew their feet myself, and I have found some reasonable answers.
So, forget everything and enjoy the reading.
Why do dogs chew their feet?
The most common reasons dogs chew their include pain, dry skin, hormonal imbalances, cold weather, boredom, stress, anxiety, or irritation caused by allergies or parasites. Chewing or licking paws regularly over a long time can be a sign of insufficient mental and physical stimulation.
Dog chewing his feet vs. a dog licking his feet
If your dog is either chewing or licking his feet, one thing is pretty straight. There is something wrong with your dog. However, if your dog is repetitively chewing or licking his feet or paws, there can be many possibilities.
Let’s focus on a dog licking his feet first because I will discuss the question of why dogs chew their feet a little later in great detail.
If your dog is licking its feet, there can be many reasons for this behavior. If your dog licks only one of his feet, chances are something is physically wrong.
He might have suffered an injury unknowingly. It is quite common for dogs.
In areas underwater, for example, paws can be hurt by stones, glass, or any other sharp debris that is submerged.
In this case, you need to first calm your dog by cuddling and playing. After that, try to get hold of the most licked feet and carefully examine it.
You should look under the paw and between the claws. If there is a lighter cut, it can heal by itself. A deeper cut might need stitching.
If there is no bruise or physical damage, licking can be a behavioral issue pointing to something more serious.
For example, it is commonly found that dogs lick their feet because of anxiety, depression, stress, boredom, less mental stimulation, or lack of required exercise.
If your dog is in the habit of licking his feet, then it is one of those 3 percent of dogs that have developed this habit of letting inner frustration out.
Alternatively, it can be just an attention seeking behavior of your dog.
If you think your dog needs your attention and some quality time, treat him on a regular basis and keep him happy. The licking would ultimately go away.
5 reasons dogs chew their paws and feet
Now we are going to focus our attention on the question: why do dogs chew their feet. If your dog chews its feet, unfortunately, there is no single answer to it.
Dogs lick and chew their feet when they are suffering from any of the many probable causes. There is a list that I have prepared for you to take a look at.
#1 Allergy & Skin Disease
In dogs, allergies cause much itching. If your dog chews its paws and feet, chances are it has developed an allergy.
Now you might ask, even if it is an allergic reaction, why do dogs chew their feet?
The answer to this question is that after a dog catches any allergy, its whole body gets itchy, including the feet and the paws.
So, if you examine your dog and find no physical bruise, get it checked if it is suffering from any skin condition or allergy.
Your dog can get an allergy from pollen and mold, certain types of trees, dust, or it might be allergic to any specific food.
#2 Mental Health Issues such as Depression, Stress and Anxiety
Mental health issues might trigger behavioral changes in your dog. As a result of which your dog might start chewing its feet. This act shows utter helplessness on the part of your dog.
Don’t feel upset at the thought of your dog being in depression and stress when you actually take care of his every need. But like humans, dogs also tend to develop such issues.
If the issue persists, you might think of getting some medical help for your dog.
#3 Injury and Pain
Your dog might have unknowingly injured his feet. And out of sheer pain, it might be chewing out those feet. It is quite common for dogs to bruise their paws and feet.
A dog’s paw is constantly in contact with the ground where he can hurt himself.
Chewing helps your dog relieve the pain and wash the wound to neutralize bacterial infection.
A thorough examination of the paws and feet will tell if there is any injury on the dog’s feet.
#4 Parasitic Infection
Parasites, mites, ticks, fleas may be the answer to why dogs chew their feet. These are microscopic organisms that attack and infect your dog.
The parasitic infection irritates your dog, and as a reaction, your friend gets addicted to feet chewing as an option of last resort to soothe his irritation.
If the feet chewing intensifies, then you need to see a vet. A vet will thoroughly examine your dog for any possible parasitic infection and will recommend a cure.
#5 Dry Skin
In dry and humid weather, your dog’s skin is vulnerable to drying out. For example, extreme winters can cause dry skin.
Another cause may be the lack of fatty acids in your dog’s diet. If either of the cases is true, the feet chewing comes naturally.
When the skin dries out, your dog nourishes it by licking, scratching, and chewing. See a vet if the skin does not heal.
Tips to stop your dog from chewing his paws and feet
An occasional foot chewing is natural in your dog. But if the situation worsens, you need first to find out the cause of the trouble. See a vet if required.
Once the problem is diagnosed, you can go for any of the following tips that suit your dog well.
- Eliminate parasites from your dog’s body if the parasites attack it. Your dog’s vet can recommend some good products.
- If your dog has allergies, change your dog’s food and go for healthier and simpler diets
- Give your dog enough exercise, attention, and playtime to address stress, anxiety, and frustration in your dog.
- To bring behavior changes in your dog, you can use bitter spray on the required area.
- Use medication only if your dog’s vet prescribes medication as a treatment
Why is my dog chewing on his feet?
The most common reasons for dog feet chewing include pain, hormonal imbalance, dry skin, cold weather, boredom, anxiety, or irritation due to allergies or parasites. All of these can cause long-term issues if not treated. Talking to your vet is always a great idea.
When should I worry about my dog chewing paws?
If your dog chews its paws on a regular basis, then you should worry about it. Also, see if the dog is chewing only one foot or not. If your dog is chewing only one paw, it is highly likely that it might have gotten a physical bruise.
What is your dog trying to warn about when they lick their paws?
Dogs lick their paws out of some problem. Occasional licking is normal dog behavior. However, if the licking grows intense, you need to take it seriously and find out the reason to start the cure.
What should I do if my dog’s paws bleed or swell?
Bleeding and swelling occur because of physical injury. If your dog’s paw is bleeding, give him first aid and clean the wound. A light cut might heal if left to itself. However, a deep cut might require stitches.
How can I get my dog to stop chewing his paws?
The specific steps you have to take to stop your dog from chewing his paws depend a lot on the original cause; however, these are the most common causes and solutions:
#1 – Your dog may have a parasitic or bacterial infection. Talk to your vet and use the appropriate medication in that case.
#2 – If you want to bring a behavioral change, use bitter spray on the most chewed paw.
#3 – If your dog has allergies, changing food for simpler ones or eliminating potential trigger ingredients can make a huge difference.
#4 – Give your dog enough attention, exercise, and playtime to address anxiety, stress, and frustration in your dog.
#5 – If nothing works, take your dog to a vet.
When to seek vet care for dog chewing paws?
If you have tried everything and the dog is persistent in his behavior. Also, if the intensity of your dog chewing his paws is increasing, it is time you take your dog to a vet.
Why do dogs chew their feet is a complex question to answer. There are so many variables and no certainty.
Occasional foot chewing is a normal dog behavior. An intense chewing is worrisome.
But I am sure after reading this piece, you have gathered enough knowledge and tips to avoid your dog from chewing its feet. Also, You are now able to help your little friend if he needs it.
Thank you for trusting me with your time and for reading so far. If you have any further queries, please let me know.
Until next time!