Many people seem to have an issue where their dog constantly is chewing their paws. If you feel your dog is excessively licking or chewing their paws, here are five ways to help them stop.
Knowing the cause of paw chewing is the first step so let’s go over a few potential reasons why your dog is constantly chewing at their paw.
Reasons Why Dogs Chew Their Paws
Chewing or licking paws can become an issue if your dog is biting or licking them so much that they become raw. I think we can agree that seeing a bloody paw is something we don’t want.
1. Skin Irritation or Allergies
If your dog is chewing on her paws excessively, you should consider allergies as a possible cause. Like us humans, dogs can get allergies too, and the culprit is usually in their food. Allergies are the most common culprit of why dogs end up chewing at their paws.
2. Dry Skin
Another possible reason for itchy paws is dryness of skin. If the skin on your dog’s paws is dry, then it would be uncomfortable for your dog. The chewing and licking are done by your dog to attempt to soothe the discomfort on their paws. Dry skin can be caused by the weather or lack of nutrition.
3. Discomfort or Pain
When your dog starts to lick her paws and it’s out of character , check to see if her paws have gotten hurt. There are many ways by which dogs can hurt their paws, considering that their paws are in constant contact with the ground. The chewing may be the means by which your dog is attempting to get the offending item out of their paw. Even if your dog is not injured from the outside, they may also attempt to relieve pain coming from internal sources. Your dog may be suffering from hip dysplasia, joint pain, or arthritis. If this is the case, your dog may also walk with a limp to avoid aggravating the pain in their paw.
Separation anxiety is another common problem for dogs, and compulsive chewing and licking are just some of its symptoms. Even if your dog does not have separation anxiety, general anxiety, sadness, depression, or illness are all possible causes for the compulsive paw chewing.
Let’s face it. Sometimes your dog doesn’t really have any serious medical issues that prompt the paw chewing. Sometimes, your dog is just really bored and chewing and licking is how she prefers to spend her time.
5 Ways to Stop Your Dog from Chewing Their Paws
1. Address the Medical Issues
Majority of the reasons for your dog chewing her paws listed above are medical, so it makes sense that you should address such problems first. I recommend having your vet check over your dog for any internal injuries and follow the steps they give to treat them if any are found.
If you can see an external issue on your dog such as a thorn, try to carefully remove it yourself. If you can’t remove it or feel it is too risky, consult your vet.
For allergies, skin issues, or parasites (fleas and ticks mostly), consult your vet for proper treatment. Some tips I have to share are:
- Allergies that are food related, try switching to a high quality food. Check out more “exotic” proteins, as many dogs can be allergic to chicken or beef (most common) in kibble due to how it is processed. Some proteins I’d suggest are lamb, duck, pork, rabbit, or turkey. I feed my dogs raw and they have no allergy issues anymore. To learn more on raw, read this article.
- Skin irritation can be from a variety of things. Some could be from the use of harsh chemicals in your home. Insecticides can be one of these harsh chemicals, just be sure to keep your pets away from them. You can always try changing the shampoo you use on your dog as well to find a more hypo-allergenic one.
2. Treat Dry Skin
Treating dry skin on your dog can take time. More time than you’d like and probably more time than even your dog would want it to take. Giving your dog regular baths can cause them to get dry skin. If you do need to bathe your dog a few times close together, I’d look into an oatmeal bath shampoo. Another tip to help relieve dry skin is to make sure your dog stays hydrated and consider increasing the fatty acids.
3. Treat Separation Anxiety
I’ve never personally dealt with severe separation anxiety, but have dealt with some separation anxiety within my own dogs, foster dogs, or dog’s I’ve watched. One thing I’ve made a goal of working with dogs with separation anxiety, is to create distance.
One thing I like to do is to get your dog to sit. Then let your dog relax and you take a step back. If they handle that well, reward them. Try it again and this time take two steps back. If your dog doesn’t handle it well, just keep at it and do one step at a time until your dog is feeling more calm.
If your dog keeps staying calm, keep taking a step back. The goal is to step back until you get to a door. Whether that be a front door or a bedroom door, the goal is to reach a door. Make sure to keep up with rewarding your dog as you make progress. If your dog falters, start back at the beginning.
4. Redirect Your Dog
This can be helpful if your dog is chewing on their paws due to boredom. If you see your dog start to begin to chew their paw, give them a toy. Keeping up the variety can help keep them from getting bored. Another option is to get them to work on a trick anytime they seem to be going to chew or lick their paws. You can even invest in a boredom buster toy.
5. Bitter Spray
If all else fails and you still are waiting on answers from your vet, check out bitter sprays. These can help deter your dog from chewing on objects and safe to use on your dog. This one by Grannick’s is specifically made to deter your pet from chewing their paws.