Paw Chewing in Dogs: Common Reasons & Solutions
Paw chewing is a common trait in dogs. While that doesn’t necessarily mean a dog is hurting, it may be a symptom of other issues in its body. In this article, we take a look at the five common reasons why dogs chew their paws and how you can help them with these minor ailments to prevent them from becoming major problems in the future. Here are the main culprits behind paw chewing and what you can do about them.
Paw Chewing as a Result of Allergies
Allergies. If your dog has allergies, his paws may be a hot spot for chewing. Allergies can also lead to excessive licking, so if your dog is paw-licking along with chewing, you might want to check with your vet about whether an allergy test might be in order. (Keep in mind that most dogs who chew their paws are not allergic; it’s still worth checking.)
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Other Medical Conditions
There may be an underlying medical condition causing your dog to chew his paws. If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, see a vet immediately: lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea, eye problems, or shaking. Your dog could have serious health issues that are causing him pain or discomfort. If you notice these symptoms with no other signs of discomfort or disease (such as extra chewing), then speak with your vet about potential behavioral causes for paw chewing.
Itchy Skin or Self-Inflicted Focal Lesion
Itchy skin. If your dog is chewing on his paws because he’s itching, then it may be a symptom of a condition called acral lick dermatitis. This disorder is characterized by intense scratching and licking of parts of your dog’s body, such as his limbs or his paw pads. Since acral lick dermatitis is typically seen in small breed dogs like Yorkshire terriers and dachshunds, you should contact your veterinarian if you notice excessive paw-licking behavior in your pet.
Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and Ticks. If your dog is chewing his paws, it could be because he has fleas or ticks. Many dogs that chew their paws are infested with parasites like fleas or ticks, which cause all sorts of health problems like skin irritation. If you’re not careful, these parasites can spread to other parts of your dog’s body (and even to you) if left untreated.
Boredom & Paw Chewing
Boredom – If your dog is chewing their paws it may be a sign of boredom. Keep in mind, dogs are not easily entertained and they need something to stimulate them throughout their day. Do you have time to play with your dog every day? If not, consider getting a second dog so they can have a playmate. Or provide enrichment for your current dog by providing toys that keep them busy for hours on end. Stimulate and engage your dog as much as possible. As a result, they are less likely to become bored.