Why Do Dogs Chew Their Paws?
It is typical for a dog to chew or lick their paws on occasion as part of their self-grooming routine. After being outside, you may see your dog biting or licking their paws, especially if they have been in muddy or sandy areas. However, if your dog chews on their paws persistently and constantly, it could be a sign of a more serious underlying cause. In extreme circumstances, your dog may gnaw the paws raw until the skin or flesh is exposed.
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The article below from AnimalWised explains why dogs chew on their paws and how to prevent it.
What causes dogs to chew on their paws?
If our dog is constantly chewing on their paws, the first thing we should do is thoroughly examine the region.
Because the paws are continually in contact with the ground, cuts or scrapes are common, as are small things like as thorns or splinters becoming lodged between the fingers. If you’ve recently taken your dog for a walk and noticed that they bite their paws quickly thereafter, they’ve most likely stepped on something that is irritating them. Dogs typically chew the area between their fingers, particularly on their front legs.
Disinfect and treat superficial wounds at home. Remove trapped objects with tweezers if visible and easily removed. Consult a veterinarian if paw gnawing is persistent, red, or irritated. Consider other causes for paw chewing.
Physical reasons why dogs gnaw their paws
If your dog has been chewing for a few days and you’ve ruled out wounds or objects lodged in their paws, you should look into other physical factors. Most of these additional problems necessitate specialized veterinary care, therefore it is best to take your dog to the vet. It is critical to handle the issue as soon as possible, or else the dog can develop sores from excessive chewing, which can get infected.
The following are the most common physical causes of your dog chewing on their paws:
Allergies in dogs can cause itching, redness, and itching in various areas. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms using antihistamines, anti-inflammatory agents, and immunotherapy. Parasites, bacterial or yeast infections, paw pyodermatitis, interdigital furuncles, and dry skin are common causes of excessive licking or chewing. Veterinarians must determine the cause to determine the appropriate treatment. Interdigital furuncles are deep pyoderma lesions between the toes and can be caused by injury or bite. Homeopathy can also be used to treat dogs with allergies.
Compulsive dog paw chewing may be a result of psychological issues like stress and anxiety. Dogs with confined spaces, limited care, and anxiety may develop dog stereotypic behaviors, releasing stress or excess energy.
Warning signs of stress in dogs include ear layback, tail tucking, hackles, licking lips, yawning, and panting. Restlessness, pacing, whining, and disturbance may be a response to separation anxiety. Treatment for anxiety includes behavioral training and medication.
Tips for keeping your dog from chewing on his or her paws
Take your dog to a veterinarian for a professional evaluation to assist them break the habit of chewing on their paws. Depending on the cause, a veterinarian can identify the best treatment method for your dog’s specific case.
There are, however, certain things you can do to reduce the likelihood of your dog developing this habit in the future. These are some examples:
Maintain a tight eye on your dog’s deworming regimen. If your dog spends a lot of time outside or participates in activities that could raise the risk of parasite infection, you should increase the frequency of deworming.
After a walk in the woods or on sandy terrain, thoroughly inspect your dog’s paws.
Include essential fatty acids from fish oils in your dog’s food because they are good for his skin.
To avoid bad reactions, use specific shampoos for dogs with sensitive skin or coats.
Socialize your dog from puppyhood to reduce the likelihood of behaviour issues such as separation anxiety.
You can learn more about other ways to treat obsessive paw chewing by reading this other post on how to stop your dog from paw chewing.