Dog Chewing Paws And Nails: Reasons And How To Help
Dogs lick and chew on a lot of things, including themselves. This behavior is natural and something every dog owner and lover recognizes. There are plenty of reasons dogs might chew on their paws and nails, from healthy grooming to coping with pain, inflammation or discomfort. So how do pet parents know when our canine companions have crossed the normal threshold and when their paw chewing might be problematic?
In this article, well decode nail and paw biting in dogs, why they do it, when its a problem and what pet parents can and should do about it.
Injured And Sore Foot Pads
On the bottom of a dogs foot is the footpad. If you turn your dogs paw over then you will see the footpad for your dog. Footpads are soft to the touch, and they are extremely tough as well. Even though their footpad is tough and is designed to handle quite a bit, they can become damaged. A damaged footpad will cause a dog to show signs of being in pain. One way they seek to find relief from this pain is by biting the foot that is hurt.
There are a few things that can cause a footpad to become sore or damaged.
Dogs Chewing Paws And Nails: Is It Normal
Occasional brief sessions of paw licking and chewing are normal dog grooming behaviors. Most dogs will lick and chew their feet to clean themselves, especially after walks or play sessions outside. Some dogs may also exhibit this behavior as part of their nightly routine while they settle into bed or throughout the day while they are relaxing.
However, if your dog has suddenly started licking or chewing in a way they never have before, such as much longer than normal or more aggressively than usual, it can be a sign that something is wrong. Its also a cause for concern if your dog is incessantly licking, biting or chewing at their feet.
Typical grooming sessions dont last much longer than five to ten minutes maximum, and your dog should never leave themselves with raw or red paws afterward. Its abnormal for your dog to stay up all night obsessing with their paws or to stop on walks or play sessions to bite or chew their paws. These scenarios are a good reason to inspect your dogs feet and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
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Your Dog Has A Health Or Behavioral Problem
Licking can also be a sign of a health problem or a behavioral problem like boredom or anxiety. Speak to your veterinarian if you cant figure out why your dog is excessively licking or biting their paws. Your vet should be able to help you pinpoint whats going on and if theres a health or behavioral issue they can advise you on how to manage it.
Are Bananas Good For Dogs
Yes, dogs can eat bananas. In moderation, bananas are a great low-calorie treat for dogs. Theyre high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. They are low in cholesterol and sodium, but because of their high sugar content, bananas should be given as a treat, not part of your dogs main diet.
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Why Do Dogs Lick Or Chew On Their Paws
Seeing your dog incessantly chew or lick his paws can be distressing, especially if the behavior has sprung up out of nowhere.
In order to properly assist your furry friend, its important to get to the bottom of why your dog is chewing on his paws this is the only way to provide your pet with effective relief.
Here are some of themost common reasons your pooch may be licking or chewing his paws lately:
Megan here! Below is a photograph of my dog Remys paw when he was diagnosed with a bacterial infection. Looks pretty scary, doesnt it?
Upon noticing this giant red bulge , I took Remy to the vet and he was promptly put on antibiotics. After two weeks it cleared up and he was back to normal!
Although you may be able to diagnose a few of the problems discussed above on your own, it is still important to visit your vet.
Not only is it possible for dogs to suffer multiple, simultaneous problems that cause itchy paws but youll also need your vets help to treat many paw problems, such as bacterial infections.
Psychological Or Behavioral Causes
Dogs are pack animals by nature this means that they need companionship and don’t like being left alone for long periods. Often, if pets are left alone too long, they will lick and chew an area of their body until it gets raw and sore. This is most common in pets with high energy levels that are bored, or that aren’t getting enough exercise or attention. If this is your situation, perhaps you could ask a friend to walk or play with your dog in the middle of the day.
Hiring a dog walker is also a great ideaand you can also check to see if there’s a doggie daycare in your area. Be sure to provide your dog with stimulating toys that will help keep him occupied when you’re not around to play with him. Another tip that could work for your dog is to keep the television or the radio on. Sometimes this provides some distraction and “companionship” for your dog when you’re away from home.
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Dog Chewing Paws After Injury
If your dog has suddenly started licking and chewing their paws, it may be the result of an injury. Injuries that lead to dogs chewing paws include puncture wounds, cuts and scratches, and cracked or broken claws.
Its natural for dogs to lick an injury. Saliva has antiseptic properties, and in more primitive times this would have reduced the chance of a wound getting infected. So if your dog suddenly starts licking or chewing their paw, check carefully for any injuries to the paw or claws. They might put a dog cone on them to assist you in breaking the habit.
Nowadays of course we can provide better options than licking and chewing! You can read more about treating and preventing broken claws here. And if you find a small injury on your dogs paw, follow these simple steps.
How To Assess Your Dogs Condition
The first thing that you should do if you notice your dog licking or biting at their paws is check for visual clues of the cause. Sometimes you can see discoloration or a rash, so you know exactly what is causing the pain or discomfort and can inform your vet about it during your visit.
Check in between their toes and under their paws for any of the following:
- Foreign bodies such as ticks or fleas
Be on the lookout for any other behavior that may be a sign of pain, such as limping or lack of movement.
Is Your Dog Licking and Biting Their Paws?
Contact us to schedule an appointment.
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Your Dog Has Food Allergies
If your dog is excessively licking or biting their paws, one possibility is that your dog has food allergies. Food allergies can make your dogs paws itchy, which can lead them to bite or lick. Talk to your vet about your dogs food for recommendations on specific food and potential ingredient allergies.
Why Do Little Dogs Chew Their Feet
Why does my dog lick my shoes? It is common for dogs to bite their paws on their way to clean them, remove any debris they have picked up outside, scratch a little itch, or simply be bored.
Dogs chew their paws in some cases as a way of extending their normal cleaning and grooming habits. When you chew on several paws, you may be suffering from a skin allergy. Your veterinarians will provide you with free nail clipping as part of your Healthy Pet Club membership. It can be difficult and time-consuming to diagnose, but it is critical to avoid secondary bacterial infections.
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Your Dog Has A Parasite
If your dog has a parasite, such as mange or fleas, their paws may itch, causing them to lick. Check your dog for flea bites and mange spots, which are caused by mites. These parasites are tiny, so even if you dont see physical evidence of them, its a good idea to consult with your veterinarian, who can determine if theres a parasite involved and recommend any necessary treatment.
What To Do About It
The steps you take to stop your dog from biting his feet depend on the answer to why do dogs chew their feet in your situation. If he is chewing his paws from anxiety, treat the anxiety. If it is because of an infection, treat the infection. This is why getting to the bottom of the problem is so important.
The following are some of the specific remedies that can encourage your pooch to stop biting himself.
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Objects Stuck In Their Paws
Just as you might get something stuck in your shoe while walking, the same can happen with dogs paws. Plenty of items can get trapped in the tight crevices, from twigs and stones to thorns and glass and lead to soreness and irritation.
Beware of foxtails, which can burrow further into your dogs skin.
Possible Causes For Sudden Licking And Chewing
There are a variety of reasons why your dog would suddenly lick or chew his feet, including puncture wounds to the toes or paw pads, fractured claws or toes, burns, corns , and foreign bodies that may be lodged between the toes, such as ticks, grass awns and burrs.
Canines will also engage in this behavior due to other, more serious causes, such as interdigital cysts, tumors and other cancers, allergic skin disease and autoimmune diseases of the nail beds or paw pads.
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Video Answer: Dog Recovering After Chewing Own Leg Off
Yeast infection and flea allergies will also cause a dog to chew his feet.
Another reason why a dog could be chewing on his feet is because of an obsessive compulsive behavior.
Dogs can develop Canine Compulsive Disorder, which is brought on by anxiety, stress, or boredom.
And grass-eating doesn’t usually lead to throwing up — less than 25% of dogs that eat grass vomit regularly after grazing. Other suggested reasons why your dog might be eating grass include improving digestion, treating intestinal worms, or fulfilling some unmet nutritional need, including the need for fiber.
Eating their own poop is harmless, but consuming poop from other animals may cause health problems if the stool is contaminated with parasites, viruses, or toxins. In most cases, this behavior will fade before the puppy is about nine months old.
There can be a number of reasons why your Border Collie won’t eat: This includes using a low-quality dog food that’s upsetting her stomach, she’s not receiving enough exercise, she’s become bored with the food, isn’t following a strict feeding schedule or due to health issues.
Dog Chewing Paws With Dry Skin
Dry skin is also a common cause of dogs biting and licking their paws. Dogs may bite or lick to relieve the itchy feeling and any uncomfortable flaking. Dry skin is usually caused by one of the other problems we have covered in this article, such as parasites or allergies. Finding and treating the cause will cure the dry skin.
However dry skin can also be a sign of more serious problems. So if allergy treatments and de-fleaing dont improve your dogs skin, they should be given a thorough check up by their veterinarian. You can help keep your dogs coat in tip top condition with regular grooming, and by making sure their diet includes plenty of healthy fats and oils.
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Why Is My Dog’s Foot Sideways
As long as the paws are only slightly turned out, your dog can take part in the show ring. There are many reasons this breed suffers from turned-out paws. These include overweight problems, nutrient deficiencies, genetics, Carpal Valgus, medial patellar luxation, and elbow dysplasia among others. What is this?
Why Does My Dog Keep Biting His Paws
There are a number of different reasons why your dog might be biting their paws. For a variety of reasons, dogs may chew and lick their paws. The good news is that licking or biting your dog’s paws is typically nothing to be concerned about. If there’s loose plant material trapped in their paws, there’s food residue on them, they’re itchy from an environmental irritation, or they’re simply grooming, dogs lick their paws.
More serious causes include an injury, inflammation, allergy, infection, parasite, or anxiety. In each of these cases, its a good idea to have your dog seen by a professional vet.
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What Causes Chronic Paw Licking And Chewing
In order to take steps to curb paw licking and chewing, you need to know why your dog is doing it. There are a few possible causes. In order to get an accurate diagnosis, it is best to call your veterinarian for an examination. Any symptoms or behaviors that are excessive signal an underlying health problem. Diagnostic testing and an exam will give us the answers to get your dog treated right away.
We understand, it is distressing to see your poor fur pal biting and licking himself excessively. Yet, there are four common factors that cause this reaction in pets.
There are a few additional possibilities such as a hormonal imbalance and due to underlying pain, but the triggers above are the most common and likely.
Why Do Dogs Chew On Their Paws
There are a few reasons why dogs chew on their paws. One reason is that they may have itchy skin and are trying to relieve the itch. Another reason is that they may have an injury or infection in their paw and are trying to soothe it. Finally, some dogs just like the taste or texture of their paws and enjoy chewing on them.
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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 dogs body if the parasites attack it. Your dogs vet can recommend some good products.
- If your dog has allergies, change your dogs 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 dogs vet prescribes medication as a treatment.
Dog Chewing His Feet Vs Dog Licking His Feet
If your dog is constantly 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.
Lets 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 or you can use a soothing paw balm to speed healing. A deeper cut might need stitching.
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Is Your Dog At Risk For Yeast Infection:
Yeast infections are caused by a disruption of a dogs normal flora. Yeast infection is usually a secondary condition of something else that is going on inside your dog.
What do we mean by a secondary condition? For example, your dog might suffer from allergies. So you take him to the vet, which prescribes an antibiotic for your dog. The problem with antibiotic is that they kill the good and the bad bacteria that is inside your dog. Since the good bacteria is wiped out, this will allow yeast the opportunity to grow on your dog.
Yeast likes warm, damp environments, which is why you might see a yeast infection in your dogs ears, or between their toes. As mentioned before, yeast infection can be very itchy to your dog, which might cause him to bite at his feet. Yeast infections can spread if they are left untreated.
What Can Be Done:
When treating the yeast-infected area, it is important to disinfect the area, and then keep the area dry. If the yeast infection begins to spread, there are shampoos out there that can be used to help treat the yeast infection.
Another priority is to find out what caused the yeast infection in the first place. If your dog has been on any antibiotics due to allergies or sickness, then that may of been the cause of the yeast infection. Another alternative to consider when helping your dog fight allergies is using herbal supplements. Our number 34 Al-R-G Support helps maintain the bodys healthy, normal and natural response to allergens.