Dogs chewing and licking their feet is a behavior that worries some pet owners. Because this type of behavior is sudden and surprising, dog owners think that something may be wrong. Understanding the reasons behind dogs chewing their feet will help you decide whether you need to visit the vet.
When dogs chew on their feet they are trying to relieve an itchy or painful spot. Skin allergies, food, and environmental allergies can be the cause. Injuries and trauma are possible causes. Skin diseases and parasites also cause itching and pain.
Although occasional licking and chewing on the foot are nothing to be worried about, sometimes, the chewing can be an indicator that there is something wrong with the dog’s feet.
Should I Be Worried About My Dog Chewing Its Feet
Sometimes, a dog’s behavior that is normal and it has no serious cause behind it can seem upsetting to us. It’s hard to decide whether your dog is actually in pain and you should take it to the vet. My advice is, when in doubt and you are really worried, visit the vet just to put your mind at ease.
On the other hand, you can follow your dog’s behavior to find out whether there’s a health problem. Generally, there’s one good rule to follow. Did this behavior occur suddenly and is it excessive?
With this type of behavior, you shouldn’t be worried if it occurs occasionally. All dogs lick and chew their paws from time to time. This doesn’t last for a long time and it’s gentle, not excessive.
You should be worried when the behavior starts all of a sudden, and the dog won’t stop chewing its feet. More so, the dog will be gnawing at that foot pretty hard which can even cause more issues. You should examine the foot and see if there’s something visible that’s bothering the dog.
Reasons Dogs Chew Their Feet
Most of the time, a bad itch is behind the feet chewing. That is likely related to a skin infection or an allergy. Unfortunately, finding the right source of the itch is complicated, so you can never be sure. However, there are some likely suspects to check for.
The most obvious thing that pet owners first check out, parasites like ticks and fleas. These parasites are found in the grass or they can be transmitted through other animals. They live off the dog’s blood and they also reproduce.
Bites from these parasites will cause itching, which in turn may make the dog lick and chew its feet. More so, they also cause some skin diseases that also may be the reason for the chewing.
You will likely find ticks or fleas on the dog’s coat. Although they are hard to spot, if there are some, you will find them. Also, your dog will be scratching in the spots it was bitten, not only on its feet.
[Related Article: 17 Proven Ways To Treat Or Prevent A Tick Infestation In A Puppy]
Dogs are known to develop allergies to food and some things in the environment. Mild allergies in dogs are very common but these are not usually a problem. Dogs can also develop severe allergies. [Source]
There are plenty of things in the environment that your dog can be allergic to. They get the same allergies as us. So, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s causing the allergies. Nonetheless, if they are severe, the dog will try to itch and bite every spot that is itching.
This is definitely something to consider when taking your dog to the vet. Finding out whether it’s environmental allergies is complicated but a vet will definitely help.
Now, food allergies are way more common than environmental allergies. Food allergies are easier to pinpoint as well. Most likely, some of the carbohydrate sources in the dog food you are using are causing allergies. With a limited ingredient diet, you can find out what’s causing the allergies.
Although it seems ridiculous for the dog to be chewing its feet because of a food allergy, it happens quite a lot. Just like us, food allergies can irritate the skin in some places.
Check with your vet to make sure that your dog is chewing its feet because of food allergies.
[Related Article: 5 Best Dog Food Good For Allergies(Buying Guide) 2021]
Just like us, dogs are prone to developing some skin diseases. One common skin disease we share is dermatitis which can cause inflammation in the skin. This will cause discomfort in the dog, chewing its feet it’s one way to relieve the itching.
Skin diseases are usually caused by some kind of bacteria. You won’t be able to figure this out on your own. Let your vet know about unusual places your dog has been and things it ate or sniffed.
Trauma to the feet and injuries can make the dog chew its feet. This is not that hard to notice because an open wound is pretty obvious. However, some trauma with no visible injury may not be that easy to figure out.
The thing is, dogs treat wounds by themselves. The saliva in their mouth can help fight off infections and bacteria. So, they are just protecting themselves.
It’s not the same thing with trauma though. If the dog is in pain because of a bone injury, chewing will not help. If you notice your dog’s feet are injured take it to the vet immediately.
Lastly, dogs chew their feet out of boredom as well. Just like they can chew their tails because they are bored and need entertainment, it’s the same with the feet.
If the behavior is caused by boredom, the chewing will not be that excessive though. The dog will have that bored look on its face and it will slightly and slowly chew its feet. [Source]
Consider providing some entertainment for your dog if this is causing the chewing.
Related Questions And Other FAQs
How Do I Stop A Dog From Chewing His Paws
Dogs usually chew their feet when they feel itchy or in pain. The best way to stop your dog from chewing his paws is to find out why it’s doing that. Then, eliminate the source of the itching or the pain. Dogs chewing paws excessively warrants a visit to the vet.
Can You Give A Dog Benadryl For Itchy Paws
Benadryl is a safe drug to use on dogs, most vets do not have a problem with pet owners giving Benadryl to their dogs. However, this is not always a smart idea. If skin allergies are not causing the itch, Benadryl won’t help at all.