Why does my dog chew his paws? Many dog owners face this problem at some point in time. There are various reasons for this behavior, so the key to ending it is finding the cause.
This is one of the most common reasons for chewing on paws. Whether caused by food allergies or environmental triggers, a major allergy symptom is chewing on paws. If you don’t know what allergies your dog has, talk with your vet about how to identify the cause and how to handle it.
Lots of things cause paw irritation. Long-haired dogs whose paw hair isn’t trimmed can develop mats between the pads causing aggravation. Debris from walks that get stuck between pads, like foxtails or pebbles, make dogs chew their paws in an attempt to remove the debris. Check your dog’s paws for things stuck between the pads. If your dog has long hair, you may need to trim the hair to get a good look.
Nails that are too long get pushed into the paw with each step, causing irritation. Make sure to keep them trimmed or have a groomer take care of them. Infections of the nail bed also cause chewing. If the area is dark red and irritated, have your vet take a look.
Some debris actually injure your dog’s paws, like sharp rocks, thorns or glass. Dogs also chew injured paws with bandages as they try to rip off the bandages and get to the injury. Keep wounds and bandages protected with paw protectors for dogs, which will keep your dog from making wounds worse.
Stress and Boredom
Dogs may chew on their paws out of stress, whether it’s separation anxiety, nervousness from a new environment, or other stressors. A behaviorist will help your dog overcome these problems. Boredom is also an issue. Dogs need mental stimulation just like they need physical activity. If they don’t get it, they find other ways to keep themselves occupied – usually not positive. Chewing on paws is one example. Keep them entertained with toys and advanced training.
How do you know which of these is causing your dog’s chewing? Start by figuring out which paw your dog is chewing. If it’s just one, it’s probably a localized issue like irritation or injury. If it’s stress or boredom, it will be the two front paws – the ones most easily reached. Chewing on all four paws is a sign of allergies, which affects the dog on a broader level than other causes.
Why does my dog chew his paws? It depends, and ending the chewing depends on solving the root cause of the chewing. Use these tips to relieve your dog of the underlying problem.
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Photo credit: ariel wants a chip