Does your dog chew on his paws excessively? Pet owners often report the sound of the chewing action along with the non-stop action drives them crazy. As a pet parent, you might be concerned if your dog chews his paws. You are right to be concerned because it is usually a sign of something deeper than just a habit. If your dog chews his paws on occasion, it’s usually due to something that irritated his paw and his chewing action is an attempt to sooth the area. However, if your dog is excessively chewing on his paws, there is room for concern. The following information will unravel the mystery if this annoying issue.
The Root of the Behavior
The cause of paw chewing in dogs can be due to allergies, boredom, parasites, anxiety, depression, and stress. Determining the cause of your dog’s paw chewing can be a long road. It takes an observant eye and plenty of patience along the way. Allergies are the most common reason dogs chew their paws. Food allergies are usually the cause of the behavior. Dogs have allergies to the ingredients in commercial dog foods that cause the allergic reaction. Since most dry and wet dog foods have a wide range of ingredients, it is often difficult for pet parents to pinpoint the specific ingredient that causes the allergic reaction. If you believe your dog has a food allergy, it’s best to discuss it with the veterinarian to confirm the diagnosis and begin treatment. Environmental allergies such as pollen, mold and harsh chemicals are also a popular cause of allergies in Bulldogs.
Generally, dogs walk barefoot or bare pawed outdoors. This means they come into direct contact with everything that is on the ground. If you chemically treat your yard for weeds and insects, your dog is coming into direct contact with those harsh chemicals. Some of those chemicals can cause your dog to have an allergic reaction which can lead to licking or chewing his paws. Then the chemicals are consumed by your dog due to direct mouth to paw access. This can lead to your dog experiencing health issues due to toxic poisoning. Also, your dog could have come into contact with fleas, ticks, or parasites that bit him on his paws or in between his toes. This bite can become itchy and inflamed, causing your dog to chew his paws endlessly in an attempt to make it feel better. As soon as you notice your dog is chewing excessively on his paws you should check them carefully for bites, redness, and swelling.
Encouraging the Behavior
If your dog is excessively chewing his paws, you need to do your best to discourage the behavior. Continuous chewing of the paws can cause hair loss, punctures from the teeth, bleeding, pain, discomfort, infection, and injury. Determining the cause of the action is essential to solving this problem. If you think food allergies are the cause, bring your dog to the veterinarian for further examination. A professional will guide you on the path to finding the perfect diet for your dog. If exposure to harsh chemicals or lawn care products is the cause, you need to immediately switch to organic pet-friendly lawn care products. This also includes pet-friendly flea and tick products.
If you are unable to pinpoint the exact source of the harsh chemical reaction causing the allergy, replace them all with organic pet-friendly products. Another issue that can cause paw chewing in dogs is stress, anxiety, and depression. Dogs have feelings and a variety of things can cause them to feel depressed or stressed. A loss of a family member or pet, thunderstorms, loud noises, and a chaotic household are common causes of depression and anxiety in dogs. If your dog is not behaving like his normal happy self, barely eats, and doesn’t have interest in playing or going outdoors, depression can be the cause. If you sense your dog is experiencing depression or anxiety try to determine the cause and do your best to solve the situation.
Other Solutions and Considerations
You will be surprised to learn your dog is depressed and finding the cause is probably not going to be easy. It's wise to keep a notebook and think back to the moment you first noticed your dog was depressed and looking sad. Try to remember what was happening at that moment in your household. Is your dog getting enough attention? Did you drastically change his food or diet? Is he getting enough exercise? Dogs often feel sad because of changes in the family dynamic, such as a child leaving for college or a new arrival of a human baby. Once you determine the cause of the depression take steps to improving the situation. Usually paying more attention to your dog along with providing new levels of entertainment such as toys helps your dog gradually leave his depression and paw chewing behind.
Whether your dog is depressed, allergic to his food, sad because a child went away to college or is experiencing anxiety, the issues are usually fairly easy to solve. Careful observation, precise diagnosis, and beneficial treatment will help reduce paw chewing in most dogs. Treating your dog’s condition as quickly as possible will help lessen your own stress and prevent you from chewing on your own nails.
Written by a Cocker Spaniel lover Shellie Sutera
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 04/26/2018, edited: 01/30/2020