Why Do Dogs Chew Their Feet?

Summary: “Why is my dog biting their paws?” Fear not, pet parent. This blog looks at the many reasons your dog may have a new-found interest in their feet. If your dog is biting their paws, read on…   Why Is My Dog Biting Their Paws? So, your pooch is super into their paws right […]

Nov 02, 2023·7 min read
Why Do Dogs Chew Their Feet?

Summary: Why is my dog biting their paws?” Fear not, pet parent. This blog looks at the many reasons your dog may have a new-found interest in their feet. If your dog is biting their paws, read on…


Why Is My Dog Biting Their Paws?

So, your pooch is super into their paws right now… But how much paw attention is too much and when should you intervene? Whether this is biting, chewing, or licking, you’re in the right place if you think this behavior seems frequent, prolonged, or intense…

If the area they are licking – paws, or otherwise – is red, swollen, bleeding, or smells you need to get them looked over by your vet stat. Plus, if your dog is limping, or can’t put weight on the area they are being overly attentive to, you also need to get them checked out.

However, if they’re not presenting the above symptoms but their newfound interest in their paws is concerning you, it might be one of the 5 following reasons that you can potentially help them with yourself…

Dog Biting Paws

They might have seasonal/food allergies

Dogs can develop seasonal allergies just like us! As well as pollen and mold, they can also be allergic to cleaning products and chemicals you use at home – including washing detergents. In addition, they can also be allergic to foods, too. The most common food allergens for dogs are beef, dairy, chicken, and wheat.

If you own a Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Retriever, or a German Shepherd, these dog types are thought to be at a higher risk of developing food allergies and intolerances, so it’s good to be mindful of this as a pet parent to these breeds.

When your dog comes into contact with an external irritant like pollen, detergent, or food, their immune system identifies it as a threat and alerts the body to begin its defense mechanisms. One of the signs of this is paw licking.

An allergy to fleas can cause dogs to bite their feet too!

Fleas can also cause allergic reactions in dogs. Flea saliva is by far the most common insect allergen for pooches and causes Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), so make sure you’re up to date on your flea and tick treatment.

Always consult with your vet when deciding on the best course of action to help your dog recover from, cope with, and reduce any suspected allergic reactions.

They might have dry skin

a close up shot of a brown and white Bulldog puppy's paws as they stand on a wooden deck

When it’s really cold, or really hot, your furry friend can experience bouts of dry skin, just like you! Your dog may be licking their paws to try and moisten them and relieve the dry sensation.

This could be their bodies screaming out for a boost of fatty acids, like Omega 3 to help boost the moisture in their skin. Fatty acids also have a host of other benefits, like promoting a shiny, healthy coat and joint lubrication.

Simply add a teaspoon of fish oil, olive oil, or coconut oil to their food bowl once a day and monitor for improvements… if the dry skin is severe, chat to your vet about specially formulated skin balms.

They might be injured

If your dog is licking and chewing at one paw, in particular, they could be nursing an injury. If they’re very active or got particularly excited during a walkover new terrain, this could explain how and where they hurt themselves.

Check their paws for wounds or punctures, or maybe even a fractured toe or claw. Check regularly for stuck grass seeds, splinters, cuts, or tears and help remove them yourself or pop to the vet.

Your pet can also burn their paws if it’s particularly hot outside. If you can’t put your barefoot on the concrete, neither can they. If you suspect a burnt pad, bathe it in cool water and keep your pup inside until it’s healed or the temperature is cooler.

Have a flat-faced, brachycephalic breed of dog? Interdigital cysts are common in the front feet of these dogs. These type of cysts are painful swellings between the toes. Rest assured, they’re more often than not treatable by a vet, but can come back in the same place or appear on the other feet, so keep an eye out.

They might be anxious

a close up of a pair of off-white, medium sized dog paws as they stand on a wooden step

Did you know dogs over-groom themselves if they’re feeling lonely, bored, depressed, or anxious? It’s a common soothing mechanism if they feel ignored or aren’t being stimulated enough with exercise, play, and interaction.

That being said, some dogs (usually neglected or rescued pups) deal with anxiousness no matter how much attention you pay to them. Monitor when your pooch starts engaging in their paw-licking behavior and assess what else is going on around them that could be causing this psychological reaction.

Work long hours? Make sure to invest in a loving sitter who can shower them with affection and exercise whilst you’re out!

They might like it!

What may have started as a reaction to an injury or allergy, your dog may have discovered they enjoy the sensation! Unfortunately, though, the process of licking may cause new injuries or irritation to the paw as doggy tongues are rough and wet. If you allow your pooch to continue over-licking, they’ll only make matters worse for themselves.

Chat to your vet about how best, and kindly, you can curb their new habit!

What About Dog’s Chewing Nails?

If you’re sure it’s not a habit, anxiousness, irritated skin, an injury, or a food/seasonal allergy, and they’re up to date on their flea and tick treatment, it may be time to visit the groomers!

That’s right, they may just need a nail trim! If a dog’s nails are overgrown it can put uncomfortable pressure on their paw pad and make their daily activities difficult and so, they may be trying to rectify the long length themselves!

If a dog’s long nails are left to grow, this can cause them pain and lead to infection so make sure to keep them regularly trimmed (your groomer can advise on how often this should be done).

Own a very fluffy dog that’s chewing their feet?

Fluffy, hairy breeds can become bothered by overgrown hair around their paws. The thick fur can become wedged in between their toes! Remember, if you’ve opted to be a fluffy pet parent, it is your duty to keep up with their haircuts for their comfort, health and happiness.

Why Do Dogs Chew Their Feet?

Let’s be clear – dogs lick themselves. It would be weird if they didn’t! But, it’s important to know when it’s too much. Like any good pet parent, regularly check their paws, keep up with all scheduled veterinary check-ups and keep an eye out for new behaviors like excessive paw licking.

Sarah MiltonS

Sarah Milton

Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!

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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
*In Amazon Pet Health Category in 2022
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