Why does my dog lick and chew their feet?

Posted by Dr Dog. February 15th 2019.

Do you find your dog often likes to lick or chew at its feet and paws? It might seem like an everyday occurrence. But if your dog is causing its paws to bleed or swell, it could it be a sign of something more serious.   

Here are some of the reasons why your dog might be licking or chewing their feet, and how you can deal with their chewing and licking habit.

Injuries

If you spot your dog licking or chewing their feet, you should check they haven’t injured themselves.

If your dog likes to run about outside, it can be very easy for them to get things stuck in their feet or between their toes such as grass seeds. Or they might cut themselves on anything sharp, such as thorns.

You might not even notice anything wrong with your dog’s paws. It could simply be an irritant, rather than causing them any pain. However, left untreated, it could develop into a more serious problem and cause extra discomfort for your dog.

Other potential injuries which can lead to your dog licking or chewing its paws could be a broken claw. Double check your dog’s paws, and if you see any signs of bleeding, go and see your vet.

Allergies

One of the other most likely reasons why your dog chews its paws could be down to allergies.

A specific ingredient in your dog’s food may be having an effect on your dog’s skin causing it to itch. One way to combat food-related allergies is by switching your dog’s food to hypoallergenic food.

It could also be as simple as dust mites or fleas which are causing your dog to chew its paws. You can protect your dog from fleas by utilising a flea treatment. But to rid your house of dust mites requires a bit more work. To get rid of dust mites, we recommend using a dog bed which has a removable cover that can be washed in hot water regularly.

Even a change in the season can cause potential allergies in your dog. This is due to the various plants that spring up outside, spreading different types of pollen.

If you suspect your dog has a skin allergy, you should consult with your vet, who can also advise on a solution.

Stress

Another reason for your dog licking or chewing at its feet could be due to Canine Compulsive Disorder. This can be caused by stress.

However, if you think your dog is chewing its feet due to a behavioural problem, as opposed to a medical issue, there are animal behaviourists who can help with the problem. You should first consult with your vet in order to rule out any medical causes.

You may not have seen your dog chewing at their feet, but if you find your dog’s paws are sore or have signs of bleeding, they may still be at it. Your dog may suffer with separation anxiety and chew its paws when you’re out at work. This could be because they feel anxious or stressed at being left at home alone.

It can be difficult to get your dog to stop licking or chewing its feet, particularly if you’re not at home all the time to keep watch. One way you can keep a close eye on what your dog gets up to when you’re not around is by investing in a pet camera. Not only will you be able to check on your dog regularly throughout the day, but you can also help reduce any anxiety by feeding treats and talking to your dog via the camera.

Read some more of our tips on helping your dog to feel less stressed or anxious here.

What should I do if my dog’s paws bleed or swell

If your dog’s paws are swollen or bleeding, it could be a sign of something stuck in your pet’s foot. The first thing to do is to check your dog’s paws for any objects which may be causing the discomfort and remove any objects you find.

Next, soak and clean your dog’s paw – you can use just salt and water. If the swelling still doesn’t go down, you should consult your vet.

There’s no one-stop way for preventing your dog from chewing at its feet. This is because it’s dependent on the original cause of the problem. However, if you’re still stuck on what to do about your dog’s licking and chewing habit, we recommend a trip to your vets for further advice.

Ease any worries you may have by ensuring your dog is protected with pet insurance. Visit www.argospetinsurance.co.uk for a quote today.

Argos Limited is an Appointed Representative of Home Retail Group Insurance Services Limited which is authorised and regulated as an insurance intermediary by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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