Why Do Dogs Chew Their Feet: Find Out Here

If you’re a dog owner, you may have noticed your dog chewing their feet. This is a relatively common behavior, but why do dogs chew their feet?

Turns out, there are quite a few reasons!

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons dogs chew their feet and what you can do to help mitigate the behavior.

We also share what it means when your dog chews on just one paw or all their paws, and when you may need to call the vet.

So read on to learn more about your furry friend’s odd habit!

Why Do Dogs Chew Their Feet? Here Are The Top Reasons:

Dogs chew their feet for a variety of reasons. Some are motivated by boredom or anxiety, while others may have an underlying health condition that’s causing them to lick and chew excessively.

Here are some of the most common reasons dogs chew their feet:

#1 – Allergies

Allergies are a common reason why dogs lick and chew their feet. Seasonal allergies, food allergies, and environmental allergies can all cause your dog to itch and scratch.

If your dog is licking and chewing their feet more than usual, take them to the vet to rule out allergies as a possible cause.

#2 – Injuries

Dogs may also lick and chew their feet if they have an injury or infection. This could be anything from a cut or hot spot to something more serious like a broken bone.

dog licking his paw

If you notice your dog licking or chewing one paw more than the others, it’s possible they’ve injured that paw and need to see the vet.

#3 – Parasites

Parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites can also cause your dog to lick and chew their feet. If your dog has a flea or tick infestation, you’ll likely see them scratching all over their body, not just their feet.

If you think your dog may have parasites, take them to the vet for a diagnosis and treatment plan. If you leave parasites untreated, they can cause serious health problems for your dog.

#4 – Pain

Dogs may also lick and chew their feet as a way to self-soothe if they’re in pain. This could be due to arthritis, hip dysplasia, or any other type of pain.

These conditions often cause dogs to lick and chew their paws as a way to try to relieve the pain. If you think your dog may be in pain, take them to the vet for an evaluation. Treats that are calming for dogs are often a good idea too.

#5 – Boredom or Anxiety

Sometimes, dogs will lick and chew their feet out of boredom. This is especially common in puppies and young dogs who haven’t yet been trained not to chew on things.

Dogs may also lick and chew their feet out of anxiety or stress. This could be due to separation anxiety, fear of loud noises, or any other type of anxiety.

If you think your dog’s chewing is due to boredom or anxiety, try giving them more chew bones for dogs or toys and mental stimulation.

You may also want to talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medication.

What It Means When Your Dog Chew One Paw

If you notice your dog only chewing on one paw, there are a few possible explanations. The most popular reasons why are:

Ingrown Paws

Dogs will often lick and chew at ingrown nails. Why? Because it feels good! The act of chewing can help relieve the itchiness and pain associated with an ingrown nail.

If you think your dog may have an ingrown paw, take them to the vet for an evaluation. Your vet will be able to determine if the cause is indeed an ingrown nail and recommend treatment options.

dog raising his paw

Broken Paws

Dogs may also lick and chew at a broken paw. This is usually due to the pain associated with the injury. By licking and chewing, dogs are trying to self-soothe and make the pain go away.

If you think your dog has a broken paw, take them to the vet for an evaluation. Your vet will likely recommend x-rays to determine if there is indeed a break. Treatment options will vary depending on the severity of the break.

Cuts

Cuts and hot spots are also common reasons why dogs lick and chew at their feet.

Just like with a broken paw, the licking and chewing help to self-soothe the pain associated with the injury. Saliva also has natural healing properties that can help to speed up the healing process.

Cysts

Cysts are non-cancerous growths that can occur anywhere on your dog’s body. They’re often filled with pus or other fluids and can be quite painful.

Similar to other injuries, dogs will lick and chew at cysts in an attempt to self-soothe the pain. 

If you think your dog has a cyst, take them to the vet for an evaluation. Treatment options will vary depending on the size and location of the cyst.

What It Means When Your Dog Chew Multiple Paws

There are a few different reasons why your dog may chew on multiple paws. The most common are:

Pollen Allergies

If your dog is allergic to pollen, they may start licking and chewing at their paws as a way to relieve the itchiness and help with allergy relief. This is most common in the springtime when pollen levels are high.

a pollen mist

If this is the case, get your dog an allergy test from the vet. This will help you determine what your dog is allergic to and how to best treat the allergies.

Dust

Dust mites are tiny creatures that live in household dust. They’re too small to see with the naked eye but can cause big problems for dogs with allergies.

Dogs who are allergic to dust mites may start licking and chewing at their paws as a way to relieve the itchiness. Mites are most common in homes with carpeting or upholstered furniture.

Molds

Molds are fungi that can grow both indoors and outdoors. They’re often found in damp, dark places like basements or attics.

Dogs who are allergic to mold may develop itchy skin, runny eyes, and sneezing. Some dogs may even develop a bacterial infection from all the scratching.

They may lick their paws to soothe the itch, which can lead to more irritation and licking.

Food Ingredients

If you find your dog licking and chewing at their paws after eating, it’s possible they’re allergic to something in their food. The most common food allergens for dogs are beef, dairy, wheat, and chicken.

If you think your dog may have a food allergy, talk to your vet. They will likely recommend switching to a hypoallergenic food trial to see if the allergies resolve.

When To Call Your Vet?

If your dog is licking and chewing at their paws, it’s important to pay attention to the behavior. While some paw licking is normal, excessive licking can lead to problems like:

Vet check up

Hot Spots

Hot spots are open wounds that often form from excessive licking and chewing. They’re painful and can become infected if not treated properly.

If you notice a hot spot on your dog, take them to the vet for treatment. Your vet may recommend antibiotics and/or a special cream to help heal the hot spot.

Bacterial Infections

Dogs who lick and chew their paws excessively are at risk of developing bacterial infections. The bacteria can enter through open wounds or cracks in the skin.

If you notice your dog licking and chewing more than usual, take them to the vet for an evaluation. Your vet will likely recommend antibiotics to treat the infection.

People Also Ask

How Can I Get My Dog To Stop Chewing His Paws?

There are a few things you can do to help your dog stop chewing his paws, including:

1) Provide your dog with plenty of chew toys and bones to keep their mouth busy.
2) Apply a bitter-tasting spray to your dog’s paws to deter them from chewing.
3) Trim your dog’s nails regularly to prevent them from getting too long and causing your dog discomfort.

Is It Normal for a Dog To Chew On Its Foot?

Yes, it is normal for a dog to chew on its foot from time to time. However, if your dog is excessively licking and chewing their paws, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue and you should take them to the vet for an evaluation.

What Is Your Dog Trying To Warn You About When They Lick Their Paws?

It’s not entirely clear what dogs are trying to communicate when they lick their paws, but it’s generally believed that they’re trying to self-soothe or relieve stress.

If your dog is licking their paws excessively, it could also be a sign that they’re experiencing anxiety or something is causing them discomfort.

Should I Stop My Dog From Licking His Paws?

If your dog is licking their paws excessively, it’s important to take them to the vet for an evaluation.

Excessive licking can lead to hot spots, bacterial infections, and other health problems. However, in most cases, you won’t need to stop your dog from licking its paws entirely.

Conclusion

Dogs lick and chew their paws for a variety of reasons, including allergies, boredom, and anxiety. If your dog is licking and chewing its paws excessively, it’s important to take them to the vet for an evaluation.

Excessive licking can lead to hot spots, bacterial infections, and other health problems. However, in most instances, a little licking and chewing is nothing to worry about.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s licking and chewing habits, talk to your vet. They can help you determine if there’s an underlying cause that needs to be addressed.

Have you ever noticed your dog chewing their feet? What was your response?

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

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