In my extensive experience as a dog parent, I can honestly say that these furry little buddies do the weirdest things. One of the oddest things I ever noticed was my doggy licking and chewing on their paws. At first it may seem cute; but after a while, it starts to get concerning. Here is all you need to know about this behavior.
Your dog may be lick and/or chewing their paws either due to physical or psychological distress. With the former, it could be as a result of irritation by infections, pest infestation, or even joint pains. Psychological causes, however, are more common and include things like anxiety, frustration, or boredom in general.
In the sections below, we shall take a look at all of these causes as well as what you can do to put your furry best friend out of their misery. Let’s get right into it.
Why Is My Dog Always Chewing His Paws?
Dogs generally tend to be very playful even when their temperament is more laid back. It is not uncommon to find your pooch playing with their tail or their limbs whether it is chasing the former or playfully biting the latter.
A dog chewing their paws is not a pretty sight. They can be quite rough with themselves which is definitely hard to watch as a loving pet owner.
So what is it that causes this bizarre, self-harming behavior? Here are some of the main causes that you should look out for.
This behavior could also be linked to anxiety. It could be anxiety due to separation, past trauma, or even regular phobias like loud noises. It has been shown that dogs suffering from psychological distress are prone to self-harming behavior including biting their paws.
Your dog may also just be generally mentally frustrated. This happens a lot with dogs that are not sufficiently mentally stimulated through games and outdoor time. They may turn to licking or biting their paws as a way to let out the tension and just keep themselves entertained.
Yes, dogs can actually get depressed. This happens a lot when they are not well taken care of over very long periods of time. As with anxiety, it could lead to self-harm in which case biting their own paw is one of the most common symptoms.
To Remove Stuck Objects
It could be a splinter stuck in the pad, a blade of grass between their fingers or even a tick hanging on for dear life. Your pooch will be chewing on their paws not only for relief but to get rid of the unwanted guests.
Why Is My Dog Always Licking His Paws?
However, here is a fine line between playful paw licking and an outright cry for help from your dog. Licking is a whole other ball bark when it comes to dogs and their paws.
Unlike chewing, this is more often than not as a result of physical issues and not psychological. For some perspective, here are the most common reasons why your dog is always licking their paws.
In this case, you may notice the dog focusing on a specific spot on the paw. They do this to try and get some pain relief from different kinds of pain especially as a result of injuries like bruised toes, broken nails, or even internal issues like joint diseases.
Dogs are not as crazy about grooming as cats are. However, they do occasionally clean themselves which may be the reason why your dog is licking their paws.
In this case, you may notice that they do not obsess over any specific paw but instead go systematically around their bodies getting every inch as clean as they can.
The licking could also be a way of the dog relieving irritation due to issues like flea or mite infestation. In addition to being itchy, the skin may feel very irritated in which case licking helps cool things down and relieve itch in the area.
Paws are often affected by allergies like grass or pollen sensitivity and can get very itchy. Dogs have rough tongues which are perfect for getting those annoying itches from spots like their paws. Remember that it may not be their natural instinct to use one paw to scratch another.
What Can I Use To Stop My Dog From Chewing His Paws?
You could stop your dog from chewing their paws in one of two groups of methods.
The first includes methods that handle the root of the problem whether it is anxiety or skin irritants.
The second is by making the paw inaccessible or unappealing to the dog which works mainly with psychological causes of the paw biting.
Here are a few home remedies for dogs chewing their paws.
It could be a chew toy or even a bone. This helps a lot with psychological causes where all they want is somewhere to let out their frustrations. It serves as a substitute to the paws to achieve the same purpose without harming the body of your pooch.
Try Homeopathic Remedies
If you notice an injury or infection on your dog’s paws, homeopathic remedies could come in very handy to prevent them from excessive chewing by stopping the issues in their tracks. Calendula and ledum come in handy for skin infections while silicea will help reduce irritation from splinters and other foreign bodies.
Something like Benadryl could come in handy if your dog is chewing on paws due to allergies. You could also try a tea tree oil spray on the dog’s paws if they are chewing due to yeast infections. For trauma, infections and pest infestations, on the other hand, get a vet to look at the paw and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Sprinkle Some Cayenne Pepper
This is a simple home remedy to stop dogs from chewing paws that works by making the paw unappealing to nibble at. Just make sure the skin is not irritated to avoid causing any more trouble.
Put Some Socks On The Little Buddy
Another way to stop dog from chewing paws is by simply putting some socks or shoes on them. They can’t chew on paws that they can’t access, right?
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Chewing His Paws As A Habit?
Prevention always works way better than cure with dogs when it comes to paw chewing habits.
Now that we have seen how to stop the issues, here are a few preventative measures you could take to stop your dog from developing the habit especially if you feel that they are at risk.
Keep Your Home Clean
Parasites like fleas and mites thrive off clutter and grime in a home. You will spare your furry best friend a lot of trouble by simply keeping your home clean. This will definitely reduce the chances of them developing pest infestations or even infections in cases of open wounds.
Stick To A Good Grooming Routine
Grooming matters a lot for the dog and lack of it could lead them to obsessively lick their paws. They especially do not like any dirt or mud on their paws.
In this case, we recommend the Paw Plunger for Dogs. This is designed to offer quick and mess-free cleaning for the dog’s paws after your outdoor adventures.
Invest In Protective Gear
Socks and shoes will do wonders for your dog if they have sensitive paws especially when you are outdoors. It could come in very handy if your pooch suffers from allergies to things like grass and pollen on the ground. For this, try the PUPWE Dog Booties that are rainproof and ideal for outdoor use.
Take Them Out For Some Play Time
This works wonders if your dog is suffering from boredom or even separation anxiety. You don’t even have to go outdoors. Just find a way to give them some play time.
How To Stop Dog From Licking Paws?
In addition to all the preventative measures for paw biting, there is a lot you can do specifically to stop your dog from excessively licking their paws. Here are a few more dog paw licking remedies that could come in handy if you are dealing with the same issue.
Get Rid Of Any Pests
Pests are easily among the leading causes of excessive paw licking in dogs. The most problematic here is fleas, which cause itchiness and general irritation of the doggy’s skin. Fortunately, there are several home remedies for this that should help stop your dog from licking their paws. These include apple cider vinegar, fragrant herbs and flea sprays.
Cover And Take Care Of Open Wounds
With time, open wounds on your dog’s paw could either get infected or become itchy as they heal. In the process of licking to relieve the itch, the dog may end up causing more trouble resulting in more intense itchiness and a cycle that just doesn’t seem to end.
Therefore, as soon as you notice an open wound on the dog’s paw, make sure to involve a vet to get it taken care of before it causes problems for your dog.
Keep The Dog Hydrated
A highly underrated remedy to help stop your dog from licking their paws is keeping the skin hydrated. There is no better way to do this than by keeping the dog itself hydrated. Failure to do so could lead to dehydration and by extension dry, itchy skin especially on low fur-covered spots like paws.
Why Is My Dog Chewing His Nails? More often than not, dogs chew on their nails as a result of anxiety or some other form of psychological distress. This helps them to relieve tension by offering them some form of comfort. They could also be doing it due to pain from issues like broken or infected nails.
Why Is My Dog Chewing His Tail? A lot of times, dogs chew on their tails when they are playing and in this case, there is nothing to worry about. However, they could also be doing so as a result of allergies whether environmental like pollen or pest-related like a flea infestation. It could also be a sign of stress.
Is It Normal For My Puppy To Be Chewing His Paws Already? Paw biting in dogs can start as early as young puppy age. In this case, it is often as a result of separation anxiety or other sources of frustration. It is very rarely due to health issues like pests, infections, or even allergies although they cannot be completely ruled out.