Why Do Dogs Chew Their Paws? – 9 Things You Should Look For

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Sick of Your Dog Chewing and Licking at its Paws Nonstop?

Tired of listening to your dog constantly licking and chewing its feet or nails?

It does get annoying doesn’t it?

The constant slurp, slurp, sluuuurp! And worse yet, the occasional crunch, crunch, cruuuncccch just when you’re about to drift off into a nice cozy sleep….or, so you thought.

Ha…no such luck! There goes the dog again licking and chewing away at something…

and, if your dog is a known chewer of things, you jump up faster than a jack-in-the-box to see what that darn dog is so busy chewing up now.

But, instead of its usual chewing victims, like your shoes or socks, your dog has chosen a new one to terrorize…

Its very own paws!

While your dog is busily chewing and licking at its paws instead of the dirty socks you left on the floor, you’re left rubbing your sleepy eyes and wondering…

Why is it doing this? Has my dog finally gone off the deep end?

Should I Be Worried If My Dog is Chewing & Licking at its Feet or Nails?

Although this behavior isn’t all that uncommon, it probably should be something you need to look further into if your dog is chewing and/or licking its paws ALL the time, and it’s truly a constant behavior.

Why I say this is because I’ve seen our dogs occasionally chew or lick at their paws…sometimes quite aggressively too since I can hear

all the horrible crunching…

The first time I heard it, I thought, Oh no, who’s chewing on what now? This thought crossed my mind since we’re the proud dog parents of two heavy chewers and big damage doers, Jade and Argon.

And, checking to see, I found Jade busily crunching, but I couldn’t see what she had at first.

Dog Chewing on Ball
Dog Chewing on Ball – Not exactly the right one, but at least its not its paws!

Well, she didn’t have anything…she was chewing her nails!

She does this on occasion, but so far I haven’t been too worried about it since it’s not every day, and usually it’s a long time in between her little bouts of nail biting. And, it’s only to her back claws that she does this…

Now that I think of it, I’ve never had to trim her back nails. She takes care of those herself and does an excellent job of it too! Her mother, Pepper, did this same behavior when she was here…(R.I.P. Pepper…oh, how we miss you!)

So, maybe it’s hereditary or maybe she learned it from her mother…either way, she stops doing it when she’s happy with her nails, usually no more than 30 minutes or so of this crazy nail biting and then no more for a month or two.

Go figure! Anyways…

Dogs that do chew and lick at their toes, feet, and nails constantly are the ones I’d worry more about. Actually, I’d be very worried  if Jade this all the time.

It can’t be good for their skin, plus there must be a reason for a dog to be doing it continually…more than likely something is causing their paws discomfort or pain…like an unbearable itch you might feel sometimes on your hands or feet…

And, if it’s unbearably itchy feeling…well, what do you do?

You scratch at it, right?

So, this is what your dog is doing, trying to scratch their itchy, uncomfortable paws by chewing, biting, and licking at them…

Dogs don’t have hands or fingers to use…

and when it comes to scratching their paws, legs and feet just don’t work like our arms, hands, and fingers, which is why dogs use their mouth to scratch their paws instead. It works!

You ever tried scratching an itchy hand with your foot?

Kinda hard isn’t it? Plus, you’d look pretty darn silly doing it…

Anyways, What Really Causes Some Dogs to Chew on Their Paws?

Sometimes, some dogs keep biting and chewing until their paws are raw, red, and even bloody…

Reasons Why Dogs Chew and Lick Their Paws

  • Allergies – food allergies
  • Skin Irritants – Dirt or debris stuck to paws
  • Debris stuck between toes
  • Infections – yeast & other bacterial infections
  • Stress
  • Boredom

9 Things to Check for if Your Dog is Chewing & Licking Paws Constantly

  1. Skin on paws is red & irritated looking
  2. Fur on paws is stained looking
  3. Swollen areas – may be a sign of an infection or ringworm
  4. Discharge
  5. Abscesses – Broken or open areas of skin on paws or between toes
  6. Torn or broken toenails
  7. Ingrown toenails
  8. Ticks, burrs, pieces of sticks, etc. between toes or between the pads of dog’s feet
  9. Burns – asphalt or pavement can cause burns to the pads on dogs’ feet on extremely hot, sunny days.

If your dog is constantly chewing, biting, and/or licking its paws, check its paws for any of the culprits mentioned above.

If you find any of these, I’d recommend you take your dog to the veterinarian…especially if you only find the symptom, but not the actual cause.

There are things that can be done to help your dog’s itchy paws once you know exactly what is causing it…

Obviously, dried on mud, dirt, grass, burrs, or other debris can be seen if you look, and once these are removed, you’ll likely see the end of the paw licking and biting.

If you find it’s something you can remove, then remove whatever it is carefully and wait to see how your dog acts afterwards.

Does your dog continue licking and chewing at its paws?Dog Chewing Licking Paws 9 Things to Look for

If not, and it no longer shows signs of being madly obsessed with its paws…then chances are, you’ve fixed the problem!

We’ve had things like burrs and pieces of wood or sticks lodged in the fur between our dogs’ toes once in awhile in the past.

After removing the nasty little culprits, our dog no longer tried biting at its feet in discomfort.

When to Take Your Dog and Its Tender Toes to The Vet

If your dog continues to chew and lick its paws continually even though you see no obvious signs or even symptoms…

OR you notice any redness, swelling, discharge, torn/broken nails, ingrown nails, cuts, open sores or abscesses…

Take it to the veterinarian!

Your dog’s veterinarian can do tests to then figure out what exactly is causing your dog to have this unwanted and unhealthy behavior. It could be stress, allergies, ringworm, mites, or any number of things, which are all but impossible to pinpoint without any testing…you can read more about these at Pet MD’s post 10 Common Paw Problems in Dogs

Would you like itchy, irritated, maybe even painful hands?
You wouldn’t? Huh…well, I’ll be!
Your dog isn’t liking its itch-like-mad feet either, I’m guessing. So….

Yes, take it to the veterinarian already!

Ways to Prevent Constant Paw Chewing, Licking, & Biting in the First Place

  • Special Diet & Foods for Dogs with known food allergies
  • Keep nails trim
  • Wipe off any dirt, grass, mud, or other debris with a clean, slightly damp, old washcloth if you notice any of these stuck to your dog’s paws
  • Keep its hair cut shorter on the paws especially between toes & pads of feet
  • Avoid walking on pavement/asphalt on hot, sunny days – stick to the shade or put some booties on your dog
  • Avoid getting salt on your dog’s feet in the winter – wipe it off asap, before going into more snow especially
  • Keep your dog out of the pickers & burrs – and try to keep these wily weeds from sneaking into your yard…‘cuz, somehow they just do!
  • Avoid frostbite – Use dog booties in the winter in cold climates to protect the pads of their feet when going outside

These are just some ideas to help prevent your dog from ever developing this problem, but they aren’t foolproof either. Sometimes, things happen no matter what we do…

All we can do is try our best to keep our dogs happy, healthy, and comfy!

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed this or found it helpful in some way…

Please share this if you did, okay? I’d appreciate it…and our little doggies would too!

Have any Questions or Suggestions you’d like to add? Does your Dog Constantly Chew, Bite, and/or Lick Its Paws?

If so, I’d love to hear from you!

Please leave any questions or comments in the box below and I’ll get back to you as soon as humanely possible.


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