Dogs who chew or lick their paws habitually should see a vet. No matter how harmless the situation looks, not only could it mean your dog is sick, dogs who constantly lick and chew paws are more prone to allergies.
There are often a reason why your dog is biting and chewing their paw, it’s not only concerning, there are many reasons why your dog may be chewing or licking at its paws such as:
- Behaviour issues
- Pain/discomfort from a foreign object lodged in the foot
- Secondary yeast or bacterial infection
The most common flea allergy in dogs and cats is caused by not the flea bite, but the flea’s saliva. Flea allergies are actually quite common among dogs and cats, so if you notice that your pet is scratching a lot it might be best to visit your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
A dog biting his paws may be due to stress, fear, or anxiety. A dog may also chew at his paws out of boredom.
To reduce the number of paw-biting sessions your dog gives itself, you should always keep it active and teach them better behaviour such as providing chew toys and lots of exercise.
Pain or Discomfort from a Foreign Object
The dog may have a splinter or glass in his paw. Ticks sometimes burrow between the dog’s toes, causing great irritation.
The dog may have a thorn or piece of glass in his paw. Ticks sometimes burrow between the dog’s toes causing great irritation.
Corns are small, hard growths that develop on dogs’ toes. The growths or also known as callouses, this is more common in Greyhounds and Lurchers than in other types of dogs.
Secondary Bacterial or Yeast Infection
Chewing, licking, and biting have long been a dog’s means of relieving stress and energizing themselves. However, this habit can lead to a secondary bacterial or yeast infection. The infection will often lead to more discomfort and itchiness. Dogs have a need to chew and bite on something all the time so at times they may use it as an outlet for their excess energy.
What can you do to help?
When you have notice this issue is happening more often than not, take it to a Vet. They will determine the underlying cause for your dog chewing at his paws, when you come to their office. The vet will perform a physical examination of the dog and look at the overall health of your pet. The vet will check for any foreign objects that could be getting into his paws.
They may recommend a complete blood count (CBC). This can help determine if there is a bacterial infection. A skin biopsy takes a small sample of skin, to be examined under a microscope. A cytology test scrapes or swabs the skin’s surface to examine cells closely.
If your vet suspects allergies, he will perform an intradermal allergy test. Small amounts of common allergens are injected under your dog’s skin. If your dog is allergic to a certain allergen, his skin will react.
Otherwise, it could be an diet issue, which we could do a simple elimination diet, this is a common test that determines the food triggers for your dog’s allergies. It lasts about six weeks and involves feeding only one new protein to your pet. All treats are eliminated along with all processed foods, grains, dairy, preservatives, and additives.
If your dog experiences a reaction, it’s highly likely those ingredients are the triggers and you should exclude them from their diet.
Many dogs with environmental allergies may need daily allergy shots. Dogs with flea allergies should be put on monthly flea preventative medication. Corns may need removal from the dog’s foot pads. Foreign objects such as glass will be removed from the pad and bandaged. Secondary yeast infections are treated with topical antifungal medications. Bacterial infections are treated with topical and oral antibiotics.
Prevention of Chewing His Paws
If the vet thinks that your dog paw chewing is due to behavioural issues, he might recommend an animal behaviourist. If/when you take your dog for a session with the behaviourist, she may suggest activities and solutions to help your pooch overcome stress, boredom, fears, and anxiety. A monthly flea and tick preventative are also an excellent way to keep your dog healthy and happy. It prevents flea allergy reactions, irritated skin, and toxic chemicals. If you use pesticides outside on your lawn, do not let your dog walk on the lawn until it is dry.