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If you have ever pondered why your dog chews, bites, or licks his paws and nails, you're not alone! It's one of the owners' most common questions about their dogs.

There is no clear-cut, all-encompassing answer for such problems. It can go in many different directions. Besides, knowing what's happening in your dog's head and how it thinks can be a challenging ordeal. However, we're here to help.

We've compiled a list of the top reasons your dog might be chewing on or biting its paws or nails. In addition, we offer counsel to train your dog in order to stop him from resorting to this type of behavior.

Why Do Dogs Chew or Lick Their Paws?

 dog licking paws

Some of the reasons why your dogs chew or lick their paws include;

Allergies

If your dogs have an allergy related to something in their immediate environment, or the type of food they eat. This can lead to inflammation in their paws, hence forcing them to chew and lick their paws excessively.

You can use antihistamines and steroids to treat allergies in your dogs. However, other treatments such as shampoos or ointments, may help reduce itching if the medication is ineffective.

Dry Skin or Irritation

dog's paw

Another typical cause of dogs chewing on their paws is dry skin. If you live in a country that has a dry climate, or don't moisturize your dog's skin regularly, this could cause this type of behavior to emerge.

If your dog has dry skin, consider giving them baths more often, and using a dog shampoo instead ofregular shampoo when cleaning their coat.

Bacterial/Yeast Infection

Yeast Infection on dog paws, dogs infection paws

Dogs can get bacterial and yeast infections on their paws, leading to redness, swelling, and painful itching.

If your pup seems to be chewing or licking its paws more than usual, it's important to see a vet as soon as possible. They will prescribe antibiotics or antifungals as needed to treat your dog's itchy paws.

Boredom

sad bulldog, dog paw infection, cracked dog paws

Yes, as simplistic as it may be, boredom can also be a primary cause for your dogs to start biting and/or chewing their paws. When you leave them alone for long periods of time, they may begin to chew on their paws to relieve boredom. If your dog has plenty of toys to play with and chew on, they probably won't start chewing their paws.

Still, if you cannot give your dog as much exercise as they need, you should consider hiring a professional dog walker who will provide them daily walks.

Injury

Your dog may bruise their pads by stepping on sharp objects like glass or rocks. Moreover, they can get an infection when they come in contact with toxic products, such as antifreeze or bleach.

If you notice your dog chewing on their feet after spending time outdoors, check the pads for injuries before assuming they have a medical problem.

Parasites on a Dog's Paws

Parasites on a Dog's Paws, inflamed dog paw

Certain parasites can cause dogs to chew on their paws excessively, including fleas, mites, and ticks.

Check your dog's paws for fleas and ticks if you see them chewing on their feet frequently, especially if they spend a lot of time outside, or live in an area where fleas are common during summer.

Anxiety

dog in pain, sad dog, anxiety in dogs

You will notice that your dog is licking its paws when it is stressed out. This behavior is often accompanied by other symptoms like panting and pacing and increased salivation in general.

Dogs may also have trouble sleeping. In this case, anxiety reduction techniques can help reduce stress levels in your pet.

Foreign Object in the Paw

If your dog starts licking its paws after you trim its nails, something that's bothering him might be caught between them.

Check your dog's foot regularly after trimming its nails and see whether anything seems out of place. If there's still some foreign object bothering him, take your dog to the vet immediately so it can get treated properly.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Is Chewing His Paws?

dog licking the paw, dog paw care

When you see your dog chewing on his paws, it might be hard to tell if he's in actual pain or just being playful. It can sometimes be challenging to determine if his behavior is normal or if it genuinely requires attention.

You should first examine why your dog is chewing their paws or nails. If you notice that your dog is constantly chewing on its paws or licking them excessively, it could be due to something wrong with the feet or nails.

Dogs' paw pads are sensitive and prone to injury. Thus, it's important to pay attention to any changes in how they act around their feet.

If you're worried about your dog's behavior and want advice on stopping them from chewing on their paws, talk with your veterinarian about the steps you should take next.

How to Stop Dogs From Chewing Paws and Nails

Maintaining cleanliness is the first step in preventing your dog from chewing its paws. This will reduce the chances of infection and keep your dog's paws free of dirt and debris that might otherwise prompt him to chew them.

If your dog suffers from allergies, try switching to a hypoallergenic diet. They are normally formulated for dogs with food allergies.

Ensure your dog always has access to a variety of toys. As a result, they do not resort to chewing as an outlet for boredom or stress relief.

If you suspect splinters or thorns may be causing your dog’s pain in his paws, take it to the vet for an examination.

When Is It Time to Take My Dog to the Vet?

sick dog, dog at vets

If your dog has been chewing its paws for some time and nothing seems to work, it may be time to see a vet.

Persistent chewing, pus, odor, or swelling are all signs of serious conditions that require immediate medical attention.

Bleeding/wounds can also indicate underlying medical problems, such as arthritis or lacerations requiring stitches.

Veterinarians should be able to identify any underlying causes and provide appropriate remedies.

What Happens If My Dog Keeps Chewing or Licking Their Paws?

Excessive chewing or licking can lead to further injuries. Moreover, it can lead to bacterial and yeast infections. This can happen whether or not your pet has sustained an injury already.

If they start licking their paws excessively, they'll eventually open up small cuts that allow harmful bacteria inside their bodies and make them sick.

FAQs

1. Is it normal for a dog to chew its paws?

Yes! It's normal for dogs to chew their paws, especially when they're teething. However, paw chewing more than usual could be a sign of anxiety or stress, allergy, parasite, boredom, injury, etc.

2. Why does my dog keep licking his paw, and it's red?

Dogs lick their paws for a variety of reasons. It could be because they have parasites, or it could be because they're in pain. It could also just be due to allergic reactions from their environment or the food they take.

If you spot your dog licking one paw for a couple of days, it's worth taking them to the vet to get an official diagnosis.

If they have an infection or suffer from other medical conditions, you'll need to treat them right away.

3. Do Puppies bite their paws when teething?

Some puppies will start biting their paws through the teething stages. That happens because they feel pain and discomfort from the sharp teeth that they start growing.

Try giving them something cold to chew on for relief, and keep an eye out for any signs of infection(s).

4. What are the critical signs of stress in dogs?

Stress in dogs can cause them to lose hair, stop eating, and even develop skin problems, such as rashes. It's important to identify any signs of stress as early as possible so you can begin treating them.

Wrap Up

As you can see, many reasons are behind a dog chewing its paws. From separation anxiety to boredom and more. However, occasional paw licking shouldn't be a main concern, as it's normal self-grooming behavior.

You can stop dogs chewing their paws by ensuring that they have plenty of toys to play with, giving them hypoallergenic foods, and keeping them clean. 

Speaking of health and cleanliness, there are several products available that you can buy from the market. Pride+Groom’s“THE BALM” moisturizes and heals your pet’s dry paws. Through a quick slick, THE BALM provides comfort for the brittle paws affected by dryness.

Be advised though! THE BALM is not the be all and end all product that magically cures your dog from all diseases. If your pet friend is biting and licking his paws due to a severe medical condition, you must immediately consult your veterinarian and seek a consultation as soon as possible!

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