Why Do Dogs Chew Their Feet? 4 Possible Reasons

Why Do Dogs Chew Their Feet? 4 Possible Reasons

Author WDF Staff


Dogs often exhibit behaviors we can’t seem to understand, and one of them is chewing their feet or paws. If you ever noticed your dog doing that, you probably wondered, “Why is my dog chewing its feet?” or “Why do dogs chew their feet?” Well, the answer to that question can be complicated. Some cases can be worrying, and some can be taken lightly. Nevertheless, responsible dog owners need to know why their dogs exhibit strange behavior and chewing their feet definitely falls under that category. Here’s what all dog owners need to know about why dogs chew their feet.

Why do dogs chew their feet?

As we said, this is a complicated question that doesn’t have a single simple answer. There are different reasons dogs might want to chew their feet. You have to take a closer look at your dog’s paw and see what it is that’s bugging them. If your dog’s feet don’t seem impacted by their sharp teeth and their paws look normal, it might just be that something’s itching them. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know until we take a closer look. Nevertheless, we bring you the most common reasons dogs chew their feet and what you can do about it.

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1. Allergies

One of the most common reasons dogs start chewing their feet is allergies. Dogs that are allergic to something might get a reaction on their paws or between their paw pads. If that happens, that reaction can be very uncomfortable and itchy. Since dogs can’t scratch their paws with their other paw, they will try to bite or chew their foot to relieve the discomfort.

dog paw zoomed

What to do about it?

There are a few things dog owners can try to make their dogs feel better. If the feet chewing last a long time, it might be a case of food allergies. Changing the dog’s diet might do the trick. Dogs can also be allergic to pollen, cleaning supplies, or mold. Removing the allergen should get rid of this behavior. However, finding the true cause of dog allergies is a lengthy process of eliminating possible causes one by one.

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2. Cuts, bruises, or pain

If the feet chewing, or paw chewing, is focused on one paw, it is possible the dog suffered a cut or a bruise. Dogs that suffered some kind of mild trauma to a foot or a paw might try to chew it. The worst thing is they can’t tell us what’s wrong or if they’re hurting, so it is up to us to examine their symptoms and guess what’s bothering them. Deep, severe cuts will usually bleed a lot, so most owners will notice them right away. However, bruises and minor cuts are harder to notice.

What to do about it?

If there is no apparent, large wound, you will have to take a closer look at the dog’s foot. Some cuts are tiny but very irritating. The best thing to do is examine the dog’s foot in detail. Make sure you check between their toes, upper and underside of the paw, each nail, and the dew claw. It might even be a case of an ingrown or loose nail. In case of minor cuts, it’s best to clean it with a disinfectant and spray it with a liquid band-aid. In case of nail issues, it’s best to call the vet.

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3. Diseases

Unfortunately, various diseases might cause our beloved pups to chew their feet. For example, yeast infections are pretty straightforward; they are itchy, and the dog will bite the paw because of it. However, other possible diseases can cause your dog to bite their feet. For example, hormonal imbalances, like thyroid problems, might cause a dog to chew its feet. Various tumors, cysts, and autoimmune diseases can cause foot chewing. It is pretty hard to guess on your own, and the exact reason can be hard to uncover.

dog paw

What to do about it?

Other than calling your vet, there’s not much else you can do. You will probably notice the dog chews its foot, but look for other symptoms as well. Look for swelling, dietary changes, activity levels, even the smell of the paw can have a meaning. The more symptoms you notice, the easier your vet’s life will be. They will make a more accurate diagnosis and let you know the reason for foot chewing. Once you get the diagnosis, it is crucial to stick to the treatment plan. Don’t deviate from your vet’s advice, and be diligent about it.

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4. Foreign bodies

The area between the dog’s paw pads is ideal for foreign bodies to get stuck. One of the worst things that can get in there is the foxtail plant. Its specific shape allows it to go deeper, and it’s nearly impossible to pull it back out. The reason dogs may chew their feet is that something is stuck there. Even ticks love the area because it's dark, moist, and warm.

What to do about it?

Again, the best course of action is to take a closer look at your dog’s paws. Examine it in detail, and if there is a foxtail or other foreign object stuck in there, don’t try to pull it out yourself. Call your vet and schedule an appointment. If you notice a tick stuck there, pull it out. Think about using something to repel parasites from your dog’s skin. Various products can help you keep your dog free of fleas and ticks.

World Dog Finder team

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