If you’ve noticed your dog chewing on their paw, you’re not alone! It’s a common behaviour among dogs, and while it’s not necessarily a cause for concern, it’s important to understand why your dog is doing it and what you can do to help.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the possible reasons why your dog is chewing their paw and provide some advice for dog owners.
Possible Causes of Paw Chewing
There are a number of reasons why dogs might chew on their paws, ranging from minor irritation to more serious medical issues. Some of the most common causes of paw chewing include:
Allergies are a common cause of paw chewing in dogs. Environmental allergens like pollen, dust, and mould can cause irritation and itchiness in your dog’s paws, leading to excessive licking and chewing.
Parasites like fleas and ticks can also cause irritation and itching in your dog’s paws, leading to excessive chewing and licking.
Skin infections like yeast or bacterial infections can also cause your dog’s paws to become itchy and irritated, leading to paw chewing.
Anxiety or boredom
Sometimes, paw chewing can be a sign of anxiety or boredom. If your dog is feeling stressed or anxious, they may chew on their paws as a way to cope. Similarly, if your dog is bored or not getting enough exercise, they may turn to paw chewing as a way to pass the time.
In some cases, paw chewing can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as arthritis, nerve damage, or even cancer.
Solutions for Paw Chewing
Once you’ve identified the cause of your dog’s paw chewing, you can take steps to address the underlying issue and help your dog find relief. Here are some possible solutions for paw chewing:
- Address allergies
If your dog’s paw chewing is caused by allergies, you can work with your veterinarian to identify the allergen and develop a treatment plan. This might include allergy medication, changes to your dog’s diet, or other treatments.
- Eliminate parasites
If your dog’s paw chewing is caused by parasites like fleas or ticks, you can treat the infestation with medication or other methods. Make sure to also treat your home and yard to prevent future infestations.
- Treat skin infections
If your dog has a skin infection, your veterinarian can prescribe medication to treat the infection and relieve your dog’s itching and discomfort.
- Address anxiety or boredom
If your dog’s paw chewing is caused by anxiety or boredom, you can take steps to address the underlying issue. This might include increasing your dog’s exercise, providing mental stimulation through toys and puzzles, or working with a trainer to help your dog learn coping mechanisms for stress. Another way to help address anxiety and boredom in dogs is to use the GoWalkies app to find a professional dog walker or dog trainer in your area. Dog walkers and professional trainers can provide your furry friend with the exercise and socialisation they need to stay happy and healthy, even when you’re busy or unable to provide the attention they need. By using GoWalkies, you can find a trusted, reliable dog walker who can help keep your dog active and engaged, reducing the likelihood of paw chewing and other destructive behaviours. With the right support and care, you can help your dog overcome anxiety and boredom, and enjoy a happy, healthy life.
- Seek medical attention
If your dog’s paw chewing is caused by an underlying medical condition, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your veterinarian can diagnose the issue and recommend appropriate treatment.
- Preventing Paw Chewing. While it’s not always possible to prevent paw chewing, there are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of this behaviour. Here are some tips for preventing paw chewing in dogs:
- Keep your dog’s paws clean and dry
Wash your dog’s paws regularly with a mild soap and water, and dry them thoroughly afterward. This can help reduce the likelihood of infections and irritation.
- Trim your dog’s nails.
Long nails can cause discomfort and irritation in your dog’s paws, leading to excessive paw chewing. Make sure to trim your dog’s nails regularly to prevent this.
- Provide mental and physical stimulation.
Dogs that are bored or not getting enough exercise are more likely to engage in paw chewing. Make sure to provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation for your dog, including regular walks, playtime, and training sessions.
- Keep your home and yard free of parasites.
Fleas, ticks, and other parasites can cause irritation and itchiness in your dog’s paws, leading to excessive paw chewing. Make sure to treat your home and yard regularly to prevent infestations.
- Address stress and anxiety.
If your dog is feeling stressed or anxious, they may turn to paw chewing as a way to cope. Make sure to address the underlying cause of your dog’s anxiety, whether it’s separation anxiety, fear of loud noises, or other triggers.
Grass seeds can also be a cause of paw chewing in dogs.
The seeds can become lodged in between a dog’s toes, causing irritation and discomfort. This can lead to excessive paw licking and chewing as your dog tries to relieve the discomfort.
To prevent grass seed-related paw chewing, make sure to check your dog’s paws after every walk, especially during the summer months when grass seeds are more common. Look for signs of irritation or redness, and remove any seeds or debris that you find. You may also want to consider using a protective paw wax or booties to prevent grass seeds from becoming embedded in your dog’s paws.
Additionally, GoWalkies app can help in this scenario too. By booking a dog walker through the app, you can ensure that your dog is taken on a safe and appropriate walking route that minimises their exposure to grass seeds and other potential hazards. A professional dog walker can also help monitor your dog’s paws for signs of irritation and remove any seeds or debris before they cause significant discomfort or lead to paw chewing. By taking these steps, you can help your dog stay comfortable, healthy, and free of grass seed-related paw chewing.
Paw chewing is a common behaviour among dogs, and while it’s not always a cause for concern, it’s important to understand why your dog is doing it and what you can do to help. By identifying the underlying cause of your dog’s paw chewing and taking steps to address it, you can help your dog find relief and prevent future paw chewing. With the right care and attention, you can keep your furry friend happy, healthy, and free of paw-related issues.