You probably have seen many times a dog chewing his feet. It doesn’t look nice and it is confusing actually. Why do dogs chew their feet? There are multiple reasons why. Your dog will do this due to one reason only but multiple ones can be present (rarely). Below we are going to explain all the reasons and also give you much needed information.
Reasons Why Do Dogs Chew Their Feet
Due To Allergies
Why do dogs chew their feet? The most common answer is due to allergies. There are a few options here. Allergens will affect the dog when the seasons are changed. Pollen can be the main cause here. Mildew and mold are common as well. If your dog has been doing this all the time, food allergy is a possible explanation.
All allergens such as pollen and mildew are going to last a couple of days or a week. A food allergy will last much longer. It is hard to find which food is causing this. You will have to take him to a vet and he will use a test that lasts 12 weeks to rule out all the foods that can cause allergies.
Dogs Can Chew Their Feet Due To Diseases and Illnesses
Here we have a bit more complex part of the answer. A dog can chew his feet or better said his paws when there are tumors, cysts, pain, or conditions that affect the part of the paws between the toes. Hip dysplasia and arthritic can cause these as well. We can see that pain or any type of injury can cause this behavior also.
It is rarer but possible that a dog will do this due to hormonal imbalance. For instance, if his cortisol level is too high, he will chew his feet. Low thyroid hormone can cause the same issue.
Here we can see a lot more causes. For instance, corn can cause this behavior. It is more than just common among greyhounds. Dry skin is common during winter months and your dog will chew his paw if this is the issue. Mites, fleas, and many other parasites can cause this weird behavior.
If you are using harsh chemicals for your lawn or in the backyard, they can cause this issue. Always avoid using strong pesticides and herbicides if you have a dog.
Sadly, it is extremely difficult to determine the main cause here. It is a much better option to take your dog to a vet so he can diagnose the issue and find the main culprit and start the treatment. In most cases, the solution or treatment will be successful and he will need a couple of days to be completed.
Is Chewing The Feet Dangerous?
You may believe that the answer is no. After all, this looks like a harmless thing and there is no need to be worried. In reality, there are some issues that can make things even worse. First of all, biting and licking the foot all the time, for a long period of time can cause a lot of issues. The most common one is that the saliva will cause bacterial infection and make the skin unable to defend itself from threats.
Biting and licking the feet all the time can eventually cause acute moist dermatitis or lick granulomas. Both of these are treatable but they will require proper treatment and a lot of time to become things from the past. Many other issues and complications are common as well.
A dog gets short-term relief when he does this. He feels better and he likes it. As such, he will do it as many times as he can. Yes, this is obvious for some of you and there is no need to explain it even more. But, in the long term, this behavior is not ideal and can be dangerous.
Things You Can Do
If your dog licks and bites his feet all the time, you will have to start with simple things. Wash his feet all the time. Use preventative medications and ampules for fleas and parasites. Grooming is mandatory as well, so use it.
Other things you have to do are obvious as well. You will have to provide a lot of physical activity to your dog. Allow him to walk and run as much as he likes. A proper diet is mandatory as well. All dogs depending on their size and breed have different and specific requirements. Make sure that your dog gets what he needs. If nothing works, take him to a vet.
Chewing and Licking Feet Is Not The Same Thing
Here we must add that chewing his feet and licking his feet is far from the same thing. You can see that these two are different behaviors and as such, they can tell you different things. Now you know why a dog will chew his feet. But, he will lick his feet when he is under stress, when he is bored or when he is anxious.
You will have to tell the difference first. Luckily these two are not the same thing. If a dog chews his feet he will push as much of the foot into the mouth. Licking is different. He will just use his tongue to lick a part of the foot. This is more common behavior when there is a small wound or an issue affecting the toes or the part of the foot.
It is possible that there are no real issues if your dog licks his foot. In that case scenario, you will have to get help from an animal behaviorist. It means that the issue is in the brain and the behavior deserves attention.
The Final Word
Sadly, we can see that chewing his feet is never a good sign. Usually or better said in 99% of cases there is an issue that is causing the behavior. Why do dogs chew their feet? They are trying to solve something which is usually pain or discomfort. As such, help from a vet is mandatory and usually, treatment is as well.
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