Why Do Dogs Chew on Their Feet?

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Dogs Chew On Their FeetIf you’ve ever noticed your dog licking its paws, it might be because it wants to remove debris, scratch an itch, or it might be because of boredom. While chewing on your dog’s paws can be considered normal behavior, excessive paw chewing can be a source of concern that there’s a serious underlying cause. As such, it’s important to find out what’s causing this behavior; in this article, we discuss answers to the question, “Why do dogs chew on their feet?”      

Why Do Dogs Chew on Their Feet? 

There are a variety of reasons why dogs engage in constant licking and chewing of their paws and feet. But there is good news; there usually isn’t anything to worry about if you see your dog biting or licking its paws. Dogs may be trying to take away a foreign object, provide relief for itchy skin, lick on leftover dog’s food, or they’re simply grooming.   

While these will explain a few reasons why dogs participate in excessive licking, below are the most common reasons that may point to why your dog’s paws are always at the center of attention.   


An allergic reaction from environmental allergens or food allergies is among the most common causes of why you see more attention given to your dog’s feet. Much like humans, a dog’s allergies will become triggered as a result of a food allergy, seasonal allergies, or environmental allergies. If you’re unsure of what your dog is allergic to, consider getting allergy testing for your pup; you’ll be able to tell if your dog is having an allergic reaction through red eyes and nose along with itching around the ears, abdomen, and mouth.   


This allergic skin disease causes skin infections on dog’s skin that can lead to dry skin, itchy paws, skin irritation, or hot spots. Unfortunately, itching can be extremely uncomfortable for dogs no matter where it’s located. But when it occurs on your dog’s front paws, it can affect your dog’s quality of life, impacting their rest and appetite.     


Sometimes, when a dog keeps scratching or biting its paws it’s the result of an injury. For instance, they might be trying to treat an open wound or small cuts or they could be trying to get rid of sharp objects stuck under their paw pads. It may be a good idea for you to check their paws to look for possible causes of injury.  

Internal Pain

While it rarely happens, paw-chewing behavior could signal a more serious health problem. If your dog has strained a muscle, fractured a bone in its foot, or developed early signs of arthritis, it may chew on the affected paw. The first thing you should do if you see these symptoms is to take your canine to the vet to get the appropriate treatment for their medical problem.    


Fleas are parasites that live around wooded and brushy areas; they can burrow into your dog’s toes, where flea bites may result in your dog licking the affected area. Once you can confirm a flea infestation, the first step to get rid of it is to bathe your pet using soap and warm water. Placing a barrier between your pet and fleas is the best way to keep your dogs away from a full-blown invasion from these parasites.    


Chewing and biting can sometimes be signs of infection in dogs; these can be a yeast infection, fungal infection, or even bacterial infections. Depending on the root cause of their medical issue, you may need to provide oral medications, antibiotic ointment, or antibacterial soaks for your furry friend to clear the cause of your dog’s behavioral issue. If your dog gets secondary infections, be sure to get your vet’s help to give your dog the treatment it needs.   


Just like their pet parents, dogs can also experience anxiety and stress; when your dog chews on its feet, it shows a common behavior related to chronic anxiety. One explanation for this is separation anxiety, which occurs when you leave your dog alone for long periods of time. You can help your pooch through these kinds of health issues by working with an animal behaviorist who can evaluate whether your dog has anxiety or not.    


This is another reason why your dog bites itself but it’s not always obvious, so you may need to keep a close eye on your pet to see if it does so out of boredom. When your dog lacks physical stimulation, the repetitive motion of licking its own skin and paws can be soothing. However, this may lead to hair loss, as well as a raised area on the dog’s skin, known as lick granulomas. 

How to Stop Your Dog’s Paw Chewing

Unfortunately, in some cases, pet owners may find it difficult to get their dogs to stop chewing on their feet, and can get even harder when it’s from serious causes. Below are the treatments for the causes discussed above that you can turn to if you can’t get quick access to a vet. 

  • Allergies: If your dog is chewing its feet as a result of allergies, you can either avoid the allergen that triggers its reaction or you can use allergy treatments. However, environmental allergens will often lead to chronic allergies and will need regular medications, especially during the high-allergy season. When it comes to food allergies, you can use a different diet to rule out what your dog is allergic to or you can do a food trial with specifically formulated food. 
  • Injury: If you notice that your dog is injured, be sure to treat it directly and quickly. You can do so by cleaning their wound using saline solution or water, soap, and iodine or chlorhexidine, then cover it with a clean cloth or bandage. You should also remember that your dog might need a cone to stop it from chewing or picking on the injury. 
  • Dermatitis: If your dog suffers from a particular skin condition, it may need topical treatments, oral antibiotics, paw soaks, oral anti-allergy medications, or an anti-allergy injection to help manage its symptoms.   
  • Infections: When it comes to infections, medication is the best way to treat your dog; your veterinarian will know whether its treatment will need oral or topical antibiotics.
  • Anxiety: As discussed above, this mental condition can cause dogs to chew their paws impulsively. If this is the case, be sure to get the right kind of anxiety treatment to give your dog relief from its symptoms. Medication, along with behavioral modification training can effectively help it manage and treat its anxious mind. 
  • Boredom: Synotic with Banamine is a prescription medication used to treat lick granulomas in dogs. This is an anti-inflammatory lotion that works well against lesions that are developed as a result of repeated licking around the same area, which is often on the wrist. To ensure that your dog doesn’t get bored at home, be sure to give it plenty of physical activity and play with it as much as possible; you can also give it plenty of challenging toys that will stimulate it mentally and physically.  

Regularly Check Your Dog’s Paws

Making a habit out of looking through your dog’s feet will help you identify any problems early on so you can easily correct them. Ensure that you check the bottom and top of its paws, as well as your dog’s nails, toes, toe pads, and in between every paw. Look for signs of irritation, injury, small objects, or other abnormalities. 

Since there are many different reasons why your dog chews on its paws, providing the right kind of treatment on time is crucial. 

When is it Time to Go to Your Vet? 

Most of the time, it’s enough to keep an eye on your dog to see what’s causing its paw-chewing tendencies. But whether it’s caused by something small like a splinter or by serious medical conditions, it’s imperative that you give your pooch medical attention quickly. The most obvious signs that will tell you when it’s time to go to your vet are constant paw biting and inflamed or red feet. 

Either way, there will be an underlying cause that’s putting your dog in danger. For instance, if your dog has food allergies, you’ll need to give them treatment right away since this condition can become serious if your dog is further exposed. In the same way, wounds, infections, and parasites can also be concerning if you don’t take them to a vet right away. 


Medical issues call for medical answers, so be sure to get the help you need when you notice that your dog is chewing on its feet too much. Be sure to observe your pet and get help from your veterinarian if you’re unable to treat your dog on your own. Depending on the cause of your dog’s chewing, there are a few treatments that you can try to ensure that your dog will be happy and healthy again.