Why Dogs Lick And Chew Their Paws?

It’s not unusual for a pet owner to see their furry friend lick or chew their paws occasionally. While this is an instinct for dogs to groom themselves, there are a variety of potential explanations behind this behavior.

Dogs love to chew and lick anything they can get their paws on, and sometimes, this includes licking and chewing on their own paws. Though this is a common behavior seen in many dogs, excessive licking and chewing can be a sign of an underlying issue.

In some severe cases, intense licking could leave some side effects in dogs, including discoloration, odour, swelling, or even bleeding, which require a veterinarian’s assistance at the earliest.

Let’s see why dogs might begin licking or chewing on their paws.

Why Dogs Lick And Chew Their Paws?

Dogs Lick And Chew Their Paws

Allergies 

Allergies are among the most common reasons for excessive paw licking and chewing in dogs. They can develop allergies due to various environmental factors, such as pollen, dust mites, or specific proteins found in everyday dog food. When dogs come into contact with these allergens, their paws can become itchy and irritated, causing them to bite, chew, and lick at their paws frequently and repeatedly.

Anxiety or Boredom 

Anxiety and boredom commonly cause dogs to keep licking or chewing their paws. For instance, anxiety in dogs can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as separation from their owners, loud noises (such as thunderstorms or fireworks), changes in their environment, or past traumatic experiences. Also, there are times when they become bored when they lack mental and physical stimulation. They resort to licking or chewing their paws to take their mind off whatever they face.

Injury

At times, dogs get cuts or scratches on their legs or punctures in their paw pads. In such instances, they may chew their feet to remove a foreign object like a thorn or soothe an injured toe. They also lick their paws to deal with any pain they are experiencing and help healing happen.

Parasites

Fleas, Ticks, and other pesky things are common external parasites that can infest dogs, causing discomfort and annoying itching pain. This can cause them to itch or chew on their paws, legs, or ears, depending on the location of the parasite.

Cracked, Itchy Skin

Just like humans, dogs can experience dry skin that cracks and itches, particularly on their paw pads during the dry winter weather. This condition can lead to discomfort, making them lick the affected areas with their saliva to moisturize and relieve the dryness.

When To Be Concerned

As mentioned earlier, while occasional paw licking and chewing are generally expected, monitoring your dog’s behavior is essential. If you notice any of the following signs, you should seek an appointment with your veterinarian:

  • Excessive, persistent paw licking and chewing
  • Redness, swelling, sores, or signs of infection on the paws
  • Hair loss in the paw pads
  • Signs of discomfort or pain when walking
  • Behavioral changes or symptoms of anxiety

Conclusion

As a pet owner, it is essential to pay attention and understand why your furry friend is licking and chewing their paws, as it could be a sign of an underlying issue, such as allergies, infections, stress, pain, etc.

If you are concerned about your dog’s paw licking and chewing behavior, it is always advisable to seek professional advice to determine the root cause and provide your furry friend with the best care possible to keep them happy and healthy.

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