Why Do Dogs Chew Their Feet?


Dog chewing its feet

Most dogs have this habit of chewing on their feet and licking their paws. They do that after a cool, doggy bath or a swim. And they would lick their paws after a good meal or treat. Also, pups and adult dogs alike chew their feet when they’re bored or just relaxing down the carpet. So why do dogs chew their feet anyway? Here we talk about this amusing habit these furry pets of ours have.

Your Dog Knows How to Clean Up by Chewing Its Feet

Yes, part of a dog’s grooming habit is to chew its feet. It will lick its paws and munch on it a bit. Because it is how your pup removes debris, dirt, and food crumbs from its paws. Once your dog is satisfied with the cleanliness of its paws, it may use its paws to clean its face and head next. Isn’t it amusing to watch your pet do that?

Puppy chewing its feet
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Your Dog Reacts to Allergic Reactions by Chewing Its Feet

Allergies are conditions you should watch out for in your dog. And one of the signs is persistent licking and chewing of its feet. Investigate the matter when you see your dog becoming uncomfortable or irritable. It may also whine or make sounds to indicate that it’s experiencing an allergic reaction.

What triggers allergies in dogs? Here are some causes:

  • Pollens
  • Dirt
  • Lawn chemicals
  • Shampoo or soap products
  • Household cleaners
  • Food.

Try to isolate and identify the cause. And scrap that brand or product from your supplies. Find alternatives that are dog-friendly and safe to keep around the house. If it’s pollen, let your dog stay indoors most of the time. Wait for the season to pass before you go out and do nature walks or strolls in the neighborhood or nearby park.

Skin Dryness Can Cause Your Dog to Chew Its Feet

If it’s not allergens, your puppy may be experiencing dryness of the skin. Normally, dogs will produce body oils. These keep their coat and skin hydrated and protected. But changes in the weather can mess with their body system. Summer may definitely cause skin dryness in dogs.  And if you live in naturally hot areas, your dog may have even drier skin.

When your dog’s skin dries up, it knows to use mouth to massage and wet the dry areas. That includes the feet and even the rest of the body it can reach and lick. Help your dog manage skin dryness by offering some water often. Give it ice cubes to cool itself.

Also, you can use natural body oils like coconut oil. It’s safe, so your dog can lick it without worry. Do check recommendations on dog-specific body oil products. And apply enough amounts, not too little nor too much. You may also look for other natural home remedies to manage skin dryness.

Flea Bites May Cause Your Pet to Chew Its Feet

Fleas are annoying. You see how your dog reacts to flea bites, right? It’s not a pretty sight to look at. Your pet squirms and growls. It even cries when its body is infested with fleas. Fleas bite hard and they cause flaky skin.

Ask your veterinarian for help in managing this problem. You may be given some heavy medicines to eradicate a flea infestation. For light problems or for prevention, you can check over-the-counter products at the pet store. There are collars, tablets, some stick-ons, and sprays. Use any of these on your dog so that it stays comfortable and flea-free.

Dog chewing its paws
Getty Images

Too Much Bathing Can Make Your Dog Chew Its Feet

Did you know that it’s not good to bathe your canine pet too often? And even so, if you use products that are not primarily for canines. When you over bathe your dog, its coat and skin lose body oils at a faster rate. And so, it becomes dry and itchy. And your dog will likely start scratching, licking, and chewing its feet.

Remedy this by spacing its bathing days. Sometimes, you may need to apply some oil after a bath, especially when it’s suffering from skin dryness at that moment. Also, switch to dog formulas for its shampoo or soap.

Cuts or Stuck Objects May Cause Your Dog to Chew Its Feet

Check on your dog’s paws for any cut or debris that may have been stuck in them. Your dog might be in a bit of pain or some level of discomfort. Stretch the toes out gently and see if there’s broken glass, wood, sharp twigs, or even leaves in them. See if there’s a cut you need to tend to.

Dog licking its paw

Anxiety Can Cause Your Pet Dog to Chew Its Feet

Sometimes, your dog doesn’t know how to handle its anxiety or fear. And so it may resort to chewing its feet. This can happen the first time you have to go away. You may be gone for just a whole day or some days. But your dog may feel very anxious about its first experience to be separated from you.

A death in the family may also cause anxious feelings in your dog. It may be a fellow pet or some human close to it. In all these unfortunate situations, remember to be there for your dog. You may have to stay by it more for some days. You may even have to allow it to sleep in your room or bed.

If you need to be away for some days, do your best to leave your dog with a loved one or close friend who knows it. And try to give your pet a call so it can hear your voice at least.

Final Thoughts

Your pet dog chews its feet for a number of reasons. As a responsible pet owner, you should be careful to diagnose what the cause is and deal with it accordingly. For underlying health problems, seek the help of a veterinarian so that the medical condition can find proper treatment. That way, your dog can stay healthy and happy.


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