Somehow, your dog knows just how to worry you. Whether it’s coughing at random or limping all of a sudden, they’ll do little things that catch your attention and cause concern. One thing many dogs do which cause concern is chewing at their paws. You might even find yourself frantically Googling “dog chewing paws” to figure out what’s going on.
Is there a purpose to this chewing? What causes them to chew their paws and feet?
There are a few explanations for why your dog might be chewing. Moreover, there are helpful solutions to stop them from chewing their paw pads raw — from natural chews to medicated moisturizers.
Why is your dog chewing their paws?
Allergies and dry skin
A common cause for paw chewing is due to skin irritation. The common culprit tends to be allergies and dry skin, as both can leave your dog’s paws feeling itchy, scratchy, inflamed, and pained.
Whether it’s from household chemicals, pollen, grass, or mold, their paws can be irritated, which will lead to the chewing to attempt to alleviate it.
Anxiety and depression
Anxiety and depression aren’t just human conditions. Separation anxiety is one of the most common causes for compulsive chewing and licking, as your dog will be trying to repress their internal frustrations and worries.
It’s similar to how a person with anxiety will pull out their hair, grind their teeth, pick at their skin, or eat to reduce stress. It’s not a healthy response, but it’s a way to alleviate internal mental stress.
If your dog has never been one to lick or chew at their paws, it might be a sign that they’re in pain. Many dog owners will see this during the winter, where salt from the roads will collect in your dog’s paw pads, causing them to become scratched, dried out, and irritated. Walks in the woods can similarly lead to splinters, poison ivy, thorns, little rocks, thin sticks, and more.
But it can be more than environmental. Arthritis and hip dysplasia can be other common symptoms, where your dog will chew at their paw pads to attempt to reduce the feeling of inflammation felt in their joints.
Some dogs simply chew when they’re bored. Your best bet is to give them an outlet before they harm their paws further or turn towards your new couch.
Here’s how you can curb their chewing
- Address medical issues
If you believe the reason your dog is chewing on their paws is due to a medical issue, take them to their vet. They’ll know whether or not it’s being caused by an underlying condition.
- Bitter spray
It’s not ideal, but for some concerned dog parents, they can consider using bitter spray. This should only be used in the interim, though, not as a long-term solution to get your dog to stop chewing.