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Why Do Dogs Chew Their Paws? Causes and Solutions

April 30, 2023
Why Do Dogs Chew Their Paws? Causes and Solutions

Have you ever caught your furry friend gnawing on their paws and wondered why on earth they're doing it? You're not alone! This common behavior can be both perplexing and concerning for dog owners. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the many reasons dogs chew their paws, and offer practical solutions to help your canine companion kick this habit. Let's dive in and explore the world of "dog chewing paws!”


Yes, you heard that right! Just like us mere mortals, our canine comrades can also fall victim to the sneaky, invisible forces of allergens. Pollen, dust mites, and certain foods can wreak havoc on your dog's immune system, transforming them into paw-gnawing machines! 

Enter the itchy, red world of contact dermatitis! Environmental allergens can leave your dog's skin crying out for relief, and what better way than to chew their paws into submission?  Food allergies, too, can cast their itchy spell, manifesting as skin irritation that demands the attention of those chompers! 

Fear not, fellow dog enthusiasts, for there is hope! The secret to unlocking your pup's comfort lies in identifying and eliminating the sinister allergen. You may ask the vet for some benadryl. You'll be their hero, and they'll be forever grateful, wagging their tails in sheer delight!


Attention, dog aficionados! Prepare to embark on a thrilling journey into the world of tiny, itchy invaders: Parasites! 

These minuscule mischief-makers, like fleas and ticks, are on a relentless quest to torment your precious pup with unbearable itchiness and irritation. And guess what? They've got their sights set on the areas with less fur – like your dog's vulnerable paws! 

Beware, for these tiny troublemakers are no match for a diligent dog owner! With regular check-ups and mighty weapons like flea and tick treatments, you can shield your furry friend from these annoying adversaries. 

But if your canine companion has fallen prey to these pesky parasites, fear not! Seek the wisdom of your trusted veterinarian, and together, you'll embark on a quest to vanquish these unwelcome guests and restore your dog's comfort and happiness! 

Dry Skin

Dry skin is wreaking havoc on our furry friends, leaving them with a gnawing urge to chew on their paws. What's the culprit? Think cold weather, indoor heating, and those pesky harsh soaps teaming up to create a dry, itchy nightmare for our pups.

But fear not! There's hope for those scratch-happy canines. Start by embracing gentle, ultra-moisturizing shampoos during bath time, and keep those baths to a minimum to preserve those natural skin oils. Still on the lookout for a solution? Turn to your trusty vet, who might recommend supplements like omega-3 fatty acids to give your dog's skin health the boost it needs.

Together, we can conquer dry skin and put an end to our pups' paw-chewing days!

Pain or Injury

Our precious pups sometimes face the tough challenge of paw pain or injury. Broken nails, cuts, or even pesky splinters can be the sneaky villains causing unbearable discomfort and turning our fur babies into relentless paw chewers.

Have no fear, though! We can help our canine companions fight off these painful invaders. If you see your dog favoring a particular paw, it's time for some detective work. Inspect that paw with care, searching for any signs of injury. If it's a minor scrape or boo-boo, you've got the power to clean and treat it right at home!

But wait! If you're uncertain about the severity of the injury or if that pesky wound isn't showing signs of improvement, it's time to call in the professionals. Consult your trusted veterinarian for the top-notch care your furry friend deserves. Together, we'll keep those paws healthy and pain-free!


dog bored

Dogs need mental stimulation and physical exercise to stay happy and healthy. Without these, they can become bored, which may lead to destructive behaviors, including chewing their paws.

To keep your dog entertained, provide them with a variety of toys and activities, such as puzzle toys, chew toys, or interactive playtime with you. Regular walks and exercise can also help to alleviate boredom and reduce unwanted behaviors.

Anxiety or Stress

Just like us, our canine companions can experience the whirlwind of emotions that come with anxiety and stress. Can you believe it? Chewing on their paws might be their way of coping, not so different from our own nail-biting habits.

But wait! Don't lose hope. We can help our furry friends navigate through their stress. Common stressors like separation anxiety, pesky changes in routine, and those booming loud noises can leave our pups feeling frazzled. It's our mission to identify and tackle the root of their anxiety to create a calmer, happier environment for our beloved dogs.

In some cases, though, we might need to call in the big guns: professional help from a veterinarian or a certified dog behaviorist! With their expertise, we can work hand-in-paw to help our canine pals overcome anxiety and live their best, stress-free lives. You can also try calming treats to help them relax. Let's do this!

Habit or Compulsion

In some cases, paw chewing can become a habit or even a compulsive behavior. This can develop if the initial cause of paw chewing, such as pain or allergies, isn't addressed promptly.

Breaking this cycle can be challenging, but with patience and consistency, it's possible. Positive reinforcement, redirection, and potentially even professional help from a dog behaviorist can help your dog overcome this habit.

Fungal or Bacterial Infections

Your pup's paws could be under attack from pesky fungal or bacterial infections like yeast infections. These microscopic troublemakers cause itchiness and discomfort, turning your dog into a paw-chewing machine.

Why the paws, you ask? Moisture and warmth create the perfect playground for these infections to flourish, making your dog's paws a prime target. But fear not, we've got a plan!

If you suspect an unwelcome infection, it's time to team up with your veterinarian. They'll swoop in with a proper diagnosis and treatment plan to send those nasty invaders packing. Want to stop future infections in their tracks? Keep your dog's paws spick and span, clean and dry – the ultimate secret weapon!

Together, we can protect our pups' paws and keep them itch-free, one step at a time!

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease, can cause skin issues and itchiness, leading your dog to chew their paws.

If you suspect a hormonal issue, consult with your veterinarian. They can run diagnostic tests and provide appropriate treatments to help balance your dog's hormones and alleviate their discomfort.

Foreign Objects

Our dog's paws might be under siege from tiny invaders like grass seeds or burrs. These minuscule trespassers can get lodged in our pup's paws, causing a world of irritation and discomfort.

But don't worry, we've got this! Regularly checking and cleaning your dog's paws can save the day, preventing these pesky problems before they start. If you spot one of those unwelcome foreign objects, it's time to swoop in for the rescue.

Carefully wield those tweezers or your trusty fingers to remove the intruder, and clean the affected area like a true paw guardian. If, however, you're unable to remove it or the irritation just won't quit, call in the cavalry – your veterinarian is here to help!

Together, we'll keep our pups' paws free from foreign foes and irritation-free!

Nail Issues

Our pups' nails might be causing a ruckus, with overgrown or ingrown nails creating pain and discomfort that leads them to chew their paws. But fear not, we've got the perfect solution!

Regular nail trims are here to save the day, helping to prevent these troublesome issues from taking hold. But wait, what if you're not quite sure how to trim those nails like a pro? No worries!

It's time to call in the experts: your veterinarian or a professional groomer. They'll swoop in with their nail-trimming prowess, ensuring your dog's nails are in tip-top shape. And if you notice a nail issue that needs some extra TLC, they've got your back!

So let's gear up and tackle those nail troubles, keeping our pups' paws happy and pain-free!

Monitoring and Prevention

dog paw

It's time to become paw-specting superheroes, regularly checking our dogs' paws and keeping a keen eye on their behavior. Identifying potential issues early on is our superpower, allowing us to tackle problems before they escalate!

What's our secret weapon, you ask? Keeping our dogs' paws clean and dry, dishing up proper nutrition, and making sure they get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. This powerful combo can help prevent a multitude of paw-chewing issues.

So let's roll up our sleeves and embrace our roles as guardians of our pups' paws! Together, we'll ensure our furry friends stay healthy, happy, and free from the paw-chewing blues!

When to See a Veterinarian

If you're unsure about the cause of your dog's paw chewing or if you've tried various solutions with no success, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian. They can help diagnose the underlying issue and provide appropriate treatment options.

Patience and Consistency

Addressing your dog's paw chewing may take time and patience, especially if it's become a habit. Consistently applying the suggested solutions and working closely with your veterinarian can help your dog overcome this behavior and improve their overall well-being.

Take Home Message

Understanding the various causes of "dog chewing paws" can help you identify and address the issue effectively. With patience, consistency, and a proactive approach, you can help your canine companion overcome this behavior and enjoy a happier, healthier life. Remember, when in doubt, always consult with your veterinarian for the best course of action. Happy paw-chewing-free days ahead!

* All the information and content in this blog post are intended for informational purposes only. It should not be a substitute for professional or medical advice. You should always speak with a licensed professional before you follow anything you read in this blog post.

The information is provided by By Hilda Wong. While we try to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the post for any purpose.

Dr. Hilda Wong, MD

My name is Dr. Hilda Wong, MD, graduated from Avalon University School of Medicine. I have over 5 years of medical externship experience and a published researcher on PubMed. I'm also a health and nutrition enthusiast and have written several blogs and magazines in these areas. Forgot to mention that I own a Toy Australian Shepherd and a Betta Fish, and have an amazing zest for life, fashion, health, nutrition, and pets.

Dr. Hilda Wong, MD