Dogs Chewing Paws and Nails? Before you can stop your dog from chewing on their paws and nails, you need to be able to figure out why they’re doing it in the first place. Are they cleaning their paws? Are they experiencing some pain or discomfort? Are they feeling anxious and trying to cope with it? While there are plenty of reasons dogs might chew on their paws and nails, there are some key factors that will allow you to figure out which one applies to your pet’s behavior. Here’s what you need to know about the most common causes and how to stop your dog from chewing their paws and nails.
5 Reasons Your Dog Licks Their Paws
Dogs groom themselves by licking their fur, but sometimes they go a step further and lick their paws. Here are five reasons your dog might be licking their paws.
- Their paw pads are itchy. Just like you, dogs can get itch relief by scratching an itch. But since they can’t reach all parts of their body, they often lick instead.
- Their nails are too long. If your dog’s nails are getting too long, they may start to curl under and irritate the skin on the top of the paw. This can cause your dog to lick or chew at the paw in an attempt to relieve the discomfort.
- They’re bored or anxious. Dogs typically lick their paws when they’re feeling anxious or stressed.
- Your dog is infested with fleas or ticks. Certain pests, like fleas and ticks, can be carriers of deadly diseases like bubonic plague and Lyme disease. The last thing you want is your dog eating these pests off their fur and licking their paws in an attempt to relieve itchiness. If you find any trace of fleas or ticks on your dog’s body, have a vet take care of it immediately!
- Your dog has a medical issue. If you notice your dog licking their paws more than usual, it’s possible they might have an underlying medical issue, such as arthritis or something more serious. Consult your vet if you think your dog is developing an excessive licking habit that lasts longer than a week or two.
4 Common Reasons Dogs Chew Their Toes
Dogs lick and chew on a lot of things, including themselves. This behavior is natural and something every dog owner and lover recognizes. There are plenty of reasons dogs might chew on their paws and nails, from healthy grooming to coping with pain, inflammation, boredom, or stress. Let’s take a look at four common reasons dogs chew their toes.
- Habit – when you stop your pup from chewing their nails, they will do it more often for a while before finally getting the message.
- Joint Pain – this is actually an issue that plagues both people and pets alike. When the joint becomes inflamed or damaged, it can be hard for animals to get comfortable in any position besides standing up straight. Dogs can’t go out in public if they’re limping around because people will think they’re injured and call animal control! Instead of walking on three legs for long periods of time, many dogs will relieve some of the discomfort by licking the affected area which includes their feet as well as other joints like hips and elbows.
- Inflammation – similar to joint pain, inflammation can cause discomfort for dogs who will lick their toes or paws in an attempt to relieve some of that pain. This is especially common for older pets as well as those who have special dietary needs, like being fed a prescription diet without enough nutritional value. If your pet is chewing on their nails because they’re trying to relieve some of that joint pain, anti-inflammatory medications may be able to provide some relief instead of cutting off the dog’s access entirely.
- Diet – many pet owners are turning towards more holistic treatments for their animals including alternative diets designed around a mix of different proteins with fewer fillers and carbohydrates than traditional options.
5 Ways to Know If your Dog Is In Pain
- Your dog is whimpering or crying more than usual.
- Your dog is licking or chewing on themselves more than normal.
- Your dog is having trouble moving around or is walking differently than usual.
- Your dog is showing a change in behavior, such as being more aggressive or withdrawn.
- Your dog’s appetite has changed or they’re eating less than normal.
6 Tips for Reducing Paw Licking and Grooming
- Dogs might lick and chew on their paws due to allergies, boredom, anxiety, or other underlying health issues. If your dog is paw licking excessively, make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out any medical problems.
- Allergies are a common reason for paw licking and chewing. If your dog is allergic to something in his environment, he may lick and chew his paws as a way of coping with the itchiness.
- Boredom can also lead to paw licking and chewing. If your dog doesn’t have enough mental stimulation, he may start licking and chewing his paws out of boredom.
- Anxiety is another common reason for paw licking and chewing.
- Your dog’s anxiety can be caused by a variety of issues, from separation anxiety to fear of loud noises or being left alone for long periods of time.
- For any health issues your dog might be dealing with, it’s best to consult a professional veterinarian first.
3 Most Effective Ways to Stop Your Dog From Biting Their Toes
Keep Their Nails Trimmed
If your dog’s nails are too long, they may start to curl under and grow into the flesh of their paw pads. This can be extremely painful, so your dog may start chewing on their feet as a way to relieve the discomfort. Keeping their nails trimmed on a regular basis will help prevent this from happening.
Use Positive Reinforcement
If your dog starts chewing on their paws, redirect their attention to something else with a treat or toy. Once they start chewing on the appropriate item, praise them lavishly. With enough positive reinforcement, they’ll learn that chewing on their paws is not acceptable behavior.
Try Natural Remedies
There are a variety of home remedies you can try in place of these more drastic options. Commercial products like bitter apple can help deter your dog from chewing on their feet, while rosemary oil and lavender spray both work well as natural pain relievers. If all else fails, talk to your vet about an anti-inflammatory medication that will help relieve your dog’s discomfort.
10 Tips For Training Your Puppy Not To Bite His/Her Feet
- Start early. The earlier you start training your puppy not to bite his or her feet, the better.
- Be consistent. If you only tell your puppy no sometimes when he or she bites his or her feet, he or she will get confused and won’t understand what you’re trying to communicate.
- Use positive reinforcement. Whenever your puppy doesn’t bite his or her feet, give him or her a treat or some other form of positive reinforcement.
- Don’t use physical punishment. Yelling at your puppy or hitting him or her will only make the problem worse and could cause your puppy to become scared of you.
- Keep your puppy’s nails trimmed. You can do this yourself or take your puppy to the groomer. Trimming their nails is an important part of teaching them not to chew on their paws because it reduces how much pain they feel from scratching themselves on things like furniture.
- Give them something else they can chew on if they need to relieve stress.
- Praise them for chewing on toys instead of their paws!
- Let them go outside whenever possible so that they can satisfy their natural urge to chew grass and dirt without hurting themselves with household items.
- Teach them where their food bowl is so that it becomes more enjoyable for them to chew on dog food instead of whatever else might be around the house that isn’t theirs!
- Teach your puppy the word no by repeating it every time he or she chews on their paws and giving them a stern look. When they stop, praise them and offer them an alternate activity to keep them entertained. Dogs are creatures of habit, so once they know what you don’t want them to do, they’ll stop doing it as soon as you show disapproval!
Dogs lick and chew on a lot of things, including themselves. This behavior is natural and something every dog owner and lover recognizes. There are plenty of reasons dogs might chew on their paws and nails, from healthy grooming to coping with pain, inflammation, or boredom. If your dog is excessively licking or chewing their paws or nails, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any medical causes. If your dog is licking or chewing due to boredom, there are a number of things you can do to help keep them entertained, like providing them with chew toys or increasing the amount of exercise they get.