Has your dog been chewing his paw a lot lately? Does it seem to be more than usual, or more than is normal for most dogs? If so, there may be an underlying condition causing this problem. Although most of the causes of dogs chewing their feet are not too serious or life-threatening, it’s still important for the overall health of your furry family member to find out what the issue is and figure out the best way to treat it.
Reasons Why Dogs Chew on Their Paws in Matthews, NC
In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the most common causes of dogs chewing their paws too much. You’ll be able to narrow down the possibilities and figure out which problem you think is occurring with your dog. This information can also help you know how to approach the subject with your veterinarian in Matthews, NC at your dog’s next visit.
Below are some potential reasons why your dog is chewing on its paw:
Some dogs develop skin allergies when they come into contact with irritants. These irritants include pollen and oils from plants outside, dander from other pets, household cleaners, and chemical treatments that may be used on the lawn, to name a few. While some dogs may never become allergic to any of these substances at all, skin allergy is more common than you might realize in dogs, too.
Your vet can examine the areas where your dog is chewing most frequently and determine whether or not the problem is a skin allergy. If so, your dog may need medication to help reduce the swelling, irritation, and itching causing your dog to chew so much. He may also need topical treatment for dog allergies to ease these conditions as well.
You may also need to give your dog regular allergy medication for this problem as well. If your dog suffers from seasonal allergies, your vet will give you more information about how to treat him moving forward.
Dogs who have food allergies often develop skin problems, and particularly have frequent itching of the legs and feet. When your dog chews his paws, he may be doing so because they’re itchy and he’s trying to scratch them. If this is the case, then he may have a food allergy.
Your veterinarian in Matthews can give you more information about the potential of food allergy in your dog. If you think this is a real possibility, you may need to try your dog on several types of food or go for a medicated food choice instead to relieve the problem.
In the meantime, the vet will likely give you a topical treatment for your dog’s feet to help cut down on the itching. You may also need to give your dog an oatmeal bath for the same reason.
Do you give your dog enough time to play outside each day? Do you take him for enough walks? Is he getting plenty of exercise for his age, breed, and size?
Dogs get bored easily just like humans do, and they look for ways to deal with their boredom. Since they can’t fidget in other ways, they sometimes look to chewing their paws instead.
If you think your dog may be bored, play with him more often during the day. Make sure he gets enough time to run and play with toys, and try teaching him tricks as well.
Anxiety is another potential reason why your dog is chewing on its paws. Chewing on feet and toenails can sometimes be a dog version of a human biting their fingernails. If your dog shows other signs of anxiety over certain situations, people, or experiences, then he may be chewing his paws because of anxiety.
Separation anxiety is a common cause of paw chewing in dogs. If possible, try setting up a camera or some other way to check on your dog while you’re not in the house. Does he immediately start chewing his feet when you leave? If so, separation anxiety may be the culprit.
Lack of Appropriate Toys
If your dog is chewing on his feet, he may simply not have the right kinds of toys to chew on instead. Take stock of what he’s got that he is safely allowed to chew on.
Does he have access to a chew toy at least part of every day? Are the toys the right softness or hardness for his needs? Are they the right size for him?
If necessary, buy your dog a few new chew toys and give him several hours of supervised play with them every day. This may help alleviate his paw chewing over time.
Hot spots are large, red sores that develop on a dog’s skin. These sores occur because too much moisture remains near the dog’s skin for too long and causes a buildup of bacteria or fungus. Unfortunately, the sores then cause your dog to lick his skin more often, which makes them last even longer.
If your dog has hot spots, your veterinarian in Matthews can give you some topical treatments that can take care of the problem. Some dogs may need to wear a cone collar for a few days while the hot spots clear up in order to prevent them from chewing on their paws even more.
See a Vet if Your Dog’s Chewing Its Paw in Matthews, NC
Remember that this is not an exhaustive list; there may be other problems that could contribute to your dog chewing its paws as well. However, these are the most common issues that cause this problem, and they’re the most likely explanations for your dog’s behavior as well.
Armed with this information, you can bring up the problem with your vet in Matthews at your dog’s next visit. If you think the problem can’t wait, go ahead and schedule a vet visit sooner rather than later so your dog can start healing soon. You know your dog best, so try to gauge how much distress he is in to determine whether or not the issue can wait for your next regular vet visit or needs attention in a more timely fashion instead.
At Caring Hearts Animal Hospital, we work to find the underlying cause for why your dog keeps chewing its paws and develop the best treatment plan for your pet. Whether it’s because of allergies or another cause, Dr. Laura Morefield and Dr. Lorie White make sure your pet gets the care they need.