Why Do Dogs Lick/Chew on Their Paws?

Why Do Dogs LickChew on Their Paws_

Your dog licking their paws can be a normal occurrence until you notice it becomes problematic and consistent. This could look like habitual paw-licking or chewing that causes odor, discoloration, swelling and bleeding.

As bothersome as it is for you to see any kind of incessant behavior from your furry best friend, unfortunately, it’s even more discomforting for your pet. It’s also important to understand that extreme licking or chewing could be a sign of a more serious, underlying condition.  Because of this, The Barking Lot tried to come up with a few reasons your dog might be reacting to itchy, irritated skin and what you can do to help.

Here’s why they could be licking or chewing their paws:


Your pet might be experiencing discomfort as a result of allergies to their food or environment. When they inhale or come into contact with an allergen, your dog might experience things like scabs, rashes, ear infections and itchiness. Also the proteins in certain dog foods can cause similar reactions. Talk to your vet about making changes to your dog’s diet. This could make a huge difference.

Health Conditions

Not as common as allergies, chronic health issues like tumors, cancers and interdigital cysts could also be the reason for your pet’s behavior. Autoimmune diseases can also lead to painful, itchy skin. Only a vet can diagnose serious conditions in your dog. Make an appointment right away.

Wounds and Sores

Sometimes pets get nails or other sharp objects caught in their paws resulting in puncture wounds, burns, fractured claws, and other injuries. Things like ticks, grass awns or burrs could also get stuck between their toes. An anti-inflammatory compound might help heal the wound and alleviate discomfort.

Dry Skin

As the temperature starts to drop, the cold, winter weather can cause cracking and drying of sensitive, doggy skin. One of the ways your pet might try to find relief is by licking the fur on their toes. But saliva from your pet’s mouth can actually make the area raw and sensitive over time.
Dry skin could also mean the presence of a disease. Your vet might run a few tests to determine the root of the problem. Oftentimes, a dog-friendly moisturizer can help heal dry patches of skin.

Fleas, Ticks and Other Pests

No matter where they land on your dog, these annoying little bugs lead to itchy, biting pain. If you suspect that your dog might have fleas, contact the vet right away so he or she can recommend the best treatment option for your pet.


Anxiety can cause nervous, nail-biting behavior in anyone – human and dog alike. When they’re stressed out, your pet might lick their paws in order to combat feelings of loneliness or separation. If this is the case, find a toy, doggy bed or some other way to soothe your pet and reassure them that when you leave, you’ll be back at the end of the day.


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