5 Reasons Why Your Dog Licks and Chews His Feet

Has your dog been licking and biting their feet of late? There may be several reasons causing the behavior.

The act looks very simple and quite common at times, and we even overlook it. Well, the dog may be trying to communicate about an underlying issue.

Being raised, we have often looked at the act as some form of grooming, well, most probably because we see the cats doing a lot of licking. Your dog may be in a state of discomfort or pain, which brings about the chewing. We tend to get worried when the chewing starts, and at times, it may be a bit late.

There are several remedial steps you can take, including seeking a veterinarian for advice if the condition is a health issue.

It is possible to take action if and when you have the right information and knowledge concerning the reasons for the behavior. We highlight the potential and most likely reasons why your dog licks and chews its feet.

Your dog is suffering from dermatitis (Dry skin)

The weather may have an impact on your dog’s skin. When you live in climatic conditions or seasons like the winter weather, your skin may dry up. The same reason may also cause your dog to develop dry skin, causing it to lick and bite.

The dog may not be getting enough fatty acids needed in its body. The effect of lacking fatty acids in the dog leads to dry skin, causing it to scratch and bite itself. The fatty acids provide the necessary nutrients which help the skin to remain moisturized and protected.

If you happen to see the presence of flakes on the skin of your dog, they may be scratching and biting due to irritation. The other sign is reddish skin or, at times, having a bumpy texture. When you wash your dog, do not over bath them.

The type of soap you use may contain harsh chemical components. Over-bathing the dog and using soap with harsh chemicals rids their skin or essential natural oils.

Hormonal imbalance

Hormonal imbalance in dogs may not be easy to know, especially if you are not a veterinarian.

Hyperthyroidism, which is the production of too much thyroid hormones, and hypothyroidism (production of too little), can cause your dog to scratch, bite and lick itself. The two conditions may lead to hair thinning and eventual loss.

Lick granulomas result from your dog over licking the exposed parts of its skin. They can grow large and result in open wounds. The dog worsens the injuries by continually licking it, making it even worse.

It is essential to seek a veterinarian and always ensure the lick granuloma is covered.


Fleas, ticks, and parasites like mites are a well-known cause of licking or paw chewing in dogs. The only way the dog knows how to deal with these parasites is to nibble on the area infected. The problem with these parasites is their size, an example being fleas and mites.

The mites are microscopic while the fleas are so small, hence will have to multiply to a significant number before you can see them. So, just because you do not see the parasites does not mean they are absent.

The dog may be allergic to ticks and fleas. The effect of the parasites biting the dog is a mediated response causing it to have an itchy feeling. The dog may first lick or scratch the affected area in the hope of removing the parasites and soothe the affected area.

One of the remedies to the problem is to purchase a flea and tick repellent for the dog. It is also good to get personally involved in the hygiene of your dog, including washing and grooming.

It will enable you to notice some of the parasites early enough. You can also purchase a flea comb to use in checking the fur of your dog.

The dog has an allergy

Allergic reactions in dogs are by far one of the most common causes of licking paws. Some are allergic to certain chemicals, foods, pesticides, and plants. There are situations where your dog only experiences the biting and scratching, maybe after a walk or a given exercise.

Washing the dog’s feet eliminates the cause of irritation. When your dog excessively licks the feet regularly, it may also mean it has a food allergy or intolerance. Most dogs are allergic to foods containing grains.

Visiting a veterinarian may help salvage the situation. Tests may have to be carried on the dog to ascertain the cause of the reaction. One of the most recommended ways to determine whether the dog has an allergic reaction is to try out an elimination diet.

Elimination diet works by feeding your dog foods lacking a specific component to establish which food causes the reaction. It is good to ensure the environment the dog lives is free of any chemicals causing the reaction. Get rid of mold and dust since they can be a problem for your dog.

The dog is suffering from anxiety, stress, or boredom.

When your dog is suffering from anxiety, it may resort to biting and licking the feet. When dogs get bored, their stress hormone, cortisol increases. To reduce the level of cortisol, the dogs lick their paws.

The dogs getting bored may be a result of a lack of attention for a given period. Certain dog breeds require more care and brain stimulation to keep them active. It is essential to engage them in exercises, training, and games. You can also invest in toys they can play with around the house.

It is vital to establish the reasons causing your dog to experience anxiety. It may have distress caused by fear, such as fear of new people, pets, or sudden changes in the environment. There are cases of dogs developing anxiety due to old age caused by a decline in memory or thinking.

Some of the common symptoms of anxiety include urinating, whining, defecating, crying, aggression, and many others. You should visit a veterinarian or a dog behaviorist if you see such symptoms.

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