dog biting paws

Why is My Dog Biting Paws? And How to Help

Have you been wondering why your dog is always biting his paws? Then, You’re not alone! Dogs biting paws is a pretty common behavior. Throughout their life dogs are bound to bite their paws at least once.  Although if your dog’s biting of his paws is intense or extremely frequent, then, you should be concerned. Let’s look at the most common reasons why dogs bite their paws.

1. Dry skin

This can be caused by;

  • A change in weather (winter or summer)
  • Lack of enough fatty acids, which are important in keeping his skin healthy and moisturized.
  • A specific breed. Hairless breeds for example, are prone to skin conditions because they don’t have natural protection that their hair provides.
  • Excessive bathing and harsh soaps.

2. Allergies

Allergies are caused by;

  • Ingredients in their food
  • Environmental factors such as pollen
  • Seasonal changes
  • Chemicals from things such as soap and pesticides or other items with harsh chemicals.

3. Parasites

Parasites like ticks and mites are a big cause of the paw biting in dogs. Dogs tend to find the cure for parasites is to bite them away. Ticks and mites are microscopic, and fleas are difficult to see unless they have run rampant on your dog.

4. Psychological problems

Just like human beings, dogs tend to over groom themselves when they feel anxious, depressed, or bored and sometimes lack of proper exercise. Sometimes when dogs are anxious or depressed, they tend to bite their paws. Dog that are ill or depressed will often bite their own paws.

5. Injury

Since a dog’s paws are constantly in contact with the ground and floor, he can easily get something stuck in his foot or might have cut his foot. He will bite his paws to relieve the pain or to remove the foreign object stuck in his foot. There are several ways you can determine if the dog biting paws is caused by an injury;

  • Biting only One Paw

Sometimes if your dog suddenly starts to bite one of his paws, then it is usually an indicator of pain caused by an injury. The pain in the paw area can be caused by anything such as wounds, insect bites, a thorn, a piece of embedded glass, a broken nail, etc.

  • Biting and Limping

If you do not see any injury, don’t ignore the dog’s biting of his paws. Visit the veterinarian as soon as you can. At times there may be something wrong at a deeper level such as an inflammation or fracture.

6. Hormonal imbalance

The is often caused by food and infrequent exercise, but in cases where your dog is taking a healthy diet and getting ample amounts of exercise, then, it could be something complicated.

When a dog is experiencing hormonal imbalance, he either produces too much cortisol or doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. This can cause red spots, balding and brittle hair. Biting these irritated patches can easily lead to a secondary infection.

 Treatment for your dog’s compulsive biting of his paws.

There are so many reasons why dogs bite or scratch paws, and so, be sure to check with your veterinarian. The veterinarian will examine the dog and help you figure out the cause of the dog biting paws and determine the best solution and treatment. Below are the main treatment remedies you could use at home;

1. Clean your dog’s paws.

Each time your dog walks outside, he comes into contact with potential irritants like pollen and chemicals. You should try cleaning their paws with wipes after each walk outside.

If your dog seems to have an allergy or has dry skin, you could use a steam vaporizer in your home. Make sure you don’t forget to clean the vaporizer, otherwise the irritation may get worse. The steam brings moisture to the dry air and prevents your dog from clogging up with a lot of mucus.

Soak his paws for about one minute using warm water and povidone iodine. Povidone iodine is an anti-fungal, anti-yeast, non-toxic and anti-bacterial. Later on, dry his paws and apply ointment (natural oils like olive oil are advisable) to keep their paws moisturized.

You can also spray apple cider vinegar onto your dog’s paws. Do not try doing this in a case where there is an open wound.

2. Feed your dog with a healthy diet.

The healthier your dog’s diet is, the easier their systems will be able to fight off allergens and internal or external irritants. In case your dog is sensitive to some ingredients of foods, always check their labels carefully to ensure the ingredients are not there and you are feeding an allergen-free diet.

3. Add an Omega fatty acid supplement.

The Omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids are derived from fish oils and plants. They are beneficial to your dog’s skin because they help keep their own natural oils at healthy levels and reduce the intensity of allergens occurring.

The new formula of these omega fatty acids was also designed to allow dogs that are sensitive to some ingredients, to reap the skin-nourishing benefits without the risk of an allergy. These omega fatty acids are 100% gluten-free, soy-free and grain-free.

4. Treat allergies

Mold, Grass/Weeds, and Pollen Wash your dog’s food and water bowls frequently. Don’t let your dog out during high pollen season or right after you cut the grass or weeds. Clean your dog’s paws with a wet wipe after going for a walk.
Food Have your vet run an allergy test. Also, avoid commercial foods and try feeding them with an all-natural diet.
Parasites Control Products, Cleaning Products, Shampoos and Perfumes Avoid
Rubber and plastic material Use glass or stainless steel bowls.
Prescription Drugs Talk to your vet

Some other ways you can make your dog stop biting his paws are;

5. Distract your dog with toys and affection.

6. Use a bitter apple spray on his paws.

7. Don’t leave your dog alone at home for long periods.

8. Give your dog adequate time to play and exercise. You could take your dog for a walk or to play for at least 30 minutes every day.

9. Don’t always keep your dog confined to a crate or tied. Allow your dog to meet and socialize with other people and dogs.

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