Why Do Dogs Chew Their Feet?

Our canine companions belong to their own species with their own set of behaviors. As a result, it can be difficult to tell if something that is strange for humans should be considered strange for our canine companions. For instance, a human chewing on their own feet would make for a very odd sight indeed. In contrast, it is normal for dogs to do so. However, it is important to note that dogs can chew their feet to an excess, which can be a cause for serious concern on the part of dog owners.

Why Is Your Dog Chewing Their Feet?

Unfortunately, figuring out the exact cause for a dog chewing their feet can be a complicated and time-consuming process. Furthermore, even once the general cause has been determined, there can be a need for more steps to figure out the exact cause of the problem.

This can be seen in how allergies are one of the most common reasons that dogs chew their feet. When the start of the problem coincides with a change in the seasons, it could be a sign that the dog is allergic to something in their environment, whether that means mold, mildew, or pollen. In contrast, if the dog has been chewing their feet for some time, that could be a sign that they are allergic to something that they are eating. The problem with food allergies is that figuring out the exact food that is causing the problem is a process of trial and error. As such, it is no wonder that some experts have recommended 12-week food elimination trials as the best course of action under such circumstances.

Of course, allergies are just some of the potential causes for the excessive chewing of their feet on the part of dogs. Those who are interested should know that it isn’t uncommon for dogs to chew their feet because of either pain or some other kind of unpleasant symptom, meaning that excessive chewing could signal that they have a medical condition of some kind. In some cases, dogs chewing their feet can make sense because there is evidence to suggest that a dog’s saliva can not just clean cuts and abrasions but also serve to fend off infection with antimicrobial saliva while stimulating local tissues to close the wound. However, there are plenty of other cases in which the excessive chewing won’t help at all. After all, chewing can’t help with medical conditions that include but are not limited to arthritis, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and hormonal imbalances, though the behavior might still be able to provide a measure of comfort.

With that said, dog owners should remember that excessive chewing can create further problems for the dogs. For example, the dampness created by the dog’s saliva can actually encourage the growth of bacteria and other microbes, thus paving the way for some kind of skin infection in the future. Something that is particularly true for dogs with thick fur that will retain more of the moisture. Likewise, it isn’t uncommon for dogs to chew their feet so much that they wind up creating skin lesions and other skin problems, which won’t be fun for them to deal with.

What Should You Do About Your Dog Chewing Their Feet?

Under these circumstances, it is clear that dog owners need to intervene if they notice that their dogs are chewing their feet to excess. The behavior is fine in moderation, but when it is happening to excess, it will start creating serious problems even if none existed in the first place. Due to this, it is better for dog owners to take action sooner rather than later.

Generally speaking, when dog owners see cause for serious concern, they should take their dog to see the veterinarian. This is because veterinarians have the expertise, the experience, and the equipment needed to determine the exact cause of the problem in the most effective and efficient manner possible, which in turn, should enable dog owners to get their dogs back to good health as soon as possible. However, there is something to be said for preventative health measures as well, which can be summed up as providing a nutritious diet, plenty of exercise, regular hygiene care, and regular check-ups. Preventative healthcare won’t prevent everything, but at the very least, it should reduce the chances for a wide range of canine health problems to pop up, thus serving its intended purpose.


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