Chewing is a natural canine behavior. Dogs love to explore. As they discover their surroundings, they will often chew various objects, such as shoes or their own paws, to see what they taste like. Chewing keeps your dog busy and happy.
However, you certainly don’t want your dog to chew your favorite shoe or your expensive furniture to the point of destruction. So we’re here to help you handle it.
This article will be divided into two main parts. Firstly, we will address the issue of dogs chewing on their paws. And secondly, we’ll discuss the causes and remedies of destructive chewing behavior in dogs.
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Contents & Quick Navigation
- When do Dogs Chew their Paws?
- Possible Reasons for Destructive Chewing in Dogs
- Ways to Address Destructive Chewing in Dogs
When do Dogs Chew their Paws?
Dogs will usually chew or lick their paws when they get dirty. Don’t punish your pooch for it. They do it out of instinct. But if there is excessive chewing or licking, there might be a problem. Especially if you see your dog doing this when their paws are clean.
At this point, you’ll need to observe your pup. If your dog is doing this for long periods at a time, chances are there could be an infection. Licking and chewing spreads germs that can cause secondary infections in an injured paw.
There are some home remedies you could try if your dog is chewing excessively. But if you see any swelling, redness or bleeding, then consult a vet right away.
1. Damaged Claws
If your dog had an accident and somehow managed to break their claws, you might see them chewing on their paws. Dogs’ claws are very sensitive. Apply first aid if you see a torn claw. If there is any bleeding, stop it by applying pressure to the area.
If there is excessive bleeding or a hanging claw, don’t try to do anything drastic. Take your dog quickly to the nearest vet.
2. Foreign Bodies in the Paw
We all know how much dogs love adventures. So it’s not uncommon for something strange to get stuck in their paws. Luckily it’s quite easy to remove anything foreign from your dog’s paw. Here’s how.
First, calm your doggo down. Find the right spot and use a pair of tweezers to clamp down on the foreign object. Then slowly pull it out with patience and care. Don’t be hasty – if you pull too quickly, your dog may get hurt and react aggressively.
If there is any excessive bleeding from the wound or if the wound is large, consider taking your dog to a vet.
Did you know that dogs can have an allergy as humans do? This usually occurs as a reaction to the food we give them. There may be an allergic reaction if you see your pup chewing on their paws after a change in diet.
Change your dog’s diet again if you suspect this. Use allergy-friendly food. But sometimes you may find that the food is not the culprit. Chemicals in your house can also cause allergic reactions in your dog.
Looking for the cause of this chemical responsible can be difficult. It could be the new cleaner you bought. Or it could be the new spray you used in your bedroom. Be patient and find out the which chemical is causing the bad reaction by a process of elimination.
Environmental allergens like pollens and dust can also cause an allergy. Pay a visit to the vet in this case. They will be able to find the cause and advise the right solution.
4. Secondary Infections
Secondary infections usually develop from cuts or wounds. The dog starts to lick or chew their injured paws, and the cut or wound slowly develops a secondary infection. If you see any swelling or redness, chances are there is an infection. The dog might limp or not be able to walk on their paw at all. In this case, consult a vet right away.
A vet might recommend applying a topical or oral medication. Whatever you do, make sure that your dog gets proper medical care before the infection has a chance to get any worse.
5. Dry Skin
Dogs will also chew on their paws if their skin is dry. This is caused by dry weather. If this is the case, you will have to keep your dog’s skin moisturized. Ensure there are adequate fatty acids in their diet as this help to keep the skin hydrated.
6. Lack of Mental Stimulation
Dogs that suffer from anxiety will chew on their paws to calm themselves. Depression or boredom can also cause this behavior. Make sure that you keep your dog happy and energized at all times. You can do this through plenty of exercise, fun toys and socialization.
Spend lots of time with your dog to keep them happy. Buying a few new chew toys will be a great distraction too.
7. Ticks, Mites & Fleas
These parasites will always bother your dog. Your dog may chew on their paws in an attempt to get rid of them. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Consult a vet who’s an expert on parasites. You can then find out what the problem is.
Additional Read: Seresto Flea Collar Review: All You Need to Know
Possible Reasons for Destructive Chewing in Dogs
Dogs can wreak destruction if they start to chew on surrounding objects. As mentioned before, it’s okay if your dog gnaws a bit to explore everything. But if they become obsessive with their chewing, it’s time for you to intervene. Dogs will show destructive chewing behavior for various reasons, such as:
1. Health Problems
If your dog has parasites in their gut, then it can prompt them to chew destructively. Gastrointestinal problems can also be the culprit. If you suspect your dog may be suffering from any of these problems, take them to a vet immediately.
2. Nutritional Deficiencies
When a dog does not receive the right amount of calories, it can cause nutrition deficits. When this happens, your dog may search for these desired nutrients by chewing and destroying the objects in their path. Try to provide a healthy diet for your dog depending on their age and breed. The diet should always contain the right ratio of nutrients as recommended by your vet.
3. Psychological Causes
If your pup was weaned too early as a puppy, they may start licking or chewing on pieces of fabric. When this becomes a habit, it becomes very hard to discourage them from doing this. You’ll have to consult an experienced animal trainer to work on this part of your dog’s behavior.
Dogs can also chew excessively due to depression or anxiety. If they are not receiving enough attention or socialization, they can develop destructive chewing behavior.
Like babies, puppies that are developing new teeth will try to chew on things to relieve any discomfort. So what can you do to help? You can provide soft, puppy-friendly toys for your dog to nibble on.
Important Read: Can Dogs Eat This? Foods You Can and Can’t Share With Your Dog
Ways to Address Destructive Chewing in Dogs
You don’t always to have to punish your dog for their chewing habits.. Especially if it has developed into a regular habit. Instead, be patient and try to implement the following practices:
1. Dog Proof your Home
Your pup won’t be motivated to chew if they don’t have anything to chew on. Keep common household objects out of your dog’s reach. This means keeping the books on the shelves and the clothing stored in the closet. It’s important to limit your dog’s opportunity to chew on things. This will gradually decrease your dog’s destructive chewing behavior.
2. Chew Bones & Toys
Chew bones or soft chewable toys are a must for your dog. They’re a great way to distract them from chewing on household items. Toys will also keep your dog busy and active. You can rotate the toys to avoid your dog getting bored of them. But remember to only offer your dog things that are safe to chew.
3. Use Repellants
Dogs have an excellent sense of smell. They cannot tolerate very strong odors. Try using a bad smelling spray to prevent your dog from chewing unnecessarily. Spray the repellent on things you know they love to chew on. This includes your shoes, sofas, chairs etc.
4. Exercise your Dog a Lot
Exercise will keep your dog busy and active. It also keeps anxiety problems and obesity at bay. Plus, spending plenty of time outdoors will give your dog a strong immune system so they won’t be easily affected by diseases. This, in turn, will reduce the risk of developing excessive chewing behavior.
5. Socialize your Pup
The more your dog interacts with other dogs and people, the more mental stimulation they’ll receive. A dog is rarely depressed if they’re properly socialized.
6. Train your Dog
Training has to be started from puppyhood. If you can train your pup to abide by your commands, he’ll be less likely to show destructive behavior. Start slow and steady with the basic commands. Training is essential to avoid bad behavior and motivate good behavior. Give your dog regular treats to reinforce this good behavior while you’re training them.
7. Some Precautions
Never punish a dog for the damage they’ve caused by chewing. Some people even consider muzzling their dogs. This isn’t the right approach at all. Such punishments won’t teach your dog anything. It may even aggravate the problem.
Chewing can be either a behavioral problem or a result of various underlying reasons. As a dog owner, you should make it your mission to find out the cause behind this behavior. If you’re worried that your dog’s behavior is unusual or getting worse, consult a vet. Don’t waste your time punishing your dog to discourage them from chewing.
Spend plenty of time with your dog and give them lots of love and care. Keep your dog active and socialize them a lot. If your dog is happy and content, they’re unlikely to develop any undesirable chewing behavior.