No pup parent wants to see their dog in distress. And while biting or chewing at their paws doesn't seem like a major medical concern, it's an issue that could seriously affect your dog's health and happiness. Some paw biting behavior is completely normal. With no opposable thumbs, your pup needs to itch that scratch in whatever way she can. That situation changes, however, when you start noticing the behavior on a regular basis.
Some dogs will bite their paws so much that their paws become red and swollen. There are a couple different reasons why a dog starts biting their paws. Some of those are pretty serious and will require veterinary attention. At the same time, however, there are several things you can do on your own to help your favorite canine feel so much better.
What Causes Paw Biting
Pinning down exactly what's going on with your dog's feet isn't always easy. You'll need to observe your dog's behavior and take into account her environment and overall health.
Here are a few possibilities:
- Yeast infection
- Bacterial infection
- Lick granuloma
- Dry skin
All of these issues are worth talking to your vet about. It might be something with a simple solution, like dry skin, but you could also be dealing with a severe infection or even a cancerous tumor. You might get a clue of what's happening by examining your dog's paws on your own. Any signs of redness, bleeding, a lump, or injury should be taken seriously.
Ways to Help Your Dog
While talking with a vet should be a priority, there are also simple things you can do to try and stop your dog's paw biting. These won't help if your dog has an injury or serious illness, but pet owners do see relief when they're dealing with allergens or other minor skin issues.
Wipe Your Dog's Paws
Every time your dog goes outside, she's exposed to any number of potential toxins and allergens. There are lawn chemicals to worry about as well as natural allergens like pollen. Some dogs are even allergic to grass. You can't keep your dog inside, and making her wear shoes all the time isn't exactly an option either. But what you can do is wipe your dog's paws every time she comes inside. This simple habit will remove potential irritants and help stop the biting.
Wash Your Dog's Bedding
Allergens are sneaky, and they can show up just about anywhere. You might not know exactly what your dog is allergic to, but things like dust, pollen, and mold are a good place to start. Those spores can travel on clothes, skin, or through the air. Keeping your house completely clean of dust is impossible, but a regular cleaning schedule is definitely a good idea. Wash your dog's bed and blankets every 1-2 weeks. And if she's frequently in your bed or on the couch, those should be washed too.
Consider Your Dog's Diet
Besides environmental allergens, dogs often suffer from food allergies. Dogs can be allergic to just about anything including wheat, soy, beef, eggs, chicken, or sweet potatoes. Figuring out the exact ingredient that's causing the problem, however, can take months. It's a lot of trial, error and trying different kinds of food. Wheat is one of the biggest food allergens for dogs, so it might be helpful to start your dog on a grain-free diet. Limited-ingredient foods will also help narrow down the possibilities. You'll most likely need to switch your dog to a high-quality dog food that uses all-natural and human-grade ingredients. And don't forget to check the ingredients in your treats, too.
Weatherproof Your Home
Just like humans, dogs tend to get dry skin during winter months. Their skin can also be affected by heat and humidity in the summer. That irritation could be the cause of your dog's paw biting. It'll help everyone in the house if you commit to keeping the air cool in the summer and using a humidifier in the winter.
Give Your Dog an Omega Supplement
When dogs suffer from things like chronic skin issues, vets often recommend adding more omega fatty acids to their diet. Omega 3, omega 6, and omega 9 are found in substances like fish and krill oil. These fatty acids do a lot for the body including supporting the immune system and boosting brain and heart health. One of their best benefits is moisturizing skin and relieving itching. Omega fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help when a dog is feeling especially itchy and uncomfortable in their own fur.
Riley's Essentials Omega Complete are made with krill oil to give dogs a much-needed boost of essential fatty acids. The balanced formula meets the optimal ratio of omega 3, 6, and 9. Dropping a supplement into your dog's dish every day will help relieve your dog's itchy skin and can help them find relief from paw biting.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional.