Why Do Dogs Bite Their Paws? [Normal vs. Abnormal Behavior]

Why Do Dogs Bite Their Paws? [Normal vs. Abnormal Behavior]
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Dogs are usually happy-go-lucky with their tongues lolling out and their tails wagging and slapping against the nearest wall. But that sometimes means you're unable to see if your dog is dealing with something serious, including pain and illness. That's why you often have to look at seemingly mundane behaviors to make sure your pet is okay. You may have seen your pup chewing their feet and wondered, "Why do dogs bite their paws?"


While dogs biting at their paws may be part of their grooming routine, some owners can get concerned if their dog has picked this up as a new behavior. There are many reasons why your dog has started biting at their paws, but all of them can be easily treated with a vet visit and home remedies!



Is It Common For Dogs to Bite Their Paws?

While dogs are not the same as cats when it comes to grooming, they still are known for biting and licking at their coat and skin here and there. This includes their paws. Paw licking and chewing is common behavior in dogs.


But if your dog is biting at their paws a bit more than usual or for a long amount of time, this could be the sign of underlying issues, some of which could be serious. If your dog is suddenly obsessing over their paws or seems to be uncomfortable, have them looked at by a veterinarian.



dog licking paw



Why Do Dogs Bite Their Paws?

There are many reasons why your dog may be biting at their paws. It's important to pinpoint why your dog is suddenly focused on their feet so it's easier to figure out a good solution for this strange behavior.



Skin Allergies

Dogs that have skin allergies will often have itchy and irritated skin. This can include their paws since they often walk through pollen or other things that can cause a reaction. When your dog comes back in from a walk, rinse their paws in cool water in case they came into contact with something that caused an allergic reaction.



Parasites can be very uncomfortable and irritating for your dog to deal with. Harvest mites, fleas, and other parasites will bite skin, leading to scratching and itchiness. These pests can bite your dog's paws, including between their toes. But sometimes, dogs will lick their paws to comfort themselves when they need a distraction.



When your dog has pain or discomfort in their paws, they might start licking or chewing at the affected area. Your dog may be even nursing an injury, including scratches from running outside to splinters on their paw pad.



Dogs need mental stimulation, including exercise and family time. If a dog doesn't get enough playtime or social time, they can become frustrated. This leads to destructive behavior, both to your house and to themselves. One obsessive and neurotic behavior is biting and chewing at their paws.



Similar to boredom, dogs experiencing stress, nervousness, or anxiousness will also develop tics that aren't healthy. This includes licking at their paws obsessively for comfort or as part of their stress-induced routine. Sometimes these behaviors stick with your dog and become hard to break.


Dirty Paws

Your dog may simply have dirty paws after a walk and is cleaning them off! If you brought your dog to the park, they might be picking at the dirt that got in between their toes. Or maybe they are attempting to dry their paws after stepping in a puddle. Some dogs are cleaner than others!



dirty paw



Home Remedies for a Dog That Bites Its Paws

As you can see, there is a pawful of reasons why your dog may be biting at their paws. Some are more serious than others, but most excessive biting should be brought to the attention of your vet. Meanwhile, you can make sure that your dog is comfortable with some home remedies that alleviate certain symptoms!



Wash Your Dog's Paws

After a walk, use some cool water or a lightly dampened cloth to wash your dog's paws before they come inside. This will not only keep your home clean but remove possibly irritating things from your dog's paws. This includes pests, dirt, pebbles, pollen, and more.


Reduce Allergen Exposure

Your dog may have an allergy that's leading to their obsessive paw chewing. There are even some indoor substances that can aggravate your dog's skin, causing them to chew and bite at their body more than usual. This could be dust mites, pet dander, cleaning chemicals, or cigarette smoke.


Clean your house regularly, including your pup's doggy bed and crate. Make sure that their favorite areas are free of dust and dirt. This will help eliminate some of these annoying allergy-causing things from your dog's daily living environment.


Bathe Your Dog

If you suspect that your dog is chewing their paws in reaction to feeling dirty and uncomfortable, it doesn't hurt to give them a bath if you haven't in the last few weeks. Remember to use shampoo for sensitive skin to avoid further irritation. Brushing can also soothe an itchy dog with frustrating skin conditions.


Make Sure Their Food is Healthy

Dogs without a well-balanced diet can sometimes develop skin conditions, including dryness and flakiness, along with a dull coat. Some dogs are also allergic to certain things in their food. Read the ingredients carefully to ensure it's safe for your pup, and always reach out to a vet if you suspect that your dog has a food allergy. They will have special food suggestions for your dog's specific needs.


Try Omega Fatty Acid Supplements

Omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids can improve the health of your dog's skin, reducing a variety of skin conditions. They can also significantly reduce inflammation, soothing allergy symptoms that are bothering your dog.


Related: Omega 3 For Dogs: "Good" Vs "Bad" Fat Explained


More Exercise

Suppose your dog isn't getting enough physical activity. In that case, they could have a lot of pent-up energy that leads to obsessive and destructive behavior like ripping up furniture, barking, and chewing at their paws. Make sure your dog is getting at least 60 minutes of playtime a day. This could be a brisk walk at the park, playing fetch in the backyard, or practicing an agility course.


More Toys

It would be best if you were spending time with your pup throughout the day. But for the times you're working or running an errand, make sure your dog has toys to keep them occupied. Find toys that stimulate the mind and endlessly entertain your dog, like motion-sensored toys, indestructible chew toys, and treat puzzles. Also, play with your dog when you can, including tug of war and fetch.



dog cbd



Can I Give My Dog CBD?

Most definitely! CBD is a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid compound found in the hemp plant. This means it won't get your dog "high" or create any euphoric side effects. CBD is one of the most popular phytocannabinoids in hemp because of its many potential benefits without the negative side effects of being intoxicated.


CBD can soothe physical discomfort, allowing your dog to feel comforted and relaxed. The elimination of swelling, aching, and other uncomfortable conditions can reduce unwanted behaviors. CBD also reduces negative feelings, including anxiousness and stress. This can further stop your dog from destructive tics like biting at their paws.


By interacting with the receptors in your dog's endocannabinoid system (ECS), CBD can also improve skin conditions. Without as much dryness and itchiness, your dog is less likely to overgroom and neurotically bite at their body.


This all makes CBD a very beneficial addition to your dog's day. Give them CBD about twice a day (or every eight hours) to see significant improvements to your dog's mood, behavior, and physical health.


CBD Treats

Delicious and satisfying, CBD treats are a very easy way to give your dog their daily dose of CBD. HolistaPet's organic and vegan CBD treats are packed with nutritious ingredients that complement the effects of the CBD.


CBD Calming Chews

Some dogs may prefer a bit less crunch in their treats. If so, definitely check out HolistaPet's CBD Calming Chews. These are soft and easy to digest, making them a great pick for older dogs or pups with dental complications. The calming effect they have will comfort your dog and reduce obsessive behavior like chewing at their paws and body.


CBD Dog Shampoo

This is a great pick for dogs that have skin conditions or feel a bit dirty and uncomfortable. HolistaPet's CBD Dog Shampoo is all-natural with no harmful chemicals or harsh ingredients. It's made specifically for dogs with sensitive skin, providing them with relief and comfort both skin deep and within.


Massaging CBD into your dog's coat and skin will allow the CBD to reach the receptors underneath, providing targeted comfort to problem areas where your dog is experiencing physical discomfort.



Should You Be Concerned If Your Dog is Biting Its Paws?

Always keep an eye on your dog's behavior. If paw biting is a new activity for your dog, something is probably up. A sudden change in how your dog behaves is a clear sign that your dog might be dealing with something.


If you are unsure if your dog's chewing is just part of their grooming routine or a sign of something serious, look for some of the following signs:


  • Overgrown hair on their paws, leading to discomfort
  • Punctures and cuts
  • Burns
  • Pests like ticks or fleas
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Odor around their paws
  • Overgrown nails
  • Excess dirt
  • Glass, splinters, and other objects that may be hurting your dog
  • Limping
  • Lethargic
  • Avoiding use of a certain paw



When to Go to the Vet

If your dog seems to be obsessively grooming to the point where it's interfering with their usual activities, including playing, eating, and cuddling, you should reach out to a veterinarian. Your dog may have a behavioral issue or be in pain.


You should also go to the vet immediately if you notice cuts, burns, or other injuries to your dog's paws. Pests and infections are also something that needs to be treated by a vet.


It's important to bring your dog to the vet if you notice an increase in attention to your dog's paw, including licking or biting. This can be causing your dog discomfort or maybe something serious. While you can provide home remedies to reduce symptoms, you should contact a vet to book an appointment in the near future.



Final Thoughts - Why Do Dogs Bite Their Paws?

Whether it's a parasite or an injury, sometimes there are unseen reasons why your dog is biting at their paws. While dogs are usually quite clever when hiding their discomfort and appearing happy and strong, paw biting can be one sign of their hidden discomfort.


If your dog seems to be experiencing pain or irritation, contact your vet immediately. Meanwhile, give your dog some relief with CBD treats for dogs, a bath, and other comforting home remedies. Your dog will be back on its paws in no time!

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