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Dogs chew and lick their paws for many different reasons, it may seem like an everyday occurrence, but it could be something more serious if the paws bleed or become swollen. Argos Pet Insurance have shared their tips on how you can deal with your pet’s chewing and licking habit, and the reasons why they might be doing it.

Injuries

If you notice your dog chewing or licking its feet, the first thing you should do is make sure they haven’t injured themselves, especially if they have been running about outside. It’s easy for things to get stuck in or between the paws, like grass seeds, or to cut themselves on anything sharp, such as thorns.

Paw in hand

Other potential injuries that could lead to chewing or licking paws could be a broken claw. Double check the paws for this and if there are any signs of bleeding, go and see your vet.

You may not notice anything wrong with your dog’s paws as it could simply be an irritant, rather than causing them any pain. However, if the problem is left untreated, it could develop into a more serious problem and cause extra discomfort for your dog.

Allergies 

Allergies are another likely reason why your dog is chewing its paws. A specific ingredient in your dog’s regular food might be having an effect on their skin, causing it to itch. Switching to hypoallergenic dog food could help combat food-related allergies.

Dust mites and fleas also cause your pet’s skin to itch, rid the house of fleas and dust mites by regularly vacuuming the house and washing pet bedding in hot water. Speak to your vet about protective parasite treatments to protect your dog from fleas.

Dog in a dandelion field

Even a change in the season can cause potential allergies in your dog as various plants spring up outside, spreading different types of pollen. Washing your dog after walks can help remove any pollen from the skin that could be causing the itch. 

If you suspect your dog has a skin allergy, you should consult with your vet, who can also advise on a solution. 

Stress

Canine Compulsive Disorder can be caused by stress, licking and chewing paws might be a symptom of this.

Dogs can suffer with separation anxiety and chew their paws when they feel anxious or stressed when left alone. Although you may not see your dog doing it, if you find your dog’s paws are sore or have signs of bleeding, they may still be at it when you aren’t around. This can be a difficult situation if you are not at home all the time to keep watch. 

Sleeping retriever

One way you can keep a close eye on what your dog gets up to when you’re not around is by investing in a pet camera. Not only will you be able to check on your dog regularly throughout the day, but you can also help reduce any anxiety by feeding treats and talking to your dog via the camera.  

Swelling and bleeding

If your dog’s paws are swollen or bleeding, it could be a sign of something stuck in your pet’s foot. The first thing to do is to check your dog’s paws for any objects which may be causing the discomfort and remove any objects you find. 

Next, soak and clean your dog’s paw – you can use just salt and water. If the swelling still doesn’t go down, you should consult your vet. 

Labrador on the bed

There’s no one stop way for preventing your dog from chewing at his or her feet, as this is dependent on the original cause of the problem. However, if you’re still stuck on what to do about your dog’s licking and chewing habit, we recommend a trip to your vets for further advice. Also, ease any worries you may have by ensuring your dog is protected with pet insurance. 

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