Possible Reasons Why Your Dog is Licking and Chewing His Paws


Why is my dog licking and chewing his paws?

Dogs licking and chewing their paws is a common behavior that can indicate a variety of underlying issues. If your furry friend is obsessively licking or chewing his paws, it’s important to identify the cause and address it appropriately. Here are some possible reasons why your dog may be engaging in this behavior.

Table Of Contents

Firstly, allergies are a common culprit for dogs licking and chewing their paws. Environmental allergens such as pollen, mold, or dust mites can cause irritation to your dog’s skin, leading to excessive licking and chewing. Food allergies, such as an intolerance to certain ingredients in their diet, can also cause this behavior. It is best to consult with your veterinarian to determine if allergies are the root cause.

Secondly, parasites can also be to blame. Fleas, ticks, mites, and other parasites can cause intense itching and discomfort for dogs, leading them to chew and lick their paws as a way to alleviate the irritation. Regularly check your dog for signs of parasites and consult your veterinarian for appropriate treatment.

Another possible reason for excessive licking and chewing of paws is anxiety or stress. Dogs may resort to this behavior as a coping mechanism when feeling anxious or stressed. Identifying and addressing the source of your dog’s anxiety, such as changes in the environment or routine, can help alleviate the behavior.

It’s important to note that persistent licking and chewing of paws can also lead to secondary issues such as infections, open sores, or swollen pads. If you notice any signs of discomfort or if your dog’s behavior persists despite your efforts to address the underlying cause, it is crucial to consult with your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Allergies are one of the most common causes of a dog’s excessive licking and chewing of their paws. Just like humans, dogs can develop allergies to certain substances, such as pollen, dust mites, or certain types of food. When a dog comes into contact with a substance they are allergic to, their immune system reacts by releasing histamines, which can cause itchiness and irritation in the paws.

Some common signs of allergies in dogs include redness, swelling, and itching of the paw pads, as well as constant licking or chewing of the paws. Dogs may also experience other symptoms, such as sneezing, watery eyes, or a runny nose.

If you suspect that your dog’s paw licking and chewing is due to allergies, it is important to consult with your veterinarian. They can perform allergy testing to determine the specific allergens that are causing a reaction in your dog. Once the allergens are identified, your veterinarian may recommend treatments such as antihistamines or hypoallergenic diets to help alleviate your dog’s symptoms.

It is also important to note that certain breeds are more prone to allergies than others. For example, breeds with long hair, such as Golden Retrievers or Shih Tzus, may be more susceptible to allergies. Additionally, dogs that live in urban environments or are exposed to certain chemicals or pollutants may also be at a higher risk of developing allergies.

In order to manage allergies and prevent your dog from licking and chewing their paws, you may need to make certain lifestyle changes. This can include regularly cleaning your dog’s paws after they have been outside, avoiding certain allergens, such as grass or pollen, and keeping your dog’s environment clean and free from dust or other irritants.

Overall, allergies can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition for dogs, but with proper management and veterinary care, you can help alleviate your dog’s symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.


Infections are a common cause of paw licking and chewing in dogs. Bacterial and yeast infections can occur on the paws, causing discomfort and irritation. Dogs may lick and chew their paws as a way to relieve the itchiness and pain associated with these infections.

Bacterial infections can be caused by various bacteria, such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus. These infections can occur when the skin on the paws is damaged or when the normal balance of bacteria is disrupted. Dogs with bacterial paw infections may have red, swollen, or oozing paw pads.

Yeast infections, on the other hand, are caused by an overgrowth of yeast organisms on the skin. Yeast infections can occur due to factors such as allergies, moisture, or a weakened immune system. Dogs with yeast paw infections may have red, itchy, and crusty skin between their toes or on their paw pads.

If you suspect that your dog has an infection, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment. The vet may take samples from the affected area for testing to determine the type of infection present and prescribe appropriate medication, such as antibiotics or antifungals, to treat the infection. Additionally, they may recommend keeping the affected area clean and dry to prevent further infection or the use of a specialized shampoo or ointment to help soothe the dog’s paws.

Anxiety or Boredom

Dogs may lick and chew their paws as a result of anxiety or boredom. Just like humans, dogs can experience feelings of restlessness and stress, and one way they may cope with these emotions is by engaging in repetitive behaviors such as licking and chewing.

Anxious dogs may exhibit this behavior as a way to self-soothe, providing themselves with a sense of comfort and relief. This behavior can become a habit if left unchecked, as the dog may find temporary relief from their anxiety each time they lick or chew their paws.

Boredom can also be a trigger for paw licking and chewing. Dogs need mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy. When they don’t receive enough exercise or mental enrichment, they may resort to self-soothing behaviors like licking and chewing their paws.

If you suspect that anxiety or boredom is the cause of your dog’s paw licking and chewing, it’s important to address the underlying issue. Providing your dog with plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and attention can help alleviate their anxiety or boredom. It may also be beneficial to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer to develop strategies to manage your dog’s anxiety and provide appropriate outlets for their energy.


Why is my dog constantly licking and chewing his paws?

There can be several possible reasons for a dog to constantly lick and chew his paws. It could be due to allergies, as dogs are prone to develop allergies to certain foods, environmental factors, or even flea bites. Another reason could be boredom or anxiety, as dogs may lick or chew their paws as a form of self-soothing behavior. In some cases, it could be a sign of a medical condition, such as a skin infection or arthritis. It is best to consult with a veterinarian to determine the exact cause and provide appropriate treatment.

What are some common allergies in dogs that can cause them to lick and chew their paws?

Dogs can develop allergies to a variety of substances, including certain foods, pollen, mold, dust mites, and flea bites. Common food allergies can include beef, chicken, dairy, and grains. Environmental allergies, also known as atopy, can be triggered by seasonal allergens like grass or tree pollen. Flea allergy dermatitis occurs when a dog is allergic to the saliva of fleas and can cause intense itching and licking. It is important to identify and avoid the allergen to help alleviate the symptoms.

How can I help relieve my dog’s paw licking and chewing?

There are several things you can do to help relieve your dog’s paw licking and chewing. First, make sure your dog is on a healthy and balanced diet, as certain food allergies can contribute to the problem. Regularly clean your dog’s paws to remove any potential allergens or irritants. Keep your dog’s environment clean and free from dust, mold, and other allergens. If anxiety or boredom is the cause, provide your dog with mental and physical stimulation, such as interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and regular exercise. It is also important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Is paw licking and chewing always a sign of a medical problem?

No, paw licking and chewing is not always a sign of a medical problem. Sometimes dogs may engage in this behavior as part of their normal grooming routine. However, if the licking and chewing becomes excessive or persists for a prolonged period, it may indicate an underlying issue. It could be allergies, skin infection, arthritis, or even behavioral problems like anxiety or boredom. Consulting with a veterinarian is recommended to rule out any medical conditions and provide appropriate care.

comments powered by Disqus

You May Also Like