Does your dog chew its paws? Well, you aren’t alone by any means. Countless owners have reported seeing their canine companions chewing on their paws. While this behavior is typically harmless, it could be a sign of an underlying problem that may need to be addressed. So, for all of you dog owners out there that are asking why is my dog chewing his paws, let’s take a closer look.
Maybe your dog chews his paws simply because he’s bored. Dogs are social creatures that require regular physical and mental stimulation. If you don’t provide your canine companion with this stimulation, he’ll release this built-up energy through other means, such as chewing his paws.
Another possible reason for this behavior is allergies. Just like we get allergies, so do dogs. If your dog is suffering from a flea infestation, perhaps his paw chewing is the result of an allergic attack. Statistics show that up to 40% of all dogs are allergic to flea saliva. Known as Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), it’s characterized by an overactive immune system response to the presence of proteins found in flea saliva.
After a flea bites a dog with FAD, the dog’s immune system responds by producing an excessive amount of histamines, thus triggering itching, inflammation and other characteristic symptoms of an allergy attack.
Dry skin can also cause dogs to chew their paws. If you live in a particularly dry climate, your dog may experience chronic itching and skin irritation. In turn, these effects may cause him to seek relief by chewing his paws. If you believe your dog is suffering from dry skin, try installing a humidifier in the room or area where he sleeps. A humidifier will release moisture vapor into the air, protecting against low humidity and subsequent dry skin. If that doesn’t work, talk to your veterinarian for treatment recommendations.
Cats aren’t the only creatures that groom themselves; dogs do it as well. Some dogs will lick and chew themselves – and their paws – as a way to clean dirt from their bodies. Some dogs will also chew their nails to prevent them from growing too long. Normally, this type of self-grooming is easy to spot, and it usually only lasts for a few minutes. Allergies and dry skin, on the other hand, are often chronic conditions that persist until proper treatment is given.
Dogs will chew their paws for a variety of reasons, the most common being boredom, allergies, dry skin and self-grooming. Once you’ve found out why your dog chews his paws, you can take the necessary steps to prevent it.
Perhaps your dog just needs something better to chew on than its paws. All-natural dog treats make a great substitute for paws. :)
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