Ever wonder why your dog chews or licks its paws? Most dogs will do this occasionally but other will take it to a whole new level. Should you be concerned? It depends. To determine when we should be concerned we need to delve into the field of animal psychology to understand this behavior.
In short, anytime your dog licks or chews his paws you should be concerned. This is usually an indication that there may be something bothering the animal's paw or probably another psychological problem. This is especially true if your dog licks or chews for prolonged periods of time.
Most dogs, however, will engage in this activity occasionally. The reason is not clear. Perhaps it's their way of giving themselves a pedicure. If you notice that your dog's paws are looking stained that is a clear sign that they are licking and chewing their paws.
Why Does My Dog Lick and Chew His Paws?
A dog that suddenly starts licking their paws usually has a really good reason for such behavior. The dog may be suffering from a puncture wound to the toes or paw pads, a fractured toe or claw, corns, burns, or even a tick between the toes.
More serious causes of sudden licking and chewing include interdigital cysts, tumors, cancers, autoimmune diseases of the nail beds and paw pads, and allergic skin diseases.
The most common culprit is allergic skin disease. The main type seems to be food allergies followed by secondary infection as a result of yeast and bacteria.
But just because your dog licks and chews his paws doesn't mean that it has a serious medical condition or psychological condition. Some dogs seem to really enjoy doing this as a form of relaxation. The important thing is to check the paws when you see your dog licking and chewing his paws. That way you can determine whether or not your animal needs to see the vet or not.
The first thing that any pet owner should do when they see their dog constantly licking and chewing his paws is to consult your veterinarian. He will ask you a series of questions that will help to determine the nature and cause of the problem.
If there is a medical or psychological reason for the behavior your pet will undergo some sort of therapy to either reduce the behavior or eliminate it.