Why Dogs Chew Their Paws?
[And How To Stop It]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

Imagine you walk into your house after a long day of work. There’s no sign of your best companion (I’d be sad too) as they don’t come to greet you.

This is very unusual.

So, you look for them. There’s no sign of them anywhere near the doorway. You look in the kitchen and find nothing. 

Luckily you find them curled up in your bedroom. But they are doing something you’ve never seen them do before, at least not as vigorously. 

You look at them and wonder, “Why is my dog chewing their paws?” Do they have a problem? Why are they doing it?

Confusion strikes. But your love for them overpowers, and you hug them. Aww, a happy ending.

But of course, that doesn’t solve the problem.

Does that scenario sound any bit relatable to you? Have you been wondering why your dog has been chewing its paws? I know you’ve been. Don’t worry. The answers you seek are in this article. 

Read on.

Is It Normal For My Dog To Chew On His Paws?

Let’s clear the air. It is a pretty typical behavior seen in dogs, mainly when they are nervous or bored. So, no need to panic. But this is not your ‘free pass’ to ignore it.
There could also be medical causes and reasons behind this behavior. And you might have to take a trip to your favorite vet. 

So, assess the situation carefully. Keep track of how often it happens, and use your judgment to figure out when it is time to seek help.

Let’s take a look at…

The Most Common Reasons That Dogs Chew Their Paws

Could It Be An Allergy?

The number one reason for dogs chewing their paws is allergies. Yes, just like humans, dogs are prone to this problem. Many factors can contribute to developing an allergy, such as an unclean environment, excess moisture, pollen, mold, and food. 

There’s also the possibility of developing a skin condition and reacting to chemicals from items around the house or the new shampoo you got for them. So, ensure you check all these factors and ask the vet about it too.

Is Their Skin Drying Up?

I am sure you have noticed that our skin tends to get dry and itchy in winters. Likewise, your dog may be suffering from the same issue, and they are feeling itchy too. Moreover, this could also indicate that your dog is not getting enough fatty acids in its food. If you aren’t aware, fatty acids help moisturize and strengthen the skin.

Are They Feeling Anxious Or Stressed?

Dogs tend to resort to chewing or licking their paws when they are ill. But they also showcase such behavior when going through stress, anxiety, or even depression. Several dogs suffer anxiety due to lack of exercise, playtime, or even separation.

So, make sure you give your dog enough attention, don’t miss their daily walks. They are your best friends and love your company. Don’t deprive them.

Are They Physically Hurt?

Very easy to overlook this, but your dog may have got himself hurt on his last walk or playtime. You know how excited they get, don’t you? Sometimes that excitement can cause unfortunate accidents. And the damage caused is not immediately apparent.

Check your dog’s paws for cuts, wounds, thorns that may be stuck, or a glass shard. If they are chewing, licking, or trying to scratch there repeatedly, chances are there is something stuck there. 

Who Invited The Parasites?

Ticks, fleas, mites, or other such small entities are a menace. First of all, they are so easy to not notice at all (but yes, you’ll see the signs), and second, they are really tough to deal with! It is a danger that your furry friend is also exposed to. As an owner, it’s your responsibility to be aware.

So, if your dog has started chewing/licking compulsively and randomly, please take a good look and ensure there aren’t any unwanted guests in their fur.

Is It A Disease?

It could be. But how will you know? The trick is to look out for bald spots, skin infections in the areas your dog frequently scratches and licks. A hormonal imbalance can occur due to an increase in the cortisol level, which is the stress hormone. You might want to check this up with your vet.

How To Stop The Chewing Problem Before It Arises?

There are a few general guidelines that can help you keep your dog’s health in good shape and prevent any such problems from happening in the first place.

  1. Ensure your dog is getting good-quality food. Ask your vet what a balanced diet for your dog is? And follow the advice.
  2. Let your dog play and not just sit in one place. Dogs need to go on walks, play in parks, and in general get some exercise to expend all the energy. So, make sure you don’t skip on that evening walk with your furry best friend.
  3. Regularly clean your house and especially the areas your dog frequents. You don’t want problems that arise out of bad hygiene, trust me. Also, groom your dog properly and use good-quality soaps that are free of harmful chemicals.
  4. Keep flea-prevention powders or products handy. You can take your vet’s advice for this.
  5. Rinse your dog’s feet after every week, or at least every other day if it’s not possible. Good hygiene is essential!


Paw chewing, licking is a normal behavior in dogs.

When it is in moderation, you really don’t have much to worry about. But keep note if it is getting out of hand or you see bleeding, wounds, or a loss of fur on your pet.

Visit the vet when you see repeated signs as your dog might need some medications, a change in diet, or some other solution to bring relief.