Is your dog biting his paws? What are the possible causes of this behavior and how can it be remedied?
My dog is biting his paw because he is in pain
Chewing on a paw for a dog can be a sign of pain, itching, or at least discomfort felt there and expressed in this way.
Many ailments can thus be at the origin of this behavior like:
- the presence of a foreign body (splinter, spikelet, broken glass …) which has entered a pad or in the spaces between the dog’s fingers,
- an insect bite on the paw,
- the development of a mass at the level of its leg,
- An allergic phenomenon such as atopic dermatitis, a food allergy, an allergy to flea bites or even a contact allergy which cause severe itching,
- development of bacteria, fungi or parasites in the skin of the legs,
- any other condition that can cause pododermatitis,
- a joint problem that makes your dog suffer,
My dog is biting his paws because he is not well in his head
A compulsive chewing of a paw can also be a sign of the animal’s psychological suffering. In the absence of the physical problems mentioned above, this behavior can indeed reveal a deep discomfort in dogs. It is a real obsessive-compulsive disorder that has its origin in the animal’s anxiety, stress or boredom problem.
What is the risk of a dog biting its legs?
The risk, if the chewing of the legs becomes chronic and compulsive, is that the dog self-injures. The lesion he inflicted on himself can then quickly spread and be complicated by a bacterial infection. This kind of lesion is generally painful and still maintains the dog’s chewing behavior in a vicious circle.
My dog is biting his paw: what to do?
If your dog compulsively bites his paw, it is necessary to put an end to it quickly by going to consult your veterinarian.
Initially, it will endeavor to treat any lesions that your dog has self-inflicted and to prevent a bacterial complication. It is common for the veterinarian to put a bandage, sock or collar on the dog to prevent it from further mutilating itself.
In parallel, and if the dog’s behavior is explained by a physical problem then the veterinarian will endeavor to set up a specific treatment for the identified problem. It can be the administration of drugs for antiparasitic, antibiotic, antifungal …, surgical removal of the foreign body, prescription of an eviction diet in case of food allergy etc.
But, if the chewing is of psychic origin, then it will be necessary to change the lifestyle habits of your animal. At first, you will be able to offer him more time for walks in order to spend him physically and mentally as well as occupation games to deceive his boredom and divert his attention. If the problem is deeper, you will need to call a professional behavior educator or behavioral veterinarian to pinpoint the cause of the problem and put in place appropriate behavior therapy. Sometimes the dog’s discomfort is such that behavior therapy must be accompanied by anxiolytic treatment. Prescribed by a veterinarian, it helps relieve your dog quickly and facilitate the work of behavior therapy.
Herbal remedies can also act as natural anxiolytics and effectively support behavioral therapy. Ask a specialist veterinarian.