Believe it or not, but dogs are actually a very clean animal. They preferred being clean, over being dirty. That does not mean that they will jump right in the bathtub, but it does mean that when they have some down time on their paws, they will take this time to give themselves a good old tongue bath.
Dogs uses their paws a lot doing the day. In fact, their paws can get very dirty, depending on what they did throughout the day. Dogs will use their teeth and tongue to clean up their feet. Depending on what is on their paws, they can appear to get very aggressive with their paws, when they are clean them. Most of the time, the dogs are just biting the fur on their paw so they are not actually hurting themselves.
What Can Be Done!
A dog that bites at its paws to clean them is a very natural process. It might look like it hurts to you, but your dog is perfectly happy when they are cleaning their paws.
If it does concern you, you can try giving your dog a bath yourself. This way their feet and fur are all ready clean so they don’t have to give themselves a bath. This method will not always work, since dogs can smell really good. Even if their feet seem clean to you, they might still smell something on them and try to clean them themselves.
Injured And Sore Foot Pads.
On the bottom of a dog’s foot is the foot pad. If you turn your dog’s paw over then you will see the foot pad for your dog. Foot pads are soft to the touch, and they are extremely tough as well. Even though their foot pad are tough and are designed to handle quite a bit, they can become damaged. A damaged foot pad will cause a dog to show signs of being in pain. One way they seek to find relief from this pain is by biting the foot that is hurt.
There are a few things that can cause a foot pad to become sore or damaged.
Sore Foot Pads Do To Heat And Ice.
In the summertime and can get quite hot outside. When you go outside you have to remember that dogs do not have shoes. There are certain surfaces that your dog should not stand on for a long period of time. These surfaces include, pavement, asphalt, sand, rocks and anything else that might have a hot surface.
Dogs that stand on these surfaces for an extended period of time can cause burns to the pads of their feet. In some cases blisters can form as well, which can become very painful for your dog.
The winter time can also cause problems for your dog’s feet. Ice and salt can be very damaging when it comes to their foot pads.
Salt can dry out the pad and cause it to crack. Ice on the other hand can cause ice crystals to form in between the toes of your dog. This will cause irritation and your dog will bite at its feet to try and relieve itself of the irritation.
What Can Be Done!
Be aware of conditions when you take your dog outside. Avoiding these extreme conditions can help protect the pads on your dog’s feet, which will lead to less injury.
Injured Foot Pads!
Weather conditions are not the only thing that can be damaging to your dog’s foot pads. Rocks and sharp objects can cause physical injury to your dogs foot pads. If your dogs foot pads are cut or bruised, then this might be the cause of why your dog is chewing at his feet.
When checking your dogs foot pads keep an eye out for puncture wounds as well. If there is something in your dogs foot pad, then this might explain why your dog is biting at them. A dog will bite at the foreign object to try and remove it with his teeth.
What Can Be Done.
If the pads on your dog become injured then it is important to try and give your dog rest. They will need time to recover from these injuries. If you see your dog chewing at the injuries on his pads, keep an eye on them, because chewing can cause the injury to get worse. You can try to wrap their feet, but you need to be careful because a dog in pain can become aggressive when it is being helped. If sore become serve, then contact your local vet.
Another reason why your dog might be chewing at its foot is because it might have a yeast infection in between its toes. Yeast infection can cause a dog to become very itchy. If the yeast infection is in the dogs ears you might notice your dog scratching his ears a lot, but if the infection is in the toe, then they will use their teeth to try and help relieve the discomfort they are feeling. Sometimes the biting can become so extreme that they will cause their feet to bleed.
Is Your Dog At Risk For Yeast Infection:
Yeast infections are caused by a disruption of a dogs normal flora. Yeast infection is usually a secondary condition of something else that is going on inside your dog.
What do we mean by a secondary condition? For example, your dog might suffer from allergies. So you take him to the vet, which prescribes an antibiotic for your dog. The problem with antibiotic is that they kill the good and the bad bacteria that is inside your dog. Since the good bacteria is wiped out, this will allow yeast the opportunity to grow on your dog.
Yeast likes warm, damp environments, which is why you might see a yeast infection in your dog’s ears, or between their toes. As mentioned before, yeast infection can be very itchy to your dog, which might cause him to bite at his feet. Yeast infections can spread if they are left untreated.
What Can Be Done:
When treating the yeast infected area, it is important to disinfect the area, and then keep the area dry. If the yeast infection begins to spread, there are shampoos out there that can be used to help treat the yeast infection.
Another priority is to find out what caused the yeast infection in the first place. If your dog has been on any antibiotics due to allergies or sickness, then that may of been the cause of the yeast infection. Another alternative to consider when helping your dog fight allergies, is using herbal supplements. Our number 34 Al-R-G Support helps maintain the body’s healthy, normal and natural response to allergens.
Do you know if your dog has been evolved in any event that might have caused trauma to their paw? If a dog is experiencing pain in their paw, then they will seek to relieve that pain by licking and biting at their paw.
What To Do:
Look for any signs of trauma. Look for open wounds, puncture wounds or broken nails or claws. If you notice any wounds on the paw, keep an eye on them. You might have to wrap them to keep your dog from chewing on them. Also keep an eye out for infection that can occur in the wound. An infected wound can become very dangerous for your dog.
Sometimes you cannot see any physical injury to the paw, but that does not mean that your dog’s paw is not injured. There can be something wrong inside their paw that you cannot see. If something is wrong on the inside of the paw, then it is important to give your dog plenty of rest so he can heal properly.
If you think that something serious is going on inside your dog’s paw, then contact a vet so an x-ray can be taken.
No one knows your dog like you do and you know the signs your dog gives you when they are ready to play. One of the signs that my dog gave me when he wanted to play fetch, was he would bite his own foot. He would hold it in his mouth for a few seconds and then release it. He would then get excited and spin around in circles, while he waited for you to throw the stick. If I didn’t respond, then he would repeat the process.
When a dog bites at his foot, it could mean no more than he wants to play. Maybe he has too much down time and has some extra energy that he wants to burn off. So keep an eye on your dog. Sometimes they are just trying to communicate with you the best way they know how.
Is Your Dog Conditioned To Bite His Foot:
Conditioning is the process of producing an involuntary response when certain conditions are met. Conditioning is quite common in a dog and they can form conditioning behaviors without even knowing it.
All of my dogs are conditioned to the sound of a four wheeler starting. It does not matter who is on the four wheeler, they only have to hear the sound of on starting for them to get very excited.
So pay attention next time you notice your dog biting at its paws. Did something set them off? Do they do it at a certain time of day every day? There might be a sound, smell, or event that they are used to hearing. Once their brain picks up on whatever the trigger event is, then it will send a response through their body. This response will trigger them to perform an action that they always perform once they hear that sound. Sometimes the action they perform in response to an event is chewing on their feet.
What Can Be Done:
If you think that your dog might be biting his feet do to conditioning, then you might want to think about changing up their schedule. If you change up their day, then it might help you to locate the event that is triggering the response. Be careful when you change up their day, because to big of changes can cause stress and fear to your dog.
When you see your dog biting at their feet, it does not mean that something is wrong with your dog. It might simply mean that your dog is just being a normal happy dog. There are occasions that when your dog does bite at his feet, that he is trying to tell you something. As always, keep a close eye on your dog. No one knows your dog better than you. If you think that something serious is going on with your dog when he bites his feet, then take appropriate action.
Down Below is a simple presentation explaining why dogs chew their feet. Feel free to view it and we hope you enjoy.