As a pet parent, it can be disconcerting to notice your dog biting or licking its own feet or legs, and you certainly have a right to be concerned. Even if the underlying cause of this behavior ends up being something easy to fix, it can still lead to all types of skin irritation and even infections, so figuring out what is making your dog do this is the first step to eliminating the behavior.
Why Do Dogs Chew on Their Own Feet?
According to vets, there are three main reasons why dogs chew on their own feet and legs, and these include:
- They are bored or not stimulated enough, either physically or emotionally
- They may have a skin allergy that is causing uncomfortable itching
- They may have Canine Compulsive Disorder, or CCD, which is rare but potentially serious
If your dog is bored, the solution is simple.
Remember, unlike cats, dogs need a lot of attention every single day.
If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, play time, or outside time, it may become so bored that it chews its own feet.
When this happens, the solution is simple: make sure your dog has something to do so it doesn’t have to chew its feet and legs anymore.
You can easily think up plans for the day to provide the stimulation that all dogs need. Give your dog something to do daily and never ignore them.
Skin Allergy or Skin Infection
Your dog will thank you by stopping all of that leg- and foot-biting that you’ve been noticing from it.
Your dog could also have some type of skin irritation or even an infection, causing its legs and feet to itch.
To stop the itching, in other words, your dog will chew on its feet. Of course, if you do notice a rash or anything similar on your dog’s feet, you’ll have to determine why it is there and what your dog is allergic to in the first place.
For years, my dog would bite their feet due to allergies and skin infections.
The vet recommended that I use Allergy Relief Immunity Supplement by PetHonesty (link to Amazon) and even informed me that she recommends it to all her clients and that it usually solves the biting problem right away.
Desperate for a solution to get my dog to stop biting their feet, I took her up on her recommendation.
Like the doctor said, it actually did work, and eventually my dog stopped completely.
Your dog will love it and you’ll love the fact that that annoying foot-biting stopped for good.
Instead of an allergy or infection, your furry family member could also simply have dry skin, and dry skin is itchy.
Chewing its legs is a way to relieve the itching, but this is one of the easiest problems to solve because the vet can easily recommend products to help moisturize and soothe your dog’s skin so it will stop trying to scratch the itch with its teeth.
For dry skin, a good shampoo will usually cure the problem. The best shampoo for dry and itchy skin is almost always a good oatmeal-based shampoo product.
Your dog could also have fleas or simply be too hot, which can easily cause skin irritations that develop into something itchy.
Whether it’s simple to diagnose or you need a vet’s help to figure out what’s wrong, pay attention to your dog’s behavior so that you can do what is necessary to help your dog feel better now.
If you have to bring your dog to the vet to determine the exact cause of its itching and discomfort, that’s alright, because you have to know what is causing the rash before you can determine what to do about it.
The vet can help with both of these things. Especially with psychological or emotional issues, you will need your vet’s help to help your dog feel better and stop this inconvenient behavior
Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD)
Finally, there is Canine Compulsive Disorder, or CCD, which is similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in humans.
Only 3% of dogs ever suffer with this condition, but again, you should see a well-qualified specialist to determine if your dog has this condition and what you can do about it if it does.
In addition to chewing its feet, other symptoms of CCD include chasing shadows or lights, snapping at flies that don’t exist, chasing his tail, eating inappropriate things, and even pacing or spinning.
If you notice any of these behaviors in your dog, especially if they remain for a while, it’s best to get your dog to the vet right away.
Are There Any Other Reasons for This Behavior?
There are also a few psychological reasons why the dog is chewing on its own feet.
For instance, many dogs suffer with anxiety problems such as separation anxiety and may chew on their feet as a way to cope with the stress associated with this condition.
More often than not, chewing on their feet is a dogs’ way of letting you know they are dealing with some type of stress or frustration that you need to deal with as quickly as possible.
So in essence, when your dog is chewing on its feet or legs, you have to:
- Determine the cause
- Work on some type of behavior modification so the situation can be eliminated
- Switch either your dog’s diet or his daily routine and activity
Remember, dogs don’t chew on their feet for no reason.
There is almost always a psychological or physical reason for this behavior, and it’s up to you to figure out what this is.
Trust your veterinarian to help you determine the cause so that together, you can come up with a plan of action to make your dog better again.
Occasionally, there is also a very simple reason why dogs chew or lick their feet or legs: to clean and remove all types of debris from their fur.
If your dog has been chewing its feet a lot lately, just watch it and make a note of when your dog is doing it and exactly what it is doing.
Keep a diary and make detailed notes, then share them with your vet so that the best remedy can be developed to make your dog feel much better.
If your dog chews on its feet, it can be a source of discomfort for both of you, but fortunately it is usually very easy to determine what the cause is.
Even if you think you know what the problem is and how to solve it, it is still advisable to visit your veterinarian because this is the best way to ensure that the problem isn’t serious.
Your dog is an important member of your family, so making sure you tend to its discomfort immediately is always the smart thing to do.
As a member of your family, your dog deserves nothing less.