Why Do Dogs Chew Their Paws And Lick Their Paws


It is very common behavior for your dog to periodically chew their paws and lick their paws. Some dogs will even lick their paws to clean their face and head the same way that a cat does. They also will clean their paws if they are dirty. When your dog is just chewing or licking their paws once in a while, you have no reason for concern.

Chewing and licking paws

Occasional chewing and licking is fine.

When your dog is chewing on his paws consistently, you need to be concerned. That is when you are going to have to do some detective work to figure out the cause.

Consistent chewing and licking isn’t normal and you will need to figure out what the problem is for your dog. Why do dogs chew their paws – the answer is one you will have to research on your dog to figure out.

I am going to provide you with the different reasons dogs chew their paws, you will have to figure out which reason fits your dog.


The most common reason for dogs chewing and licking their paws incessantly is having allergies. There are several different allergy types that could be bothering your dog.

Of these allergies, food allergies are very common and develop frequently. They can result in skin irritation. Most times it is caused by the proteins in your dog’s food.

The most common ingredients that cause food allergies are beef, lamb, dairy, chicken, wheat, eggs corn or soy. You might want to consider changing your dog’s food if this is what you suspect.

Your veterinarian would be a good source for recommendations on food. The above link I have provided will also give you some guidelines for dog food for dogs with food allergies.

Seasonal allergies or environmental allergens are also a possibility. This would include mold, mildew and pollen and will usually affect your dog during the summer months.

Dogs chewing paws

Chemical allergies can also cause an irritation on the skin. Keep dogs off of fertilized lawn and out of gardens that might have chemicals in them. Cleaning products that you use in your home can also contribute. It might be what you are cleaning your floors with or some dogs have problems after a carpet has been cleaned from the carpet cleaner you use.

Your dog’s shampoo could be a problem as well. If you feel it is from chemicals, I recommend removing the products one at time until you figure out the one that is causing your dog the issue.


Fleas, ticks and mites can all cause your dog to chew on their paws. They are trying to chew away the parasites that are bothering them. Ticks are generally easy to see and you can remove. Mites and fleas are almost impossible to find on your dog. Make sure your are using some type of protection for your dog. I recommend the Scalibor Collar to help with ticks.

Mental Reasons

If your dog is feeling anxious, has anxiety, lonely, depressed, or bored, chewing on their paws could feel calming to them and help soothe a dog’s nervous system. Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise along with mental stimulation. Once your dog starts chewing on their paws from any of these situations, it easy for it to become a habit for them. It is important that you address the situation before it becomes a habit.

Why do dogs chew their paws

Bored and depressed dogs might chew paws for entertainment

Distracting your dog to something else that they enjoy will help keep the chewing to become a habit. Use a favorite toy or bone, or better yet, get the outside for some exercise.


Your dog could be in pain from some type of injury, or they could have injured their paw when they were out for a walk or in the yard. Closely examine your dog’s paw looking to see if there is a cut to their pad, a splinter, a rock stuck in their pad or a burr stuck in their pad.

If there is a foreign object embedded in their paw, remove it and clean with an antiseptic. Keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t become infected.

Also, check for a broken claw. They can be very painful and are prone to infection. Do not pull a broken or torn nail as it can lead to serious injury. Take your dog to your veterinarian to take care of the situation.

As your dog’s paw heals from an injury, it will also become itchy, leading to more chewing on the paw.

Dry Skin

Just like us, dogs can get dry skin and that can get itchy. The dry air of winter causes your dog’s skin to dry out andDogs chewing paws itch, causing them to chew on themselves to relieve the itch. A dog’s diet needs to have fatty acids to help moisturize and protect their skin.

Winter can also lead to chewing on their paws if your dog gets snow clumps stuck between their toes or if your dog gets frostbite in extreme cold. Keep a close eye on your dog’s paws in the winter to keep them safe.

Feed your dog high-quality pet food with vitamins and minerals and one that includes fatty acids.

You can also add a dash of olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil or fish oil to your dog’s food a few times a week to help them with their dry skin.

I also recommend using 4 Legger Nose & Paws skin balm for your dog’s paws. It is great for dry paw relieve.

Additional Information

Dogs will chew and lick their paws and legs. You don’t need to be concerned if it happens once in a while. You do need to be concerned if it comes on suddenly and persists for long periods of time.

Watch for redness, swelling, odor, bleeding or limping. All of these symptoms will need closer attention to what your dog’s situation is. If the chewing or licking is intense, frequently or for a prolonged period of time, you should see your veterinarian. An open wound can develop from too much chewing and licking. This could lead to a yeast or bacterial infection in the skin.

When your dog has a problem with their health, their paws are the easiest for them to get to. They could chew on Why do dogs chew their pawstheir paws for many medical issues. If you can’t figure out why dogs chew on paws after trying to solve the mystery, contact your veterinarian for help to figure out your dog’s problem.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and I will get back with you. For more articles about dog health, you can follow on Pinterest, Twitter or FaceBook.









  1. I observe our dog doing this and I think most of the time it is because of insects.

    My wife does take off the small disturbers but due to having the dog outside all day there are new parasites adding every day.

    I’ll have to try a product you recommend here, the ticks are quite nasty and sometimes crawl on my daughter too.

    • All dogs will chew on their paws alittle here and there.  You need to have concern if they are doing it all the time.  That is going to be a sign of something going on with your dog that you will need to figure out.  Parasites are a strong possibility, but don’t rule out that is could be dog boredom.  

      If your dog continues to chew on their paws, for whatever the reason is, be careful that it doesn’t become a habit.  That can easily happen.  

  2. Hi Marla as a Dog Groomer I get asked this very question a lot and my answer is the same as yours most of the time its a fungal infection discoloration of hair around the paws causing discomfort and licking or parasites usually comes with odor and yes boredom what are your suggestions to stop this problem

    • There are many things that can help with the dog boredom. Making sure your dog is getting enough physical activity helps greatly, but your dog also needs to have mental stimulation. This article on dog boredom might be helpful for you.

      Also, here are several interactive toys for dogs that work great not only when you are home with your dog, but also when you are away to help with their boredom. I hope you find something helpful here to help you out.

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