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Q&A: Why Does My Dog Chew His Feet?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

There are several reasons a dog might chew their feet. Here are the most common (and what to do about it).

There are several reasons a dog might chew their feet. Here are the most common (and what to do about it).

How Can I Stop My Dog From Chewing His Paws?

"My pitbull has been chewing his feet. I believe he has a yeast infection. His back foot is chewed raw between the toes. He limps when he does get up, and he's been shivering pretty bad for a couple of hours now. I don't know what to do and don't have money for a vet." —Bailey

Why Dogs Chew Their Feet

There are many reasons a dog might be chewing on their paws. Here are the most common ones.

  • Summer Allergies: Is he chewing all of his feet or only the back ones? The most common cause of chewing all the feet in dogs is summer allergies.
  • Anxiety: If all the feet are hurting, the problem may be secondary to anxiety.
  • Injury: If it is just one foot, it could be due to an injury.
  • Yeast Infection: Yeast infections in the feet between the toes can be common, but they are usually secondary to an allergy. Some nervous dogs that lick their feet all the time also develop yeast infections between the toes.
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How to Stop Your Dog From Chewing His Paws

For your dog to feel better, you will need to treat the main problem, not just the yeast infection. If you take him to your vet, he will check him for fleas and any other problems (like an abscess or thorn between the toes) and then probably give a steroid injection to see if he stops licking.

Home Remedies for Dogs Chewing Paws

Since you cannot take him to the vet at this time, there are some things you can try at home:

  • Assess for Injury: Look carefully at the feet and see if you notice any injuries or swellings.
  • Give Benadryl: An antihistamine tablet will help calm down and decrease the itching. Be sure not to use the pills that have decongestant, as they are toxic. Here is more information on safely using allergy medication in dogs.
  • Soak in Epsom Salt: If he will allow it, soak the feet in Epsom salts. Put a few inches of water in the bathtub and then add a cup of Epsom salts, mix it up, and then let him stand there for about 20 minutes. Sometimes the salts will help heal any small lesions, and they will definitely make his feet feel better.
  • Moisturize With Coconut Oil: After his bath, you can put coconut oil between the toes. Coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory and also helps against a secondary yeast infection.
  • Cover the Feet: Put sock-type booties on so that he does not start chewing again. You can try regular socks if you cannot buy these, but dogs usually pull them off with their teeth.

When to See a Vet

If the home treatment does not work or if it looks like it is getting worse, you will need to take him to his regular vet. It is possible that he will need a steroid injection for a grass allergy or antibiotics if the feet become infected.

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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