Dog Biting Paws

A dog biting his paws is a symptom that could indicate the pet has a health problem, which can vary from allergies to stress. If the problem is not dealt with, the biting of the paws can lead to skin infections, open wounds and an obsessive compulsive behavior that will be difficult to eliminate.

Causes of Dog Biting Paws

The causes of a dog biting his paws may include:

  • Allergies, due to various irritants, which are present in the dog's surroundings and penetrate the skin. The paws are also more exposed when the dog steps on grasses and various other possible irritants. However, the allergic reactions may be caused by foods as well, which will cause skin irritation and itchiness.
  • Skin infections which can irritate the paws and other areas of the skin. Most commonly, the infections are of fungal or bacterial nature.
  • A splinter that is stuck in the paw.
  • External parasites such as fleas or mange.
  • Stress, which can be caused by separation from a family member or a dog companion, a new pet, a baby, ill-treatment, a disease or moving house.
  • Boredom, if the dog has energy and he doesn't spend it in a constructive manner.

These causes can be detected if you pay attention to the possible changes in the dog's environment or the substances and foods the dog may have been in contact with.

Additional Symptoms

The dog may display additional symptoms that can be helpful when diagnosing his condition. A dog with allergies can also sneeze, cough, have trouble breathing or skin rashes. If the pet has a skin infection, he may also have rashes and scratch his skin in various other areas as well. External parasites can leave bites or may also be identified in the dog's fur. A stressed dog may be lethargic and lack appetite. A bored dog may develop other destructive behavior such as chewing household objects or digging. He may have a lot of energy and may be difficult to calm down.

Diagnosing Dog Biting Paws

The diagnostics will be based on the symptoms and the vet will also perform a few blood tests and skin scraping tests which can reveal the problem. If the dog is affected by stress or he bites his paws due to boredom, this can be more difficult to diagnose, but the vet will rule out other possible factors and may get to a diagnosis.

Treatment Options

The treatment for a dog biting his paws may vary according to the diagnosis:

  • Antihistamines, steroids or allergy shots for allergic reactions.
  • Antibiotics and creams for a bacterial skin infection.
  • Fungicide creams for a fungal infection.
  • Powders and sprays for fleas.
  • Insecticide solutions for mange.
  • Anti-depressive medication for stress or alternative remedies.
  • Exercising and a change in diet for dogs that are bored or have an excess of energy. Behavioral training may also be applied.

After the treatment, the dog should be monitored to see if the behavior reappears.