Dog Chewing Paws

A dog chewing paws can mean many things. It could be a sign of a medical or behavioral problem. If you aren't sure after viewing this checklist, consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Thorns, Stickers, Etc

If your dog spends a lot of time running around outdoors, he could have something trapped in the pad of his foot. This could even happen indoors if your dog steps on a tack or thorn dragged in on your shoe. In nature, your dog would have to remove the offender himself, usually through licking and chewing.

If the licking develops suddenly and seems to be focused on one pad rather than all four, check for offending objects. It may be too small for you to find or your dog may have removed it but still have a wound, so don't eliminate that as the cause just because you can't find it.

If you find a wound, you can apply a mild disinfectant or just wait a couple of days to see if it heals on its own.


Aside from foreign objects, an allergy is the most likely reason your dog is chewing his paws. He could be chewing either the top or bottom of his pads, and he will likely focus on all four at different times, not just one paw.

Allergies can be caused by fleas and other mites, diet or environmental stimulus, so you may have to try several remedies before landing on the cause. Consult your veterinarian for an elimination protocol that can help you find the best solution for your dog.

Fleas and Other Mites

Fleas and other such bugs and mites often seek out warm places where they are safe from your dog's teeth. Thus, they often end up in between toes. This can cause your dog to bite incessantly, trying to catch the offender.

If your dog has a bug in an inaccessible place, he may chew on his feet until they bleed. The best way to determine if this is the cause is to check for fleas. If you find small black dander, your dog has recently had fleas and may have more that you can't find.

The best way to get rid of fleas is over-the-counter or prescription flea control, which comes in pill and liquid form.


Dogs don't understand how to heal injuries as humans do and may begin to chew on any place that makes them feel uncomfortable as they try to find a remedy. Thus, if your dog has a cut or scrap, or if he has suffered from an injury in one of his leg muscles, he may chew on his feet.

However, if this is the case, you will probably notice other symptoms, such as limping when active or crying when they chew. This would also develop suddenly, likely after a heavy play session.

Behavioral Causes

Chewing on his feet may be a displacement behavior for your dog, which he turns to when he is stressed. This is a learned behavior, displacing nervous energy that he doesn't know how to dispel on his own.

If you can't determine a cause for your dog's chewing, consider if there have been any changes in your dog's life that may be causing stress, such as an addition or subtraction from the family, a big move or loud noises. This may be the cause.

Your dog may also begin chewing his feet out of boredom if he's confined or left alone for long stretches of the day. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation, even when you are away during the day.