Dogs that constantly lick or bite their paws is a common complaint among pet owners. It is important to assess the situation in order to ensure that there are no physical problems with the animal.
The first thing to do is make sure that the feet are not swollen, red, or appear dry or flaky. Since dogs walk on their paws all day, it is quite possible that he may have stepped in some irritant that is causing the problem. The animal may be licking or chewing in attempts to remove the irritant, only to be actually propagating a further problem. Other issues that your pet may be facing are cysts or some other visible bumps that may need your attention. Your dog may also be facing a different type of physiological problem that may not be at all visible to you. Arthritis, allergies, or some other internal damage may be causing the animal pain in that area; his response is therefore to try and lick or chew it away.
Should this be a physical ailment that the dog is experiencing, your local veterinarian will be able to assist you. If there is no obvious medical problem, behavior modification may be warranted. There are several topical products available that you can apply to your pet to get them to stop licking or chewing their paw. These products have either a smell, such as citronella, or a taste, such as hot sauce or bitterness, that will repel dogs from the area. In some cases, a physical restraint collar may also be needed if the area is severely irritated from the constant chewing and needs time to heal.
The other causes that can lead a dog to this type of behavior are emotional. Boredom and anxiety are most common. If your dog is chewing his paw or any other area, be sure he has enough food, water, and exercise. Play with your pet and give him his own toys to chew on. Distracting the animal with positive interaction is the best treatment.
If the problem persists or you feel the animal is endangering himself, then it is best to call a veterinarian. They can examine the animal, prescribe medications, if necessary, and also recommend a behavioral specialist.
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