From chasing their tail to having a favorite toy or blanket your dog has to sleep with, many dogs exhibit strange quirks and habits. However, if your dog is constantly licking, biting, or nibbling on their paws, you might become concerned that there is something more serious going on that requires your veterinarian's attention. Here are a few of the most common reasons why your dog will lick or nibble their paws, and what you should do if you are concerned.
Fleas, mites, and ticks are some of the common parasites that can infest your dogs. One of the most common signs of a parasitic infection is licking, gnawing, and biting. If your dog is constantly biting at their paws and legs, it could be that parasites are biting your dog's legs and feet, causing them to constantly lick and bite to relieve the itching and irritation.
Parasites can cause an allergic reaction in dogs, which can lead to itching and biting. There are several other substances, insects, and other things your dog will come into contact with that can also cause an allergic reaction. For example, if your dog is allergic to a certain ingredient in their food, such as poultry or beef, it can cause an allergic reaction that will lead to itching and irritation.
Dermatitis contact with other irritants can also cause your dog's paws and legs to itch and burn. Your dog will lick and bite at their paws to find comfort from this itching and irritation.
Pain or Injury
Your dog licks or nibbles at an injury as a way to treat the injury, ease their pain, and help with any anxiety or stress related to the pain or injury. If your dog is constantly licking or biting one of their paws, it could be because the paw is injured. This injury could be anything from a broken nail to a burn or a severe cut.
Additionally, if your dog is suffering from a chronic condition that causes pain, such as arthritis, your dog could be licking to help try and ease any discomfort.
What You Should Do If Your Dog is Constantly Licking or Nibbling Their Paws
If your dog is constantly licking or nibbling one or both of their paws, contact your veterinarian right away. Your vet, like one from Johnstown Veterinary Associates, can help you determine the cause of the constant licking and come up with a care plan. For example, your vet can treat a parasitic infection, help determine if your dog has a food allergy, or determine if your dog's paw was injured.
From allergies to parasites or a severe injury, your dog could be licking or gnawing at their paws for several reasons.