As with other dog behaviors, there can be several reasons that lead dogs to lick or chew their paws, including boredom, injury, skin problems or allergies. If your dog is constantly licking or chewing at their paws, you should first examine the paws to make certain that there is not an injury such as a cut, a torn nail, a growth, or other problem. If the paw pads and feet appear normal, the licking could be due to a skin condition (dermatitis), which often is the result of bacterial problems, allergies or food sensitivities. It’s important to recognize that this behavior can be indicative of a health problem or may become harmful to the dog. You should work with your veterinarian to determine the cause and find an appropriate solution.
Have a question for Dr. Klein? Email him at CVO@akc.org.