If you regularly catch your dog biting the top of her paw, bells and whistles should start ringing, because there's reason for concern. Ignoring her behavior can lead to raw skin that's swollen, fur-less and irritated. Your dog's paw-biting is her way of itching, and it's your job to figure out what is causing the itch. This might be challenging at first, but with some lifestyle adjustments and a veterinary consultation, you can accomplish a lot. Nip her behavior in the bud as soon as possible, so you can keep it from becoming a hard-to-break habit.
Consult a veterinarian about your dog's paw-biting fetish. A veterinarian can do tests to determine whether it's a medical condition, allergy, infection or injury that's triggering your dog's behavior. He can recommend changing your furry friend's food if a food allergy is diagnosed, and he can also prescribe medications and ointments to help treat the hot spots.
Spice up your furry friend's life, because she might be biting the top of her paw because she's bored. Take her on daily walks, play games with her and let her run or swim. Engage in a variety of activities so she can tire herself out and burn energy that she would otherwise use to bite the top of her paw. In addition to physical stimulation, obedience training and challenging food-stuffed dog toys can provide mental stimulation.
Supervise your dog so you can catch her biting her paw. Leash her and attach the leash to your belt if you have to. When she starts biting her paw, clap your hands to interrupt her and show her a chew toy or bone instead to redirect her attention. Praise her when she shows interest in the toy or bone and stops chewing her paw. With consistency, your pet companion will choose the toy or bone over her paw. If you can't supervise your dog, consider putting an Elizabethan collar on her.
Put booties on your dog's paws before taking her on walks, because things like ice-melting products and lawn treatments aren't always visible and might irritate her paws. Alternatively, change your route if you're always walking your dog in the same area.
Use a parasite control regimen to prevent creepy crawlies, such as fleas and ticks, which can cause itching and paw biting. Ask your veterinarian for product recommendations.
Spray a veterinarian-approved dog repellent on your dog's paws for about three weeks to stop the biting. Your dog will dislike the taste of the repellent and will think twice about gnawing on the top of her paw.
Practice good hygiene and bathe and groom your dog when you notice her biting the top of her paw. Brush and comb your pet companion to remove mats and tangles, which can trigger irritation and itchiness. Bathe your pup with veterinarian-approved shampoos geared to relieve itchiness, combat infection and soothe irritation.
Items You Will Need
- Food-stuffed dog toys
- Chew toy or bone
- Elizabethan collar
- Dog booties
- Parasite control product
- Dog repellent
- Dog shampoo
- VeterinaryPartner.com: Self Mutilation: Dogs Who Chew, Lick or Scratch Themselves to the Point of Harm
- WebMD: Pets: Dogs and Compulsive Scratching, Licking, and Chewing
- ASPCA: Enriching Your Dog's Life
- NorthJersey.com: Ask the Vets: Why is my dog biting his paws?
- Vetstreet: My Pet Won't Stop Chewing, Scratching, and Licking His Skin. What's Going On?
- Chris Amaral/Photodisc/Getty Images