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It's not uncommon to see your dog chew or lick their leg or paw. After all, even dogs get occasional itches that need scratching. But if your pet has become an obsessive chewer of their leg or paw, it could signal a more serious condition. Let’s dive into why dogs chew or lick their legs or paws.
Sometimes dogs bite their leg as part of their normal cleaning, and they may chew on their paws as an infrequent habit. If you notice that your dog is spending an abnormally high amount of time biting, licking or chewing their leg or paw, take a closer look at the area in question. If the leg or paw has become sore, raw or inflamed, or if the fur has been licked away, there may be a more serious reason for the behavior.
Dogs that chronically bite/lick their paws or legs are experiencing more than just a typical itch. Physical reasons may include:
First, check your pet for signs of injury, cleaning any small wounds with clean water. Whatever the cause, if the area is sore and irritated, take your dog to the vet for an examination and treatment. Depending on the cause, your vet may recommend rinsing your dog's paws in water after walks, parasite treatment, tips for allergy management or a treatment plan for reducing discomfort.
Dogs are pack animals by nature; this means they need companionship and don't like being left alone for long periods. Often, if pets are left alone too long, they can exhibit obsessive behavior such as licking and chewing an area of their body until it gets raw and sore. This is most common in older dogs or pets with high energy levels that are bored or aren't getting enough exercise or attention.
If this is your dog's situation, there's a few solutions to try:
There are lots of reasons your dog may be biting, chewing or licking their leg, feet or paw pads. If you're not sure of the cause or need guidance on stopping your dog's licking or biting, it's always best to consult your vet. Together, you can come up with a plan to address what's causing this behavior and alleviate your pet's discomfort.
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