If your German shepherd is licking and chewing their paws then you may be wondering why that behavior is occurring. In this article, you’ll find out all the different reasons german shepherds lick their paws, how to prevent it from happening, and most importantly, should you worry.
So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!
Why Is Your German Shepherd Licking And Chewing Their Paws?
There are a number of reasons that could be causing your german shepherd to lick and chew their paws. Before you can get them to stop chewing on their paws, you’re going to need to figure out why they’re doing it in the first place.
Here are all the different reasons your german shepherd might be chewing and licking their paws.
One of the reasons your german shepherd might be licking and chewing their paws is because they’re anxious. Just like you see humans chewing their fingernails when their anxious, dogs will often chew their paws.
This anxiety can be caused by a whole host of reasons such as hearing loud noises, being separated from you, or a change in their routine.
If you think it’s being caused by anxiety then you should also keep an eye on your german shepherd and see if they’re showing other signs of anxiety as well. Some other signs to look for include panting, crying, pacing and barking.
Boredom can also be the reason your german shepherd is licking or chewing their paws as well. This is even more likely to happen when there isn’t a lot of your german shepherd to do for most of the day.
For example, if you’re not giving them lots of toys to keep them entertained or you’re not taking them for adequate walks during the day, they’ll be a lot more likely to become bored.
As well as licking and chewing their paws, you may also notice that they destroy things in your home or find other ways to entertain themselves.
Have you got a good parasite preventative for your german shepherd? If not then they may be focusing a lot of attention on their paws because they’re infested. Ticks, fleas, and mites can all cause itchiness in your pup’s paws that they may try to lick or chew to soothe.
While ticks and fleas are relatively easy to spot you may have some trouble noticing mites. If you think that parasites are behind your dog’s behavior, it may be worth your time taking them to the vets.
If your german shepherd is suffering from dry skin on their paws then it’s likely going to be itchy and irritating. So they’ll begin biting and licking to help soothe this irritation. As well as this, you may also notice flakes of dandruff around their paws as well, or the skin being bumpy or red.
The problem with licking and chewing is that it’s only going to dry the skin out of even more. While your pup thinks that they’re soothing their ailment, they’re actually going to be making the problem much worse.
One of the ways that your pup’s body may react to an allergy is by making their paws itchy and uncomfortable.
The two types of allergy your german shepherd is likely to suffer from are environmental allergies and food allergies. You should keep an eye on when the licking and chewing starts to figure out which allergy they likely suffer from.
If it happens after they’ve been on a walk or you’ve used any new chemicals etc aroudn them, then the chances are the allergy is environmental. However, if it happens after they’ve eaten then the chances are it’s going to be dietary.
If you think that your german shepherd is suffering from allergies that best thing you can do is take them to the vets. They’ll be able to help you figure out what’s causing the allergy, and most importantly how to stop it.
Another less common reason that your german shepherd could be licking and chewing their paws is a hormone imbalance.
If there’s an imbalance in your pup’s hormones then it could result in a problem with their thyroid. And one of the symptoms of a thyroid problem is a loss of fur or thinning hair. When your German shepherd has one of these, then they’re likely to instinctively lick the area.
They’re In Pain
You should also make sure that your german shepherd hasn’t hurt their paws. This can often be a reason why they’re licking, and especially chewing the area.
If you do notice them licking and chewing their paws then it’s a good idea to give the area a once over. You may notice a thorn or other object protruding out. Or in some cases, it could be bruised, cut or sprained.
Other common causes of pain in your german shepherd include ingrown claws, broken claws, and corns.
And lastly, your germans shepherd may just be grooming themselves. In some cases, it’s perfectly normal for your pup to chew and lick their paws. And if you do notice it, don’t worry right away. However, if you notice them doing it all the time or more than they should be. Then it’s always a good idea to take them to the vets and check that everything is okay.
What Are The Common Signs That Something Is Wrong?
If there is something wrong with your german shepherd’s paws, fortunately, there are signs there’s a problem. When you inspect your german shepherd’s paws check for these signs and symptoms. And if there is something wrong, then take them to the vets. Just remember, that not all symptoms will be visible to your eye.
- The most obvious sign is an open sore, cut or wound. These often occur just through play, so try to limit it when you can. You may also notice objects sticking out of their paws.
- Their paw may also smell bad. All dogs have a certain smell, however, if you notice that there’s an unusually bad smell emanating from your dog, then it means there’s something wrong.
- Their claws may seem swollen or the skin could be inflamed. Both are signs of a problem.
- There may be patches of fur missing, this can be caused from when your german shepherd licks themselves too much. Or it could be a sign that there’s another kind of problem
How Do You Stop Your German Shepherd Licking Their Paws?
Now that you know the symptoms, signs, and causes, the next step is knowing how to treat your pup. Fortunately, there are many things to do when your german shepherd is licking their paws. Here are some of the most common solutions!
Take Them To The Vets
The first and most important thing you can do if your german shepherd is continuously chewing their paws is to take them to the vets. This is the best way to deal with the problem because you’re going to get the best advice tailored to your pup’s specific situation.
Your vet will be able to diagnose any allergy your german shepherd has, as well as seeing problems you may be unable to see. So taking them to the vet is your best choice.
If you’ve taken them to the vet then here are some other common ways you can stop your german shepherd chewing and licking their paws.
Help Alleviate Their Dry Skin
If you think that it’s dry skin, then your best bet is to try and alleviate it. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to treat dry skin. So if your german shepherd is suffering here are some of the solutions.
- Don’t wash them too often. German shepherds don’t need to be washed more than twice a year. If you’re washing them too much you’re going to strip their skin and fur of oils so they’ll be more likely to dry out.
- Make sure you’re giving them a good diet. If your german shepherd’s diet isn’t nutritionally sound then it’s much more likely that they’ll suffer from dry skin. As well as having brittle fur and other ailments too.
Make Sure They’re Entertained
If your german shepherd is chewing their paws because they’re bored, then you should make sure that you’re giving them lots of things to stay entertained. Puzzle toys like KONG‘s are a great way of doing that.
More importantly, make sure you’re spending a lot of time with them as well. German shepherds and all dogs are social animals that need your time. If you’re not giving them enough then they may begin biting their paws not just because of boredom, but anxiety as well.
As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t leave your german shepherd for more than 6 hours a day.
Put Bitter Spray-On Their Paws
If you know that there’s not a serious problem with your german shepherd then a good idea is to place bitter spray on their paws. The bitter spray has a foul taste (as you can guess by the name) which puts your german shepherd off tasting their paws.
If you’re not sure what bitter spray to use, I’d highly recommend Grannicks Bitter Apple Spray. It’s completely safe for dogs, and it’s actually designed with them in mind so it’s a great choice!
Adequate Pest Protection
Are you routinely protecting your german shepherd from fleas and other pests? If not then you’re opening them up to getting itchy and irritated skin which could result in them bothering their paws.
Ask your vet what the best pest treatment for your german shepherd is. In a lot of cases, you can get an all in one that lasts up to 6 months, so you’ll only have to use it a couple of times a year.
Address Any Separation Anxiety
If you think that your german shepherd is suffering from separation anxiety, then you should make sure you’re addressing it.
Separation anxiety will not only cause them to chew their paws, but they’ll often bark, whine and destroy things as well.
If you think that your german shepherd is suffering from separation anxiety, then your best bet is to talk to a dog behaviorist or vet to learn different ways you can manage it.
Is Your German Shepherd Chewing And Licking Their Paws Dangerous?
If your german shepherd is constantly licking their paws, then you shouldn’t worry too much. However, you should be aware that it can result in lick granulomas
Lick granulomas start off as tiny little sores, however, the more your german shepherd licks them the bigger they get. Before you know it they have a huge sore on their paws which can become infected.
When you first notice a lick granuloma you should take your pup to the vet while it’s not a big deal. As they get bigger they can often cause other secondary problems.
When Should You Worry About Your German Shepherd Chewing And Licking Their Paws?
For the most part, you shouldn’t worry about them licking their paws. In fact, there are times when licking their paws is perfectly normal. Such as when their paws are dirty. However, if you think that the licking is occurring a little too frequently, or you can see any symptoms of a problem, then you should take them to a vet.
Just remember it’s unlikely anything overly serious will come from your german shepherd licking their paws.
Now you should have a good understanding about why your german shepherd is chewing and licking their paws! As you can see there are a lot of reasons it could be happening, but there are also a lot of solutions.
If you do notice that your german shepherd licking and chewing more than they should, then you should take them to the vets!
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