Chewing of the toes and paws is a common behavior among dogs. While some degree of biting and licking is normal, dogs with red, swollen paws or chronic saliva staining likely have an underlying medical problem.
How to Know If Your Dog’s Licking & Chewing is a Problem
There are several reasons a dog may chew their paws such as dry skin, wounds, growths, irritants like burrs or ticks, anxiety and allergic skin disease.
Whatever the cause of the irritation, paw-chewing can lead to pain, limping and secondary yeast or bacterial infections.
An Easy & Natural Strategy to Reduce Licking, Itching and Chewing (that most dog owners don’t do)
If your dog is excessively licking or scratching themselves, their diet may be deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, often referred to as essential fats. Omega-3 fatty acids (from sources such as krill) benefit your dog’s skin by helping to keep their own natural oils at healthy levels and acting as anti-inflammatories to reduce the intensity of allergens.
Many pet owners incorrectly assume that their dog’s food contains sufficient omega-3’s for their diet. Unfortunately, studies have shown that even when premium dog food brands put a small amount of fish oil in their formulas, the fragile oils are destroyed by the extreme heat required to cook kibble. Even if the fragile fats survive, they often go rancid the moment the dog food is exposed to oxygen.
For these reason, omega-3 supplements are the second most popular supplement giving to dogs (behind glucosamine and joint related supplements). A recent iHeartDogs poll showed that 29% of pet owners currently give an omega-3 supplement to their dogs on a daily basis.
Can Giving Omega-3 To My Dog Daily Help with Licking, Itching, and Biting?
While every dog responds differently, many dogs respond extremely well to omega-3 supplementation. Most dog owners see a noticeable improvement in their dog’s coat within 1-2 weeks, and often a reduction in itching around the same time.
We strongly recommend krill oil as the best source of omega-3. Compared to other fish oil sources, krill contains negligible toxins due to its low place on the food chain. In addition, studies have shown that krill oil’s phospholipid form of omega-3 is more potent and bioavailable to your dog’s body. (Learn more about the krill oil supplement we recommend here)
In Addition to Getting Enough Omega-3, Here’s 4 More Strategies to Reduce Excessive Paw Licking and Biting
1. Wipe your pup’s paws. Every time your pooch walks outside, he or she comes in contact with potential allergens and irritants like pollen and lawn chemicals. If you have a paw-chewer in your household, try cleaning their feet with grooming wipes after each walk or romp in the yard.
2. Reduce allergen exposure. In addition to outdoor allergens that travel inside on our clothes and shoes, several indoor substances can also aggravate your dog’s skin. Dust mites, pet dander, cleaning chemicals and cigarette smoke are just a few of the many potential household irritants. While there is no way to completely eliminate certain molecules, keeping the dirt and dust to a minimum and frequently laundering your dog’s bedding can work wonders.
3. Weather proof your home. Hot, moist weather can be particularly difficult for dogs with dermatitis, while winter’s utter lack of humidity can wreak havoc on dry-skinned pups. Keep your home soothingly air conditioned from the summer heat and use a humidifier to reduce irritation in dry winter conditions.
4. Choose a healthy, minimal allergen diet. The more wholesome your pup’s diet, the better equipped their systems will be to fight off allergens and external irritants. If your dog has food sensitivities, be sure to check labels carefully to ensure you are feeding an allergen-free diet. Consult your vet about whether a limited ingredient, grain-free diet is right for your pooch.
To learn more about the Omega-3 supplement we use and recommend here at iHeartDogs, go here.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional.
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