BTN 500



We are stronger together than we are alone!

  • Register


dogseatgrass3In part 1 of "Why does my dog chew his paws?" we reviewed and tried to eliminate several areas for our list of possible causes including stress, skin infections and external parasites. That leaves boredom and allergic reactions for me to look into. Unlike other years where our fosters exhibited itchy skin, one of our dogs is currently suffering from what I call "Dreaded Paw Chewing"

Boredom and "Energy in Excess" can cause dogs that are bored or have too much energy to find a means to spend their time, and most often it will be in the form of a destructive behavior. Chewing paws is common and may be stopped by making sure the dog gets plenty of exercise and sufficient attention. I can see where a high energy dog like a Boston Terrier could have this problem.


BabeScooter 3897If you are absent for a long time during the day, you should consider a daycare or a dog sitter.¹ While it is true we are not a very exciting place to be, we try to keep our dogs calm. They a large grassy yard to play in several hours at a time off and on all day. And many toys of various types are always scattered around the yard.  We try to get out in the yard with them several times a day to play and amuse them. If only one or two of them exhibited this symptom I might consider this more. 

 But there are still other possibilities that might fit them closer for a cause.. I am looking for a broad spectrum cause. A dog with an emotional problem may chew on his paws. This destructive behavior can lead to secondary skin infections, hair loss or even permanent damage to the skin.¹  Well maybe one of our fosters might have this. But, Many times we have 10 dogs here, so unless it is mass hysterics (can this happen with dogs?), I do not think this is it either.. 

I have decided that what I am seeing is probably a allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can cause dogs to chew their paws. The allergies can be caused by inhalants, different materials or even food. Many dogs are just as reactive as humans, to grasses and pollen. Antihistamines or steroid creams can ease the skin itchiness, but a long term treatment should be established.¹   One very common reason dogs chew their paws is in response to a skin problem caused by allergies.  Dogs can have allergic reactions to food, environmental and seasonal factors, and through contact with certain household objects, like rugs. (since we have few rugs in our house wiping surfaces with damp cloths to collect dust and allergens is much easier.

 raw-dog-food1In our environment, I have narrowed our dog's symptoms to "seasonal allergies". If only one dog was effected I might have considered the dog food. Because we have already removed dog foods that contain corn, wheat and other grains (these are thought to be culprits for the dog allergies and auto-immune disorders). I am also aware that "the meat by-products contained in most dog foods are made from cattle, chickens and animals that have been fed growth hormones, antibiotics, even liquid methane, as our industrialized food and agribusiness corporations seek cheaper, faster methods to produce our human, and our dogs’ foods". Because I cook most of our food these dogs are getting, I do have greater control over their content, we are able to limit the non food additives that make their way into commercial dog foods.


parvovirus-treatment-dogsPesticides are a common suspect for dog allergies. Be aware of using too many pesticides around your home or garden. It might be giving your dog itchy skin. This includes flea medications. This is an especially difficult issue because fleas cause dog skin allergies, which can lead to infections, sores, and the cycle begins. Mites, fleas, ticks and other parasites could be the trigger that is causing your dog to chew his or her paws. Fortunately, this trigger is easily identified.



Plants, grasses and pollens are a common source of allergies in dogs. With recent changes in rainfall patterns across the world, pollen counts are extremely high in some regions and your dog may be exposed to pollens in higher amounts than ever in his life. Allergies in dogs from plant pollens have skyrocketed in recent years and many veterinarians believe it could be due to increased rainfall.


I am learning something new that I should mention. Did you know: Contact allergies can show themselves by swelling on the surface of the skin and redness, in addition to itching and hair loss. Plants, grass, wool, a new dog bed, pesticides including flea collars, or anything new to your dog’s environment could all be likely causes. The spraying of odor absorbent or masking substances, like Febreeze or any of a dozen “pet odor eliminators” in the dog’s bed or on the carpet could also be the cause!  Although this is an uncommon form of allergy, it could be a likely suspect in chronic paw chewing.

Another possible irritant
If the skin on your dog’s body seems fine, and only the skin on his feet is raw, irritated, red, cracked, bleeding or losing hair, the culprit is probably the grass in your yard.   Over the last decade, lawn grasses have been genetically modified to be uniform, green and weed resistant. The grass in our yards contains pesticides and herbicides built in to their DNA. These grasses may be one of the primary, unexamined causes of the rise in paw chewing and dog skin allergies. Although the grass in your yard or park could be a likely trigger, planting a new yard is expensive and in many cases simply not feasible.

If your dog displays other allergic signs, like hair loss on other parts of his body, runny, yellow discharge from his eyes, ear infections, rash under his legs or around his rectum, coughing or sneezing, the allergy is probably not caused by your grass. Look for other triggers first. Start by enlisting the help of your vet.  I am at a loss, it may be pollen or something else in the air I will have to keep searching! But then again it just may be my grass!