Paw Licking & Chewing: Canine Allergy Symptoms Explained

Have you noticed your furry friend constantly licking and chewing their paws? It may be more than just a habit – it could be a sign of canine allergies. In this article, we will explore the causes and symptoms of paw licking and chewing in dogs, helping you understand how to identify and manage allergies in your beloved pet. So, if you’ve ever wondered why your dog can’t seem to keep their paws out of their mouth, keep reading to uncover the mystery behind this common canine behavior.

Paw Licking & Chewing: Canine Allergy Symptoms Explained

If you’ve noticed your furry friend incessantly licking and chewing their paws, it’s important to understand that this behavior may be indicative of underlying allergies. Canine allergies are a common problem that can cause a range of symptoms, including paw licking and chewing. In this article, we will explore the various causes of paw licking and chewing in dogs, as well as the signs and symptoms of canine allergies. We will also discuss diagnosing allergies in dogs and the different treatment options available. Additionally, we will provide tips on managing the symptoms and preventing paw licking and chewing in the future.

Causes of Paw Licking & Chewing

There are several potential causes for paw licking and chewing in dogs. Environmental allergies, also known as atopy, are a common culprit. These allergies are typically triggered by substances in the environment, such as pollen, mold spores, or dust mites. Dogs may also develop food allergies, which can lead to paw licking and chewing. It’s important to note that food allergies are different from food sensitivities, as allergies involve an immune response to specific ingredients. Another potential cause is flea allergy dermatitis, which occurs when a dog is allergic to flea saliva. Lastly, contact dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction to certain substances that come into contact with the skin, can also lead to paw licking and chewing.

Signs and Symptoms of Canine Allergies

In addition to paw licking and chewing, dogs with allergies may exhibit a range of other symptoms. Redness and swelling in the paws are common signs that your dog is experiencing allergies. Skin rashes and hives may also develop, causing discomfort and itchiness. Furthermore, allergies can lead to ear infections, as the inflammation can affect the ears. Digestive issues, such as vomiting or diarrhea, may also occur as a result of canine allergies.

Diagnosing Canine Allergies

To properly diagnose canine allergies, a veterinarian will perform a thorough examination of your dog. This will involve a physical examination to assess any visible symptoms and check the condition of the paws, skin, and ears. Allergy testing may also be recommended, which can involve either skin or blood tests. Skin tests are typically more accurate, as they involve exposing a small area of skin to potential allergens and monitoring for a reaction. However, blood tests can also provide valuable information about potential allergies. In some cases, an elimination diet may be necessary to determine if food allergies are the cause of the symptoms.

Treatment for Canine Allergies

Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment options for canine allergies can be explored. The first line of treatment is often avoidance of allergens. This may involve making changes to your dog’s environment or diet to minimize exposure to triggers. Medications, such as antihistamines or corticosteroids, may also be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms. Additionally, immunotherapy may be recommended for dogs with severe allergies. This involves gradually exposing the dog to small amounts of the allergen to build up their tolerance over time. Topical treatments, such as medicated shampoos or creams, can also provide relief for the paws and skin.

Managing Paw Licking & Chewing Symptoms

While treating the underlying allergies is crucial, it’s also important to manage the symptoms of paw licking and chewing to provide your dog with relief. Keeping the paws clean and dry can help prevent secondary infections and reduce itching. Using protective paw balms can provide a barrier between your dog’s paws and potential irritants. It’s also important to minimize your dog’s exposure to allergens in the environment, such as keeping them indoors during peak pollen seasons. Regular bathing with a hypoallergenic shampoo can also help soothe irritated skin and remove allergens.

Prevention of Paw Licking & Chewing

Taking preventive measures can help reduce the likelihood of your dog developing paw licking and chewing as a result of allergies. Maintaining a healthy diet is essential, as good nutrition can support a strong immune system. Regular vet check-ups are also important to catch any potential allergies early on and address them promptly. Additionally, implementing flea and tick prevention measures can help minimize the risk of flea allergy dermatitis. Lastly, avoiding environmental triggers, such as keeping your dog away from known allergens or irritants, can play a role in preventing paw licking and chewing.

When to See a Vet

While occasional paw licking and chewing may not be cause for concern, there are instances where it is recommended to seek veterinary attention. If your dog’s symptoms persist despite the implementation of preventive measures or treatment, it’s important to consult with a vet. Severe paw licking and chewing that leads to open sores or bleeding should also be addressed by a professional. If you notice a worsening of symptoms or the development of secondary infections, prompt veterinary care is necessary to ensure your dog’s health and well-being.


Paw licking and chewing in dogs can be indicative of underlying allergies. Environmental allergies, food allergies, flea allergy dermatitis, and contact dermatitis are common causes of this behavior. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of canine allergies, which include paw licking and chewing, redness and swelling, skin rashes and hives, ear infections, and gastrointestinal issues. Diagnosing allergies in dogs may involve physical examinations, allergy testing, elimination diets, or blood tests. Treatment for allergies can include avoiding allergens, medications, immunotherapy, and topical treatments. Managing symptoms involves keeping the paws clean, using protective paw balms, avoiding allergens, and regular bathing. Preventing paw licking and chewing requires maintaining a healthy diet, regular vet check-ups, flea and tick prevention, and avoiding environmental triggers. If symptoms persist, worsen, or become severe, it’s important to seek veterinary attention. With proper diagnosis, treatment, and preventive measures, you can help your furry friend find relief from paw licking and chewing caused by allergies.

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