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Why do dogs bite at their feet all the time?

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Question by Becky
Submitted on 7/21/2003
Related FAQ: rec.pets.dogs: Chihuahuas Breed-FAQ
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Why do dogs bite at their feet all the time?

Answer by chimama
Submitted on 7/22/2003
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Chihuahuas bite their feet to clean them.  They're almost as fastidious as cats, and can often be seen licking their paws and wiping their face.  They also spend much time grooming themselves.  If you have two, you can see the less dominant one cleaning the dominant dogs ears and maybe also face by licking them.  

Your chihuahua will like to lick your face since you are pack leader, it's not a good idea to try to break them of it, it's a way of showing respect and acknowledging that you outrank them.  You can teach them the command "Enough" so that they stop after a few token 'kisses' on the cheek, you don't have to allow on the mouth kisses, although I love them.  The command "Enough" also works well with human children.

If the dog is biting all the time, and seems to be in distress or is licking the pads raw, take them to the vet NOW!  There may be an infection or reaction to something in the house, especially if you have recently had your carpets cleaned or replaced, or changed cleaning solutions.  It goes without saying to keep them off the lawn if you absolutely feel you must employ a service to keep it green.


Answer by Christy
Submitted on 8/5/2003
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My 8 month old chi bites her feet while in "play mode."  Also when she is cleaning her ears and body.  She wipes her feet over herself then bites and licks them.  It's odd, but for her I consider it normal now!


Answer by chimama
Submitted on 10/15/2003
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That's normal for chihuahuas, they groom themselves just like cats do.  It's funny to watch sometimes, they get so involved in getting their fur to lay just right.  I have two, and in addition to cleaning their own faces, the beta will often clean the alpha by licking her face, head and ears.


Answer by Lady
Submitted on 11/24/2003
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Hello. I have a year and a half old Yorkie and he bits at his paws. Is this normal for Yorkie breds? I know it is for some type of dogs. But, he seems to be biting or nibbling at them really alot.


Answer by chimama
Submitted on 12/22/2003
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When in doubt, have the vet check it out.


Answer by shortie
Submitted on 2/11/2004
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i think it is perfectly normal as this is their way of 'grooming' themselves ;-)


Answer by Leslie
Submitted on 4/3/2004
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deal with it


Answer by shan
Submitted on 5/13/2004
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My dog licks her feet constantly, until they are raw and even bleeding at times.  The vet says it might be allergies.  People will sneeze and get runny noses when allergy season hits but dogs will lick their feet.


Answer by mrstraska
Submitted on 1/17/2005
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My Husky/Lab mix has been in the kennel when we're at work.  (Usually 4-6 hours, sometimes 8-9) and even when she's in for 1 hour, she will bite and lick at her paws, and you can see the skin very pink through her wet, white paws.  We talk to her, and console her as she is walked into the kennel, and even has chewing toys to "mow" on while she's in there (Kong, etc).  We talked to the vet, and they talked about the allergies, so we changed foods to a Lamb and Rice formula (Nutro Brand).  She's only 10months, but 65 lbs.  Could it be a nervous thing?  She's completely harmless while we're around, but the second we're gone, she rips through anything in sight (actually, anything of mine, not my husband's, ever!)  Boxes of Kleenex, my makeup bag, blankets, slippers, bathrobe, edge of the quilt on the beds...Could it be a nervous thing?


Answer by Drew
Submitted on 1/21/2005
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My brother's dog ocassionally will lick at his paws for minutes on end.  He goes to the vet whenever problems arise.  I wanted to know if it was normal for him to lick at his paws ocassionally, or if it is a problem and unhealthy.  He probably does it a few times a week.  Should I worry or not.  He is actually more healthy, in good health, today, than he has been in the past.  There is no bleeding or discolorization just occas. licking.  He will ocass. lick at a sore on his foot, but those have been looked at by his vet. Thanks for the advice.


Answer by Annie K
Submitted on 2/3/2005
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My dog has just recently gotten into the habit of chewing on her feet and nails. At first I thought it was sort of funny, but then I got concerned because she started biting them for like 20 minutes at a time and even was limping afterward. I wondered - why would she bite herself so much that it hurts her? Whenever I tried to examine her feet, she wouldn't let me touch them, they hurt so bad. Well, I decided to do some research and found that she likely has a hot spot, which is an area of acute moist dermatitis. This disorder or licking excessively at a particular area of their skin until raw. They are skin infections which can be painfully itchy, usually red and inflamed. I noticed that the skin on the underside of her foot is reddish in color. These 'hot spot' areas start from just a little irritaion on the dogs skin, leading them to bite lick or scratch it. This makes it become even more sore and itchy until your dog practically bites licks or scratches the area routinely. So, you might want to check up on your dogs and see if they have any of these symptoms. Hot Spots are not usually on the feet, but are very possible, whether from grass irritation or allergy, a minor scrape or scratch, or just an irritation that causes your dog to bite at it, resulting in infection. Remember that hot spots are very painful for your animals and should be treated right away.


Answer by Lisa
Submitted on 3/22/2005
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My chi licks our hands, faces, anything all the time.  Should I be concerned?  If we let her she'll go on forever!  Is she lacking something in her diet? (when she was little we taught her to *kiss* instead of bite, did we do wrong in doing this?


Answer by kumiko
Submitted on 3/31/2005
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yea our dog bruno bites and licks his paws constantly, he has bald patches on his paws and ankles where hes been at them


Answer by dog lover
Submitted on 7/7/2005
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my toy poodle does it till she starts to cry


Answer by DogLover
Submitted on 2/11/2006
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It's okay because they're just dogs. Dongs don't have feelings like people do. That's why you can hit them a lot and they still love you. The more you hit them the more scared they look but that's really just instinct...they don't hardly feel it. Kinda like a fish.


Answer by yorkie mom
Submitted on 3/5/2006
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Hi All!
I was reading everyone's email, and the licking problem is also an indicator of the diet lacking proper nutrients. So alergies, or lack of natural vitamins and minerals. I know that foods like Iams, Science Diet are recommeded by some veternarians but the new trend that will replace thoes foods and recipes are more holistic foods. A good natural food diet, foods such as: NATURAL BALANCE, MERRICK, WELLNESS, OLD MOTHER HUBBARD, PRARIE, etc are what you want to switch your dog and cats to right away and stay on it!!! Avoid foods with additives such as BHA/BHT, Ethoxyquin, Corn Gluten Meal, By Products, more information can be found on www.drpitcairn.com for natural foods and health care!!! best of luck!


Answer by jess
Submitted on 3/22/2006
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i love dogs


Answer by Ladybug
Submitted on 6/16/2006
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I have a 10 week old chihuahua and he is always biting his foot when he cleans his feet. It thought it was because he had a bite on his foot but I found out that he is just cleaning his foot.


Answer by Bill
Submitted on 6/30/2006
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shut up


Answer by lauren
Submitted on 8/3/2006
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my Chihuahua has been bitting her feet can it be that her nails are to long OR what


Answer by russell
Submitted on 10/29/2006
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My Jack Russell Terrier (Jackson, a rescue dog who was physically abused in his early days) came to me from the Dogs Home and has been with me one year, now. His is three years old but does not entirely believe he is anything other than a baby - probably this is something to do with my facilitating and reinforcing his self image and his behaviour but this is not the problem I have to ask you about. He has taken to biting at his fore-paws and , where his hair is white, there now appear black marks and also reddish marks. I feed him well but I know there is also a chance of some dermatological disturbance. What do you think may be the reasons for all this? Should I take him to the Vet, now?


Answer by dog friend
Submitted on 1/19/2007
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If your dog is biting his feet to the point that they bleed, that's not normal behavior.  If the vet can rule out physiological problems, your dog might have psychological issues.  

Some dogs exhibit neurotic behaviors if they feel they have failed in the roll of pack leader.  They simply want you to be the leader and take the pressure off.  AN example of this sort of behavior would be separation anxiety.  The dog isn't lonely or afraid without you.  He's afraid that you will get hurt in the world outside without him there to lead you.

Some simple leadership techniques might help you out.  It's a similar idea to the stuff you might see on Dog Whisperer.


Answer by bula
Submitted on 5/1/2007
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hello i hate you


Answer by Triniseeker
Submitted on 5/6/2007
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I have a 5 year old dachund female who is frequently licking and biting her paws.  I live in the tropics so "winter reasons" are out. Her pads look OK and she doesnt do it all the time.  Am wondering if its an allergy from lawn grass or simply the dogs way of grooming herself


Answer by hazel
Submitted on 7/18/2007
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I have a maltese and he bites his paws and feet everytime, 24/7. My mother says that they are grooming themselves  but i think that something is wrong. Please take your dog to a vet and prescribe anti flea medicine.


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