Thank you for your question. Environmental allergies are a very common cause for dogs chewing at their feet, as are bacterial and fungal infections. There are very good anti-histamine and allergy medication available for dogs that does provide relief from these signs. It might be a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about trying some of these medications.
There are many chews on the market today that can be considered safer for dogs because they are digestible and not too hard for teeth. It is important to remember that even large chunks from digestible chews can still cause GI upset or blockage. Always supervise your dog after giving it chews. If the dog seems to be swallowing large chunks, take the chew away. Furthermore, if the dog develops vomiting, diarrhea, or other signs of illness, see your vet right away.
Your dog may be a big chewer necessitating stronger chew toys. Invest in some “heavy duty” chew toys such as Nylabones or pretty durable rubber toys. Try to stay away from rawhide bones that may cause choking and even intestinal obstructions. Stay away as well from squeaky toys as many dogs have gone through the toy and ingested the squeaker requiring major surgery. Kongs are very durable and great as they may be stuffed with peanut butter or other goodies. They may also be frozen to relieve puppy’s teething pain. If you are not supplying the right chew toys that meets your dog’s chewing requirements he/she may easily find your furniture much more appealing. Try to make the toys more atrractive by routinely alternating them to prevent boredom.
Chewing is a perfectly normal behavior for dogs of all ages. Both wild and domestic dogs spend hours chewing bones. This activity keeps their jaws strong and their teeth clean. Dogs love to chew on bones, sticks and just about anything else available. They chew for fun, they chew for stimulation, and they chew to relieve anxiety. While chewing behavior is normal, dogs sometimes direct their chewing behavior toward inappropriate items. Both puppies and adult dogs should have a variety of appropriate and attractive chew toys. However, just providing the right things to chew isn’t enough to prevent inappropriate chewing. Dogs need to learn what is okay to chew and what is not. They need to be taught in a gentle, humane manner.
We just got a 9 yr old shiz tzu. He’s obsessively biting, chewing, and grunting over his feet and his butt. His previous owner had a prescription for anxiety meds and I gave him half of one pill (dose age) and have just about doused him with anti itch spray. Bathed him and no good! Food allergy maybe? He eats pedigree small bites, but my rat terrier had a similar problem and it cleared up after we changed his food. Any suggestions?
Use bad-tasting repellants and sprays. You can keep puppies and adult dogs away from some items by using impersonal correction, preferably where the “environment” does the correcting. For example, spray items with Bitter Apple spray or Boundary dog repellant, or use a Scat Mat at the edge of a countertop, to stop counter surfers. This type of training operates on the same principle as a child touching a hot stove – if something is particularly unpleasant, most likely the child or the dog will make the decision not to repeat that behavior.
Bully sticks: These are one of the most popular dog chews today. Made of beef pizzle (yes, that means penis), they are dense, flavorful and come in various sizes. Bully sticks are among the longest lasting of the safer chews, and dogs love the taste and texture. For aggressive chewers, braided bully sticks tend to last longer. The negative thing about bully sticks is that they can be a bit costly and they stink pretty badly. In addition, some experts worry about their safety from contamination with bacteria. Seek out bully sticks from reputable sources. And, try low odor bully sticks to save your nose.