If you find your dog is bloodying his paws or otherwise hurting himself trying to escape the crate, another course of action needs to be taken. For cases of severe separation anxiety, an applied animal behavior or other behavior consultant should be employed. This serious problem will need an individualized behavior modification program and possibly drug therapy to be resolved.
So, what are some other common answers to, “Why do dogs chew their feet?” Numerous between-the-toes skin diseases can cause a dog to chew his feet, says Dr. Remillard, who founded Veterinary Nutritional Consultations Inc. in Hollister, North Carolina. In addition, injury or pain (such as from arthritis or hip dysplasia), as well as autoimmune diseases, cysts, tumors and cancer can lead to foot biting. Some dogs might munch their digits due to skin infections caused by hormonal imbalances, namely too much cortisol or too little thyroid hormone.
Dogs who are prevented from engaging in exciting activities sometimes direct biting, shaking, tearing and chewing at nearby objects. Shelter dogs and puppies sometimes grab and shake blankets or bowls in their kennels whenever people walk by because they’d like attention. When they don’t get it, their frustration is expressed through destructive behavior. A dog who sees a squirrel or cat run by and wants to chase but is behind a fence might grab and chew at the gate. A dog watching another dog in a training class might become so excited by the sight of his canine classmate having fun that he grabs and chews his leash. (Agility and Flyball dogs are especially prone to this behavior because they watch other dogs racing around and having a great time, and they want to join in the action.) The best intervention for this problem is to anticipate when frustration might happen and give your dog an appropriate toy for shaking and tearing. In a class situation, carry a tug or stuffed toy for your dog to hold and chew. If your dog is frustrated by animals or objects on the other side of a fence or gate at home, tie a rope toy to something sturdy by the gate or barrier. Provide shelter dogs and puppies with toys and chew bones in their kennels. Whenever possible, teach them to approach the front of their kennels and sit quietly to solicit attention from passersby.
It’s natural for a dog to greet people by jumping up. But that can scare away guests. Turn away if your dog jumps on you. Don't give your dog attention unless he has his front paws on the ground. Then you can greet him and pet him. Or tell him to sit and wait until he does before you pet him. Try to keep your greetings low-key. That helps your dog learn to control his own excitement. Make sure he doesn’t bother or scare people who aren't used to him.
When you can’t supervise your dog, you must find a way to prevent him from chewing on inappropriate things in your absence. For example, if you work during the day, you can leave your dog at home in a confinement area for up to six hours. Use a crate or put your dog in a small room with the door or a baby gate closed. Be sure to remove all things that your dog shouldn’t chew from his confinement area, and give him a variety of appropriate toys and chew things to enjoy instead. Keep in mind that if you confine your dog, you’ll need to give him plenty of exercise and quality time with you when he’s not confined.
THE ANXIOUS DOG is one who suffers from feelings of social isolation. Dogs are pack animals and many do not take it very well when they are left on their own to “defend their territory.” There is safety in numbers for pack oriented animals, and what the anxious dog needs is a secure and comfortable place to stay when he is left behind. Once again, a kennel crate may be the tool of choice. Introduce the dog to the crate in a positive manner. Never use the crate for punishment. This is your dog’s den — he should be happy and secure when he’s inside. As with the lonely dog, there should be no long, emotional goodbyes. However, before you leave his chew toy with him in his crate, rub the toy between your palms. This action imparts your scent to the toy and tends to focus the dog on this object rather than something else.
Puppy chewing is often caused by the fact that either their baby teeth are erupting, or they are being replaced by permanent teeth. The tiny, needle-like teeth erupt when your pooch is around 3 to 8 weeks old, and just when you get used to scratches from nipping, they start teething again. Dogs stop teething when they are around 4 to 6 months old when all of their milk teeth are replaced by adult ones.
Patience and consistency are the key factors leading to success. You need to ensure that each and every time your dog heads for your wood coffee table you correct him promptly and hand him a chew toy. This may be pretty annoying at first, but gradually you should notice the attempts tapering off. It is vital that you and your family members are all on the same track, ensuring that everyone will correct in the same correct matter. All it takes is a couple of episodes that are not corrected promptly to positively reinforce the behavior and return. If you are unable to watch your dog it would be in your best interest if you would crate him until you can trust him alone. Remember: corrections must occur within 5 seconds in order to be fully effective. Dogs do not have the same attention spans as humans do. If it takes longer than 5 seconds your dog may no longer know what he did wrong and will not be able to associate the correction with the wood chewing.
Available everywhere and relatively inexpensive, rawhides can be a good chew option for some dogs. Plenty of dogs chew rawhides without incident. However, some dogs end up with bits of rawhide lodged in their “windpipe” (trachea), causing choking; or big pieces in their stomach, causing a digestive obstruction. If your dog actually chews the rawhide, rather than biting off and gulping large chunks, they’ll likely be OK — they may even get some teeth-cleaning benefits. This is especially true if you pick up a VOHC-approved “dental rawhide.”
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.
The physical causes may need addressed by your vet. Your dog may need a dental cleaning or have a gum issue. The psychological causes may need addressed by a behaviorist if the above remedies do not seem to work. A dog behaviorist may help you learn tecniques to better train your dog and may recommend some medications. Do not try to address behavior issues on your own. For instance, if you tell an anxious dog to stop chewing furniture it may start chewing it’s own paws or chasing its tail instead.
These chews — which include things like Greenies®, Dentastix™, Brushing Chews®, VeggieDent® Chews, and others — don’t last very long and therefore won't provide much long-term satisfaction for your dog’s chewing needs and desires. That said, they can provide some help with your dog’s short-term chewing desires and can even provide some help with their dental and oral health, as many of these chews can help minimize or slow plaque and/or tartar buildup. Just be aware that they can also add a fair number of calories to your dog’s diet and should only be given in moderation, especially to a dog with a weight problem. Additionally, these can become a choking hazard or digestive obstruction if your dog bites off and swallows large chunks - so always observe how your dog is chewing and interacting with these and take them away if they're not chewing well or safely enough.
It’s normal for puppies and dogs to chew on objects as they explore the world. Chewing accomplishes a number of things for a dog. For young dogs, it’s a way to relieve pain that might be caused by incoming teeth. For older dogs, it’s nature’s way of keeping jaws strong and teeth clean. Chewing also combats boredom and can relieve mild anxiety or frustration.