Janice M. writes, “My yellow Labrador Retriever pup is about 5 months old. Anytime I try to reward/pet him on the head or scratch behind his ears, he turns his head to chew on my hand. He does this with my husband and our 5-year-old. Our 5-year-old doesn’t like to pet him because of the puppy’s chewing. Why is he doing this? He has plenty of toys and chews in the house and yard.”

Some conditions cannot be prevented but some can.  Dogs should be on monthly flea and tick preventative medication. This will prevent flea allergy reactions and irritated skin. It is important to prevent your dog from being exposed to toxic chemicals. If you spray your lawn with pesticides, your dog should not be allowed to walk on the grass until the chemical is dry. The same thing goes for recently cleaned floors or carpets. Dogs should be provided toys, attention and daily exercise.  Additional activities may help prevent a dog from feeling bored or anxious.
A dog’s deciduous teeth will erupt between three to eight weeks of age and around four to six months of age these teeth will be gradually replaced with permanent teeth. Teething is a painful process and puppies chew more during this period of time because their gums are very irritated during this time and the act of chewing relieves their discomfort. Inappropriate chewing is most likely to occur while the puppy is teething but if not corrected can become a long standing problem even after all the adult teeth emerge and teething ends.
There is no doubt that puppies are tiny bundles of enormous cuteness, but, when it comes to training, you will definitely have your hands full. From excessive barking to doing their business on your bed, trouble can sometimes seem to follow your adorable pup. Add chewing to the mix, and you’ll spend all your free time learning how to discipline a puppy and not go crazy at the same time.
Dogs with environmental allergies may need to have daily allergy shots.  Dogs with flea allergies should be on monthly flea preventative medication. Corns may need to be surgically removed from the pads.  Foreign objects will be removed from the pad and bandaged. Secondary yeast infections are treated with topical antifungal medications.  Bacterial infections are treated with topical and oral antibiotics.  
Some puppies and juvenile dogs like to chew dirty underwear. This problem is most easily resolved by always putting dirty underwear in a closed hamper. Likewise, some puppies and dogs like to raid the garbage and chew up discarded sanitary napkins and tampons. This can be very dangerous. If a dog eats a sanitary item, it can expand while moving through his digestive system. Discard napkins and tampons in a container that’s inaccessible to your dog. Most young dogs grow out of these behaviors as they mature.
Some dogs simply do not get enough physical and mental stimulation. Bored dogs tend look for ways to entertain themselves, and chewing is one option. To prevent destructive chewing, be sure to provide plenty of ways for your dog to exercise his mind and body. Great ways to accomplish this include daily walks and outings, off-leash play with other dogs, tug and fetch games, clicker training classes, dog sports (agility, freestyle, flyball, etc.), and feeding meals in food puzzle toys.
My dog constantly chews and licks her paws. She has done this for several years. She also throws up at least once a week. Sometimes it’s the undigested food, other times it’s yellow color. Three times it has been blood. The vet thinks it’s food allergies, so I changed her food two weeks ago and she is still throwing up. Her WBC is always low too when we do blood work. What else could be the cause?
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.

A pharmacist in 1960 invented this famous product that should deter dogs from chewing up their itchy skin or any other surface. It is the strong bitter flavor that will discourage your dog from chewing your precious furniture. Simply spray the product on all the surfaces you wish to be left undisturbed. The spray is harmless and will not stain your furniture. It can be found in any major pet store. Curiously though, it appears that some dogs are not bothered by the flavor and some have been reported to even like it!

You don’t mention TUFFIES CHEW PROOF beds. I have had mine for more than 4 years now. I have replaced one cover not due to chewing but to digging. Replacement covers are cheap and easy to fit. And they come with a guarantee! My dogs love them and haven’t chewed them at all – because there is nothing they can chew. The beds are waterproof, warm, have a nice wide rim to rest the head on and have very thick duvet-style material in the base. They wash with the hose or with soapy water and dry very quickly since they are waterproof.

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
My dog has been biting his foot for a couple years now. We used to treat it by giving him half of a children's Benadryl pill (vet recommended) but we stopped awhile back when it seemed to stop. Recently he's been biting his foot again but now it's all the time and he softly whines the whole time he's doing it. I think it's time we get him checked out, thoughts?
This psychological approach will tell your dog what not to chew on while offering alternate options. It works because it is a positive way to handle the issue, and dogs seem to learn better this way. Next time your dog goes for his favorite table leg, catch him in the act and startle him by saying “Aaah-aahh!” clapping your hands. Immediately, right after, toss him a chew toy. Once he chews it tell him “Good boy” in a praising matter.
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.
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