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If your cute pooch is nibbling on her paws to the point of redness and swelling, don't dismiss her habit as merely a short-lived phase. Your little one may be chewing on her paws to cope with uncomfortable itching symptoms.
Paw chewing is sometimes an indication of allergies, indicates the ASPCA. When you observe paw chewing alongside a variety of other classic allergy symptoms, such as itching, sneezing, scabbing and watery eyes, then you may be on the right track to figuring out what exactly is bothering your pet. If your fluff ball seems to incessantly chew her paws to the point that they have taken on a swollen and raw appearance, then a veterinary appointment is in order.
One of the most maddening -- yet common -- signs of many allergies is severe itchiness. If you're wondering why your doggie resorts to chewing his paws of all things, remember that contrary to people, canines don't exactly have long fingers that are useful for scratching purposes. Because of the lack of fingers, dogs turn to their teeth instead. Chewing and licking may help alleviate the discomfort associated with constant itchiness.
Apart from swelling and redness, your doggie's paws may take on an unusually dry, flaky and crusty appearance due to frequent chewing. In some cases, dogs continue obsessively chewing at their paws as habit even when the initial allergen is long gone. Excessive paw chewing can also occasionally lead to infection, so take your pooch to the vet as soon as you suspect a problem.
Certain dog breeds are more susceptible genetically to the development of airborne allergies that may lead to itchiness and ultimately paw chewing. According to The Merck Manual for Pet Health, some examples of breeds that are particularly vulnerable to the presence of allergens in the environment are Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos, shih tzus, Labrador retrievers, dalmatians, shar-peis and West Highland white terriers. If your pet is one of these specific breeds, pay closer attention to her paw situation, especially if she seems to often suffer from allergy symptoms.