Has your Dachshund started chewing on his feet? Is the constant licking and chewing starting to concern you? Here’s everything you need to know about why Dachshunds chew on their feet.
Why Do Dachshunds Chew On Their Feet? Dachshunds chew on their feet because of:
- Dry skin
- Nail problems
- Environmental allergies
- Food allergies
- Cleaning products
- Dust mites
- Interdigital cysts
- Skin infection
Read on to find out what you should do when your Dachshund chews on their feet or nails, how to stop it happening, and how to prevent problems with your Dachshund’s feet from occurring.
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This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist.
The Reasons Why Dachshunds Chew On Their Feet
The main reasons Dachshunds chew on their feet or nails are:
If you suffer from dry skin, you know how itchy it can be. Dachshunds can get the same thing!
If your Dachshund is suffering from dry skin, he’ll probably chew at his feet to try and relieve the itching.
Your Dachshund’s feet are the perfect environment for parasites like fleas and ticks.
Dachshunds are close to the ground, which means it’s easy for parasites to latch onto your Dachshund while he’s walking. They love dark, warm nooks and crannies to bury into!
If your Dachshund has parasites, his feet will be very itchy and he’ll chew to try and get rid of them.
Boredom or anxiety
Some Dachshunds chew their feet because they’re feeling bored, lonely or anxious. Chewing is simply a distraction that could turn into a bad habit if not dealt with right away.
Problems with your Dachshund’s nails
Nail problems can often cause Dachshunds to chew at their feet.
When your Dachshund’s nails grow too long, they can become very uncomfortable, as they actually push back into the nail bed.
Also, if your Dachshund has broken a nail, he may chew it to try and relieve any soreness.
Your Dachshund could also have something lodged under his nails, causing him pain or discomfort.
If the nail bed looks red or inflamed, it might be infected and this may also cause him to chew or lick his feet.
There’s also a rare disease called ‘Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy’ that could affect your Dachshund’s nails. It weakens a dog’s immune system and makes their nails lift off and break.
All of these things may make your Dachshund chew at his nails or paws.
One of the biggest causes of nail and paw chewing in Dachshunds is allergies.
Dachshunds are particularly prone to allergies and coming into contact with allergens because of how much time they spend digging and scurrying through the dirt and grass outside.
When your Dachshund has an allergic reaction, his feet can feel really itchy and irritated.
So if you suspect your Dachshund may have an allergy, you’ll need to try and work out what he’s come into contact with and then reduce his contact with that allergen.
You’ll also need to visit the vet to get treatment for his allergy and see what else you can do.
Food allergies are common in Dachshunds too. The culprits are usually things like chicken, beef, lamb, dairy, wheat, eggs, corn or soy.
One thing that is often overlooked is household cleaning products.
Your Dachshund may have an allergic reaction if his paws come into contact with chemicals or cleaning products in your home, or that have been used to wash his bed or blankets.
Grass (and pesticides used on grass)
Some Dachshunds are allergic to grass, so this could definitely make his feet itchy because he’s in direct contact with the allergen when he goes into the garden.
Your Dachshund might also have a reaction if you walk through an area of grass where pesticides have recently been sprayed.
Just like us humans get hay fever, Dachshunds can be allergic to pollen too. Your Dachshund may suffer with itchy eyes, itchy skin or itchy paws.
Some Dachshunds suffer with atopy, which is a life-long skin disease that causes itchy, irritable skin and paws.
The symptoms are triggered by allergens like pollen. Sadly, you can only manage the symptoms because it’s thought to be an inherited disease with no cure.
Your Dachshund may be allergic to dust mites, which could be living in his bedding, or on your carpet or sofas.
Your Dachshund may be chewing his feet to try to remove something that’s stuck between his paw pads. For example, a splinter, twig or small stone.
There might also be something punctured inside your your Dachshund’s paw pad that he’s trying to chew out.
If your Dachshund’s toe is broken, he may lick it to try and soothe the pain.
He may also lick or chew any small injuries or cuts to relieve soreness or itchiness.
Ringworm can cause the skin around your Dachshund’s paws to feel itchy. You might notice a rash or red skin too.
Interdigital cysts are big bumps between your Dachshund’s toes. They’re filled with blood or pus and can be very irritating and painful for them.
Your vet can easily get rid of them. So, as long as you get them seen to right away, they’re normally nothing to worry about.
Whatever the reason your Dachshund is chewing his feet, you need to try to stop him from doing it so the skin doesn’t become infected.
The problem with licking and chewing is that the skin can break, leaving it open to yeast and bacterial infections.
Saliva can also get stuck under your Dachshund’s nails, which creates moisture and is then open to infection.
Because infected skin is itchy, it can encourage your Dachshund to chew even more, so the area keeps getting reinfected and the cycle continues.
How Do I Stop My Dachshund Chewing Their Paws?
While you can’t prevent all allergies and skin issues from happening, you can definitely make changes to address some of the things that cause Dachshunds to chew at their feet.
This is how to stop your Dachshund chewing their paws:
Check your Dachshund’s feet
Check your Dachshund’s feet over carefully. Look to see if there’s anything stuck under his nails. Check in-between his paw pads too.
Can you see any wounds or crustiness? Are there any signs of bruising on the paws that could indicate a broken toe? Are there puncture wounds on his paw pads? Can you see any redness or bleeding on his feet? Are any of his nails broken or too long? Has his hair matted up underneath or around his foot?
Check for other symptoms too. Is he limping? Is the troubled area red, swollen, bleeding or smelly?
Also, is he only chewing one foot? If his chewing is confined to one paw, this suggests there’s something going on with that paw, rather than an allergy or condition that would affect all of his feet.
So there may be something stuck in the pad or under the nail, or there may be some other injury. If you can’t find anything but can see that it’s bothering him, contact your vet for advice.
Check your Dachshund for parasites
Check your Dachshund carefully for signs of ticks or fleas. Be sure to look between the paw pads too and deal with them right away if you find any.
Bath your Dachshund
To relieve the discomfort, give your Dachshund a warm bath and pay special attention to his feet. Trim any hair on the balls of his feet and be sure to clean inside his paw pads.
You can also bathe your Dachshund with a small amount of Epsom salts as this should make him feel a lot more comfortable. You can either pop him in the bath tub or just soak his feet using a small bowl or tub.
Keeping your Dachshund’s feet clean is important, especially if you’ve walked in muddy or wooded areas. You don’t always need to do a full bath, but a foot wash can help to keep his paws clean and free of debris.
Take your Dachshund to the vet
If your Dachshund is constantly chewing his feet, take him to the vet.
They’ll be able to check his paws carefully for any foreign objects or injuries, and they’ll also be able to test him for allergies too.
Don’t ignore it if for too long. If your Dachshund is uncomfortable, it’s important to find out the reason why so you can get treatment and stop it happening.
Pop your Dachshund in a cone
One of the best ways to stop your Dachshund chewing his feet while they heal is to use an Elizabethan collar or cone.
This’ll stop him being able to reach his feet and help the area to heal properly.
Get your Dachshund some dog boots
You could try putting dog boots or socks on your Dachshund’s feet to keep the affected area covered and stop your Dachshund from chewing it.
However, you do need to find out the cause of the problem first so you can do what you need to do to treat it.
Maintain your Dachshund’s nails
Clip your Dachshund’s nails so they don’t get too long and cause problems. To learn how to do that, click here.
Keep the home dust free
If you suspect your Dachshund has environmental allergies, vacuum your home regularly to remove dust mites. Wash his bedding in natural eco washing powder and keep his areas as clean as possible.
Use pet-safe products
Use pet-safe cleaning products that won’t irritate your Dachshund’s skin. Dachshunds can be allergic to so many scents and chemicals found in regular cleaning and laundry products. So use chemical free alternatives where possible.
Keep on top of treatments
Keep your Dachshund up to date with all of his parasite, flea and worming treatments.
Speak to your vet for advice on this.
Stimulate your Dachshund mentally and physically
Make sure your Dachshund gets plenty of love and attention during the day. Schedule in at least one playtime session every day to keep him both mentally and physically stimulated.
Make sure your adult Dachshund gets at least 30-60 minutes of exercise per day too, whether that’s with you or a dog walker.
If you’re out a lot, ask someone to check in on your Dachshund during the day so he doesn’t get lonely and then start to develop bad habits.
If your Dachshund is prone to dry skin, moisturise his paws over winter using a dog-friendly balm.
You could also add a small amount of coconut oil or fish oil to his food once or twice a week to help increase the moisture levels in his skin and coat.
So, there you have it! Dachshunds chew at their feet for many reasons from skin issues, parasites and allergies, to injuries, anxiety and boredom. A warm water bath is the first port of call but, if he’s constantly chewing and licking his feet, check over his paws for visible problems and speak to your vet for advice.
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