Home Shih Tzu Dog Problems Shih Tzu is Licking, Chewing at Paws – Causes & Care

Shih Tzu is Licking, Chewing at Paws – Causes & Care

by Scott Lipe
Shih Tzu is Licking, Chewing at Paws

Is your Shih Tzu constantly licking and chewing at its paws? This behavior can lead to sores, bleeding, infection, and hair loss if left unaddressed. Excessive paw licking and chewing are common issues that Shih Tzu owners face, and it is crucial to understand the causes and provide proper care for your furry friend.

Key Takeaways:

  • Excessive paw licking and chewing in Shih Tzus can result in sores, bleeding, infection, and hair loss.
  • The top reasons for Shih Tzus licking or chewing at their paws include allergies, boredom or stress, dry skin, and yeast infection.
  • Allergies can cause itching and lead to excessive paw licking in Shih Tzus.
  • Boredom or stress can trigger excessive paw licking and chewing in Shih Tzus.
  • Shih Tzus are prone to dry skin, especially on their paws.

Clinical Signs of Excessive Paw Licking and Chewing

Excessive paw licking and chewing in Shih Tzus can be a sign of underlying issues and can lead to various health problems. It is important to identify and address this behavior to prevent further complications and promote paw health in your beloved pet.

Here are some clinical signs to look out for:

  • Sores and Wounds: Excessive licking and chewing can cause sores and wounds on your Shih Tzu’s paws. These can be painful and may lead to bleeding, infection, and scabs.
  • Hair Loss: The constant licking and chewing can result in noticeable hair loss on the paws, making them appear patchy and thin.
  • Redness and Swelling: If your Shih Tzu’s paws appear red and swollen, it could be a sign of irritation caused by excessive licking and chewing.
  • Skin Infections: The broken skin from excessive licking and chewing can create an entry point for bacteria and fungi, leading to skin infections.
  • Limping or Lameness: In severe cases, excessive paw licking and chewing can cause pain, resulting in limping or lameness in your Shih Tzu.

If you notice any of these signs or suspect that your Shih Tzu is experiencing excessive paw licking and chewing, it is crucial to take action promptly. Not only can these behaviors cause discomfort and pain for your pet, but they can also worsen if left untreated.

The Importance of Addressing Excessive Paw Licking and Chewing



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Excessive paw licking and chewing can be indicative of underlying health issues, and addressing them is essential to promote your Shih Tzu’s overall well-being. By identifying the root cause of this behavior, you can take appropriate measures to prevent further complications and improve your pet’s paw health.

Next, we will explore the top reasons why Shih Tzus lick or chew their paws and provide practical tips to help you address and manage this behavior effectively.

Top Reasons for Licking or Chewing at the Paws

Excessive paw licking and chewing in Shih Tzus can be a concerning behavior. There are several common causes that contribute to this habit, leading to discomfort and irritation in your furry friend’s paws. Understanding these reasons can help you address the issue effectively and promote your Shih Tzu’s paw health.

Allergies

Allergies, such as pollen, dust, or certain food items, can trigger itching and irritation in your Shih Tzu’s paws, causing them to lick and chew excessively. Identifying the allergens and taking steps to reduce your pet’s exposure to them can help alleviate the symptoms and prevent further paw irritation.

Boredom or Stress

Just like humans, Shih Tzus can experience boredom or stress, which can lead to compulsive behaviors like excessive paw licking and chewing. Engaging your furry companion with mentally stimulating toys, regular exercise, and creating a calm and peaceful environment can help reduce boredom and stress, minimizing paw-related issues.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is another common factor that can contribute to paw licking and chewing in Shih Tzus. Ensuring proper hydration for your pet, increasing humidity levels in your home, and using specialized paw wax can help moisturize their paws and prevent dry skin, reducing the urge to lick and chew.

Yeast Infection

Yeast infections are fungal infections that can occur on your Shih Tzu’s paws. These infections cause itching and discomfort, leading to excessive licking and chewing. Treating the yeast infection with medicated shampoos and sprays, as prescribed by your veterinarian, can help alleviate the symptoms and discourage the paw licking behavior.

Now that you are aware of the top reasons for paw licking and chewing in Shih Tzus, you can take proactive steps to prevent and manage this issue. In the next section, we will explore effective tips and strategies to help you prevent your Shih Tzu from licking and chewing their paws.

Top Reasons for Licking or Chewing at the Paws

Allergies Boredom or Stress Dry Skin Yeast Infection
Triggers itching and irritation Causes compulsive behavior Leads to dry and itchy paws Results in fungal infection
Identify and reduce allergens Provide mental stimulation Ensure proper hydration Treat with medicated products
Prevent further paw irritation Create a calm environment Use paw wax for moisturization Alleviate symptoms and discourage the behavior

Allergies in Shih Tzu Dogs

common allergies causing paw licking in shih tzus

Allergies can be a common cause of paw licking in Shih Tzu dogs. When Shih Tzus are allergic to certain substances, their immune system triggers an inflammatory response, leading to itching and discomfort. This can result in repetitive paw licking and chewing behaviors.

Common allergens that can cause paw licking in Shih Tzus include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Certain food items

If your Shih Tzu is experiencing allergies, it’s crucial to identify and reduce exposure to these allergens. Here are some remedies to help alleviate the symptoms and reduce paw licking:

  1. Keep your home clean: Regularly vacuum and dust to reduce pollen and dust particles in your home environment.
  2. Provide a hypoallergenic diet: Consult with your veterinarian to determine if changing your Shih Tzu’s diet can help reduce allergic reactions.
  3. Use paw wipes: Gently wipe your Shih Tzu’s paws after walks to remove any potential allergens that may have been picked up outdoors.
  4. Consider allergy medication: Speak to your veterinarian about allergy medications that can help alleviate itching and reduce the urge to lick the paws.

By addressing allergies and implementing these remedies, you can help your Shih Tzu find relief from the discomfort of paw licking and chewing.

Note: If your Shih Tzu’s paw licking and chewing behavior persists or worsens, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and customized treatment plan.

Boredom or Stress in Shih Tzus

Boredom or stress can contribute to excessive paw licking and chewing in Shih Tzus. Just like humans, dogs can exhibit anxiety-related behaviors that may lead to this grooming behavior.

To prevent your Shih Tzu from compulsively licking its paws, it’s essential to provide mental and physical stimulation. Engage your furry friend with interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and regular exercise. These activities will keep your Shih Tzu entertained, release excess energy, and redirect their focus away from their paws.

Creating a peaceful environment is also crucial in managing excessive grooming behavior. Reduce noisy distractions, provide a comfortable resting area, and establish a consistent routine. By promoting a calm and stress-free atmosphere, you can help alleviate boredom and minimize the likelihood of your Shih Tzu licking their paws excessively.

Addressing separation anxiety is another key aspect to manage your Shih Tzu’s paw licking. Separation anxiety can cause stress and trigger grooming behaviors as a coping mechanism. Gradual desensitization, crate training, and providing comforting items like a familiar blanket or toy can help your Shih Tzu feel more secure when alone, reducing their urge to groom excessively.

Remember, understanding and addressing the underlying causes of boredom or stress in your Shih Tzu is crucial to prevent paw licking and promote their overall well-being.

Dry Skin in Shih Tzus

shih tzu licking paws

Shih Tzus are prone to dry skin, especially on their paws. This can be uncomfortable for your furry friend and lead to excessive licking and chewing behavior. To help prevent dry skin and reduce paw licking and chewing, follow these tips:

  1. Increased humidity: Dry indoor air can contribute to dry skin in Shih Tzus. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air, particularly in the areas where your Shih Tzu spends most of their time.
  2. Proper hydration: Ensure that your Shih Tzu is properly hydrated by providing fresh water at all times. Dehydration can worsen dry skin.
  3. Protective paw wax: Consider using a paw wax specifically formulated for dogs to protect their paws from dryness. Paw wax creates a barrier that helps seal in moisture and prevent further damage.

By implementing these measures, you can help keep your Shih Tzu’s paws moisturized and minimize the urge to lick and chew. However, if the problem persists or worsens, it is always advisable to consult with your veterinarian for further guidance and treatment options.

Yeast Infection on the Paws

Yeast infections on the paws can cause itching and lead to excessive paw licking and chewing in Shih Tzus. It is important to address this issue promptly to alleviate discomfort and prevent further complications.

Treating a yeast infection on your Shih Tzu’s paws requires a multi-step approach. Start by cleaning the infected area with a medicated shampoo specifically formulated to combat yeast. Be sure to follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian to ensure effective and safe use.

After shampooing, it is recommended to apply a medicated spray directly to the affected paws. This spray can help soothe the itchiness and provide relief to your furry friend. Again, consult your veterinarian for the appropriate product and usage instructions.

Remember, yeast infections can be a persistent problem, so it’s important to address the underlying causes as well. Keep your Shih Tzu’s paws clean and dry, as yeast thrives in moist environments. Regularly trim the hair around the paws to reduce moisture retention.

Additionally, consider adjusting your dog’s diet to support immune health and strengthen the body’s ability to fight off yeast overgrowth. Consult your veterinarian for dietary recommendations suitable for your Shih Tzu.

By implementing these remedies and preventive measures, you can help alleviate the symptoms of yeast infection, reduce paw licking, and promote overall paw health in your Shih Tzu.

Conclusion

Excessive licking and chewing of paws in Shih Tzus can be a concerning behavior that requires attention. Various factors, including allergies, boredom or stress, dry skin, and yeast infection, can contribute to this behavior. By identifying and addressing the underlying causes, you can effectively manage and promote paw health in your beloved Shih Tzu.

If you notice your Shih Tzu engaging in excessive paw licking and chewing, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and guidance. A veterinarian can determine the specific cause of the behavior and recommend appropriate treatment options, such as allergy management, stress reduction techniques, or dry skin remedies.

In addition, implementing preventive measures is crucial to prevent and minimize paw licking and chewing in Shih Tzus. Creating a stimulating environment, providing mental and physical stimulation, and ensuring proper hygiene and hydration can significantly reduce the likelihood of this behavior.

Remember, maintaining your Shih Tzu’s paw health requires a holistic approach, involving both identification and treatment of underlying causes, as well as preventive care. With proper care and guidance, you can help your Shih Tzu overcome excessive paw licking and chewing and ensure their overall well-being.

FAQ

Q: What are the reasons for a Shih Tzu licking or chewing at its paws?

A: The top reasons for a Shih Tzu licking or chewing at its paws include allergies, boredom or stress, dry skin, and yeast infection.

Q: How can allergies contribute to excessive paw licking in Shih Tzus?

A: Shih Tzus can have allergies to common allergens such as pollen, dust, and certain food items, which can cause itching and lead to excessive paw licking. Identifying and reducing allergens can help alleviate the symptoms and reduce paw licking and chewing behavior.

Q: Can boredom or stress cause a Shih Tzu to lick or chew its paws excessively?

A: Yes, boredom or stress can be triggers for excessive paw licking and chewing in Shih Tzus. Providing mental and physical stimulation, creating a peaceful environment, and addressing separation anxiety can help manage this behavior and reduce paw licking.

Q: How can dry skin contribute to paw licking in Shih Tzus?

A: Shih Tzus are prone to dry skin, especially on their paws. Increasing humidity levels, ensuring proper hydration, and using paw wax to protect the paws can help prevent dry skin and reduce paw licking and chewing.

Q: Can yeast infection cause a Shih Tzu to lick or chew its paws excessively?

A: Yes, yeast infections on the paws can cause itching and lead to excessive paw licking and chewing in Shih Tzus. Treating yeast infection with medicated shampoo and spray can help alleviate the symptoms and reduce paw licking behavior.

Q: How can I stop my Shih Tzu from licking and chewing its paws?

A: To stop your Shih Tzu from licking and chewing its paws excessively, it’s important to identify and address the underlying causes such as allergies, boredom or stress, dry skin, or yeast infection. Consulting with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and guidance is recommended.

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