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11 Reasons Why Schnauzers Lick & Chew Their Paws + Tips

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Recently you’ve noticed your schnauzer is licking & chewing their paws quite a lot. And this new behavior has you a little worried. Is it normal for schnauzers to lick and chew their paws? Or is something going on?

Why Do Schnauzers Lick And Chew Their Paws:

The most natural reason for a schnauzer to lick and chew their paws is for self-grooming purposes. Other reasons why your schnauzer might be licking and chewing their paws more often are anxiety, allergies, they’re in pain, parasites, dry skin or even an infection.

In this post you’ll discover 11 possible reasons why your schnauzer is licking & chewing their paws more, what it really means when a schnauzer licks their paws as well as 3 helpful tips to reduce or even completely stop this behavior.

Tip #2 is a must!

Let’s jump right in.

11 Reasons Why Schnauzers Lick & Chew Their Paws

1) Separation Anxiety

If you’ve noticed your schnauzer excessively licking or chewing their paws they could be self-soothing.

But, their self-soothing becomes problematic when it’s done too often as they can lick or chew their paws raw.

If their paw licking is new there are a few things that could have sparked their separation anxiety.

ASPCA says that there are other ways outside of traumatic early experiences that can create separation anxiety in a dog.

Those are:

  • Moving to a new home
  • Recent change in owner
  • The passing of a loved one (could be a canine companion or person)
  • Change in daily schedule

If any of these environmental changes have happened recently for your schnauzer, their new paw licking & chewing could be from anxiety.

[Nothing brings peace of mind quite like speaking with a vet – click here to chat with a vet online now]

2) Allergic Reaction

Your schnauzer could be having an allergic reaction which is causing them to lick their paws for relief.

If a dog is excessively licking & chewing on their paws because of allergies, it’s most commonly to do with their food.

However, it can also be caused from seasonal allergies where pollen and other allergens are getting trapped in their paws.

It’s best to see your vet to confirm if their paw chewing is from allergies.

Once you know for sure it’s allergies, you can try giving them different, hypoallergenic dog food.

These types of foods specialize in leaving out traditional ingredients that are known for causing allergic reactions in dogs.

Related Reading: 8 Reasons Why Schnauzers Itch So Much + 4 Helpful Tips

3) Boredom

If your schnauzer isn’t getting at least 60 minutes of good physical activity each day, they may lick & chew their paws out of boredom.

Schnauzer’s also need more mental stimulation than other breeds because they’re so smart.

Out of 131 different breeds, schnauzers rank 18 in terms of intelligence.

This means they learn things quickly and need frequent mental stimulation/challenges.

If they don’t get that paired with limited exercise, they may start behaving destructively.

And in your pups case, they may have chosen paw licking & chewing as their boredom buster behavior.

4) Natural Grooming

The least severe reason in the whole list is that they’re simply grooming themselves.

If your schnauzer is licking their paws but not to an obsessive extent, they’re just giving themselves a cleaning in between baths.

They don’t have shoes when they go outside so their paws collect all kinds of dirt & debris.

When they lick and chew on their paws they might simply be attempting to remove some of what they’ve collected on their daily adventures.

5) Parasites/Pests

If your schnauzer has some unwanted pests or parasites living in their paws this can definitely be a reason for them to lick excessively.

More common parasites that your pup might unfortunately have are fleas, ticks and even mites.

Each of these will make their paws quite itchy which of course makes them lick or chew to provide some relief.

To help prevent them from getting fleas and ticks in the future there are collars that can be helpful as well as a visit to the vet to get a shot/pill.

6) OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) could also be a cause for your schnauzers paw licking and chewing.

This is probably the least likely if their paw licking is a new behavior, but is still an option nonetheless.

OCD can stem from pain, neurological diseases as well as skin diseases.

PetMD shares that their licking likely started as a means of coping. This is because licking can be calming for a dog.

The problem is when they continue to do it even though it’s not for coping anymore.

It’s simply become a habit/compulsive behavior.

7) Pain/Injury

If your schnauzers paws are barkin’ it could be why they’re licking them so much.

They have no protection on their paws so when they venture out into the world, anything and everything can get caught in them as well as injure them.

Here are a few possible injuries that could be causing them pain:

  • Burnt paw pads
  • Snow or ice caught in their paws
  • Bug bites or possibly a bee sting
  • A sharp rock, thorn or piece of metal/plastic could be caught in their paw
  • Torn nail/hangnail
  • Overgrown nails
  • Nail trimmed too short
  • A cut on their paw
  • Walking on salted surfaces for too long
  • A growth

Closely inspect their paws to see if you can find anything obviously wrong that could be causing them discomfort.

Click here to find a simple at-home dog first aid kit that can help minor injuries.

But if it’s something more serious they should be taken to the vet.

8) Dry Skin

If you’ve had a bad case of dry skin at some point in your life, you know how irritating and itchy it can become.

So if your schnauzer is dealing with dry skin on their paws, it’s no wonder they’re excessively licking or chewing to give themselves some relief.

The best thing to do for your pup in this situation is what you’d do for yourself, moisturize.

However, you want to ensure you’re using a product that’s suitable for dogs.

9) Ringworm

Ringworm is tricky to diagnose/notice on your pup.

While yes, sometimes it will show up as a round, red ring surrounding the affected area, other times it could be a patch of hair loss, or they may show no symptoms at all.

If your pup does have an obvious round, red ring, then you know to take them to the vet to get treatment.

If you’re completely unsure why they’re licking and chewing their paws so much you should still take them to the vet to see what they’re able to find.

10) Yeast

A yeast infection can develop on your schnauzers paws when they’re exposed to too much moisture for too long.

When yeast develops it usually produces an off-putting smell, is itchy for your pup, and makes their skin and coat greasy when infected.

This doesn’t go away on it’s own and thankfully can be treated with medicated shampoos and dog wipes.

Here are a few top quality shampoos and wipes to help get rid of their yeast infection:

11) Dermatitis

Another skin condition that could be causing your schnauzers excessive paw chewing is dermatitis.

This one is tricky to tell if something is wrong because their paw pads and feet will appear normal.

It’s typically caused by bacterial issues, food sensitivities or allergies.

They could be allergic to some chemicals that were used on you or your neighbors yard, or because of certain allergens from grass & weeds.

If your schnauzer has dermatitis, keep a bowl of water at the door and give them a good clean after they spend time outside.

3 Tips To Help Your Schnauzer Stop Licking & Chewing Their Paws

1) Help Them With Their Anxious Feelings

If your schnauzer is often anxious due to stress or boredom, do your best to help them cope.

This can be done simply by playing with them more, giving them more attention in general, going for longer walks, or getting them mind stimulating toys.

The less pent up energy they have, the less likely they are to feel stressed out or bored.

If your pup is unfortunately battling with separation anxiety, this might require more work to help them stop their licking behavior.

In this case, you’d need to find their trigger and gradually expose them to it more and more until they’ve become okay with it.

If you’re having trouble identifying their trigger, consulting with a behavioral specialist is always an option.

2) Give Their Paws More Attention

Whether it’s grooming their paws more frequently and ensuring they’re in good shape, or helping keep them clean, do your best to give them more attention.

If your pup is doing anything in excess, they’re clearly in some degree of discomfort.

So if your schnauzer is frequently licking or chewing their paws, do your best to give their paws more attention.

You might find wounds/cuts, burns, ticks, dry skin, or overgrown nails.

The more you pay attention to them, the less likely they’ll get to a place where they’re quite bothersome for your pup.

3) Take Them To See The Vet

Many of the reasons for them to be licking & chewing their paws are emotional reasons that aren’t obvious.

Others are quite obvious because you can see something is physically wrong with their paw(s).

Regardless of the reason you think it is for them to be excessively licking their paws, a trip to the vet is never a bad idea.

That way you can know for certain what the issue is and get a solution to help you help your pup stop this behavior.

[Nothing brings peace of mind quite like speaking with a vet – click here to chat with a vet online now]

Other posts you might find interesting:

12 Surprising Ways Schnauzers Show Affection (#3 Is Funny)

Schnauzers Get Along With Other Dogs? 11 Breeds Reviewed

Do Schnauzers Have Bad Teeth? 6 Indicators + Helpful Tips


Why Does My Dog Lick Their Paws?

Separation Anxiety

Stanley Coren’s dog intelligence ranking

Compulsive Disorders in Dogs

Can Dogs Have Obsessive Compulsive Disorders?

Ringworm in Dogs

Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments