Why Do Golden Retrievers Chew On Their Paws?

Quick Answer

Golden retrievers chew on their paws for a variety of reasons, most commonly because of allergies, anxiety, boredom, injury, or another underlying medical condition.

why do golden retrievers chew on their paws? a golden retriever biting her back paw
Luna chewing on her paw

Quick Overview Of Paw Chewing

When it comes to golden retrievers, paw-chewing behavior is not uncommon and it can be caused by a variety of factors, such as allergies, anxiety, boredom, and more.

It’s essential to identify the underlying cause of your golden retriever’s paw-chewing behavior to address it effectively (if needed). For example, canine allergies can be diagnosed through a skin test or blood test, and treatment may involve medication and dietary changes. If anxiety is the cause, your veterinarian may recommend behavioral modification techniques or medication.

While paw-chewing behavior in golden retrievers may be concerning, it can be addressed with proper care and attention. It’s also not necessarily a problem that needs to be addressed depending on the frequency and intensity of the behavior. Consulting with your veterinarian and providing a healthy environment for your golden retriever is the best way to tackle excessive paw chewing in golden retrievers.

Understanding The Behavior

Paw-chewing in golden retrievers can be a symptom of an underlying issue that requires attention. It is essential to understand the possible causes of this behavior to address it correctly (if needed).


Perhaps the most common cause of paw-chewing in golden retrievers is allergies. Golden retrievers, like many other breeds, are prone to allergies, and exposure to allergens such as dust, pollen, or certain foods can cause itchiness and discomfort in their paws. This discomfort can lead to paw-chewing in an attempt to alleviate the itchiness.

Mites and Fleas

Another possible cause of paw-chewing in golden retrievers is parasitic infections such as mites or fleas. These infections can cause irritation and discomfort in the paws, prompting your golden retriever to chew and lick them.


In some cases, paw-chewing can simply be a sign of boredom. Golden retrievers are social animals that require ample attention and exercise to remain happy and healthy. When they are not getting enough attention or stimulation, they may resort to self-soothing behaviors such as paw-chewing.


Anxiety is another common trigger for paw-chewing in golden retrievers. Golden retrievers are sensitive dogs that can suffer from separation anxiety or anxiety due to loud noises or unfamiliar situations. This anxiety can cause them to engage in self-soothing behaviors such as paw-chewing.

Medical Conditions

Lastly, paw-chewing can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Injuries, infections, or growths on the paws can cause pain and discomfort, leading to paw-chewing. If you notice any swelling, redness, or wounds on your golden retriever’s paws, you should take them to the vet for evaluation.

To recap, paw-chewing behavior in golden retrievers can be caused by allergies, parasitic infections, anxiety, boredom, or an underlying medical condition. Identifying the underlying cause for your golden retriever’s paw-chewing behavior is crucial to addressing it safely and effectively.

Symptoms To Watch Out For

If you notice your golden retriever has started chewing on their paws, it’s important to keep an eye out for certain symptoms associated with this behavior. These symptoms can help identify the underlying cause of paw-chewing.

Swollen Paws

Swollen or red paws are common symptoms associated with paw-chewing in golden retrievers. If you notice your dog’s paws appear swollen or red, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition or parasitic infection that requires attention.


Limping or favouring one paw is another symptom commonly associated with paw-chewing. If your golden retriever is limping or favouring one paw, it may indicate an injury or medical condition causing pain and discomfort.

Blisters And Sores

Blisters or sores on the paws can also be a sign of paw-chewing behavior. If your golden retriever is excessively licking or chewing their paws, it can cause blisters or sores which can become painful and susceptible to infection.

Since you won’t always notice your pup chewing or licking his paws, it’s important to keep an eye out for the above symptoms as well. They’re all strong indicators of paw chewing behavior, and noticing them early on will get you ahead of the game in terms of diagnosing and addressing the root cause of your dog’s paw chewing.

Treatment And Prevention

There are various approaches to addressing paw chewing behaviors in golden retrievers, depending on the underlying cause.

Medical Treatment

Medical treatment is required if allergies, injuries, a different medical condition, or parasitic infection is causing paw-chewing behavior in golden retrievers. This may involve medication prescribed by a veterinarian to treat the base condition or infection.

Canine Dermatology

Allergies specifically can be tested for at a canine dermatologist. They can administer an allergy panel to your pup to identify exactly what he may be allergic to so you can then take steps to minimize exposure to the allergens.

Mental And Physical Stimulation

Preventing boredom and anxiety-related paw-chewing behavior in golden retrievers requires providing them with a healthy and stimulating environment. Exercise, playtime, and mental stimulation through training and interactive toys are essential for keeping golden retrievers happy and healthy. As the saying goes, a tired dog is a happy dog!

Nutrition And Grooming

Proper nutrition and regular grooming of your golden retriever can also help prevent paw-chewing behavior. Providing your dog with a healthy and balanced diet can also help prevent or minimize allergies. Regular grooming can help identify and manage parasitic infections or skin problems that may lead to paw-chewing.


Paw-chewing behavior in golden retrievers can be caused by a variety of factors, including medical conditions, boredom, anxiety, and parasitic infections. Identifying the underlying cause of the behavior is essential to address it effectively.

If your golden retriever is exhibiting paw-chewing behavior, it’s a good idea to consult with a veterinarian to diagnose and treat any medical conditions or parasitic infections. Behavioral modification techniques can be used to address anxiety or boredom-related paw-chewing behavior.

Key Takeaways

  • Identifying the underlying cause of paw-chewing behavior in golden retrievers is crucial to address it effectively.
  • Medical treatment, behavioral modification techniques, proper nutrition, grooming, and providing a healthy and stimulating environment can help prevent or treat paw-chewing behavior.
  • It’s important to keep an eye out for symptoms associated with paw-chewing, such as swollen or red paws, limping, blisters, or excessive licking or chewing.
  • If you’re unsure about why your golden retriever is chewing their paws, consult with a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions or parasitic infections.

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roger stanley site owner and primary author
Meet The Author Roger Stanley

Co-owner of goldenretrievergoods.com. 15 years of experience living life with Golden Retrievers and 15 years of experience spending way too much money on them – I believe life’s not worth living without a Golden involved!

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