The Goldendoodles are a remarkable mix between the Golden Retriever and the Poodle and are the most sought-after family pets. These dogs are normally very active and do not have any major inherent health issues. However, you may notice a paw-biting behavior in your dog, which can certainly be a cause of concern for you.
As a general rule, your Goldendoodle licking its paws could be their normal grooming process, which is not a cause for worry. However, excessive licking and biting could indicate another underlying problem like injury or infection, which needs to be remedied as quickly as possible.
To help your dog stay happy, healthy, and free of diseases, it is important to understand why Goldendoodles bite their paws and differentiate normal causes from serious health problems.
Why is My Goldendoodle Biting its Paws?
Some dogs are more eager to self-groom than others, so they may be licking their paws simply to groom themselves. As a general rule of thumb, you don’t need to worry if the licking/biting paws behavior is:
- Occasional or only a couple of minutes a day
- After a walk
- After a meal
- After a brushing/grooming session
Here are some common reasons that can be easily fixed.
Your dog may simply have been playing outside in the mud or snow. If you see your dog occasionally licking the paws, this is not a sign of concern. However, you can encourage them to decrease their self-grooming to avoid potential issues.
For example, your dog can get worms from licking too much mud off its paws. Similarly, if they have been out in the snow, they might bring back harmful chemicals used to melt snow.
These naturally should not be ingested. You can make the process easier for them by simply using a wet washcloth to wipe their paws down after a walk.
This is an area of grooming that often gets skipped, and it can potentially bother your Goldendoodle. If you see your dog constantly biting at their paws, check if the fur between their toes is too long.
Goldendoodles tend to have long and curly fur that needs to be brushed and trimmed regularly, so it does not catch too much debris. Simply trimming the toe fur with an appropriate tool will resolve the problem.
Your dog needs a nail trim every month or two unless they walk on rough surfaces and end up automatically filing their nails on the road. Often, when it looks like your Goldendoodle is biting its toes, they are biting the nails and trying to get rid of the discomfort.
Be sure to clip their nails to an appropriate and safe length. If you have not done this before, it is a good idea to let a vet or groomer take care of it.
Signs My Dog’s Paw Biting Is Serious
If your dog is biting its paws due to a serious concern, you will most likely tell just by the way they are displaying the behavior. For example, it is easy to differentiate between laidback paw-licking for grooming and aggressive paw biting that goes on for a long time every day.
If you are concerned about your Goldendoodle’s paw-biting, look out for these signs:
- Biting paws for more than 10 minutes every day
- Obsessive paw-licking/biting between other activities like eating or playing
- Aggressively chewing/gnawing at paws
- Signs of redness or soreness on the paws
- Sudden preoccupation with paw-biting
- Clear discomfort and loss of interest in daily activities
Serious Causes of Your Dog Biting Its Paws
If you are positive that your Goldendoodle’s paw-biting behavior is abnormal, here are a few reasons this might be happening.
Physical Damage or Injury
Dogs often tend to get small cuts, splinters, and injuries from their walks. Depending on the environment, your dog may also have burnt their paws on a hot sidewalk or have a cold sore from walking on snow. You will usually be able to spot these causes upon close observation.
If your Goldendoodle’s paws appear inflamed or sore, immediately contact your veterinarian for a solution. It is also possible that your dog is not injured but simply uncomfortable with something lodged between the toes, like grass seed, small rocks, or even discarded chewing gum.
Grooming the fur and closely inspecting the spaces between the toes will help you find and dislodge these obstructions.
Dry or Cracked Paws
Your dog’s paw pads, just like their nose, are supposed to be smooth and moisturized. Dryness and cracking can occur due to rough environments. To tackle this, encourage your dog to drink more water.
You can also use organic coconut oil or a high-quality paw cream to keep their paw pads moisturized. It is important to find a non-toxic and organic product that will be safe for your dog to lick.
Parasites and Bacteria
If your Goldendoodle is aggressively biting its paws, it might be a case of parasites like ticks and fleas. A close inspection of your dog’s fur, especially between their toes and behind their ears, will reveal ticks. Your vet will be able to recommend the right product to remove these.
Under no circumstances should you attempt to pull ticks off your dog’s skin since this can cause tick fever. Sometimes, the problem can come from bacteria that you won’t be able to see. Signs of this are inflammation, redness, and foul odor.
The right antibacterial ointments from your vet can resolve this problem. In the future, you can prevent this by regularly cleaning your dog’s paws.
Stress or Boredom
It is entirely possible that your dog is not actually suffering from any physical problems but is simply stressed or bored. Goldendoodles are high-energy dogs that need lots of physical exercise and mental stimulation.
If they are left alone for long periods of time or are confined in a small space, they may try to release their frustration by gnawing at their toes.
If you can’t seem to find any other reason for their excessive toe-biting habit, try to give them more playtime or engage them in puzzle toys and see if the behavior resolves on its own.
In rare cases, your Goldendoodle may develop a benign cyst in the paw region, causing them to bite at it out of discomfort continually. This can be ruled out with a vet.
In a nutshell, if your Goldendoodle is biting its paws, a close inspection should be able to tell you if something is wrong. Generally, supervising your dog for abnormal behavior, acting fast in case of a problem, and relying on professional help will ensure you avoid any serious issues.