While it's super cute when your dog whirls around in a circle and chases her tail, it isn't cute when she's pulling her hair out. Turns out, tail chasing is a natural behavior among dogs, but so is hair pulling. The trick is finding out the reason why she is pulling her hair out, because the reason may be something that your dog needs help with.
The first step to resolving your dog chewing fur off her tail, paws, or other areas where she can reach, is to try to find out why she's doing it in the first place. There could be a few reasons including fleas, a reaction to medicine or foods, or a reaction to something else in the environment that could be causing an allergic reaction.
Allergies in dogs
A dog chewing on his leg hair could be the result of an allergy. Wag Walking <ahref="https: wagwalking.com="" symptom="" why-is-my-dog-chewing-off-his-fur"=""> </ahref="https:>says allergies in dogs are common and if your dog does have an allergy, it usually will manifest by the time he's younger than three-years-old. Atopic dermatitis is a common allergy that is known to affect certain breeds, including Shar-Peis, wirehaired fox terriers, golden retrievers, Dalmatians, boxers, Boston terriers, Labrador retrievers, Lhasa apsos, Scottish terriers, Shih Tzus, and west highland white terriers. Atopic dermatitis is an itch that won't go away, and it could be the reason why your dog is chewing on his leg hair.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a similar condition in which your dog will experience an uncontrollable itch but in this case, you will likely notice a foul smell along with it. A dog chewing fur off to the point that he develops an open sore is at risk for a secondary infection if the wound is not properly taken care of. If your homemade itch relief doesn't work, a veterinarian should look into it.
Dog insect and parasite bites
Insect bites from fleas, ticks, flies, or mosquitoes can cause your dog to chew at her fur. Unlike a body-wide itch, this will be at the site of the bite, so if you see your dog going after just one spot, this could be the reason. When a dog is chewing fur off one area of her fur, this is known as a "hot spot." Hot spots can grow and become more serious as the skin is disturbed from the repeated licking, chewing, biting, and scratching, which in turn makes your dog even more anxious to relieve her itch.
Stress and anxiety in dogs
Dogs can develop compulsive behaviors when they are stressed or anxious. If you see your dog pulling out the hair on his back, tail, paws, or other sites and there is no medical reason for it, perhaps your dog is stressed or lonely and is trying to soothe himself. This may be the case if other destructive behaviors are manifesting such as chewing up objects or furniture or scratching on walls or furniture.
Dogs chew their paws
According to the "Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan, dogs chew their paws for many reasons including pain. Your dog may have stepped on something that poked her tender paw pads, like a thorn or sharp rock. Since dogs are on their feet at all times, it is common for a dog to step on a small sliver of glass or another sharp object, and your dog's chewing may be an attempt to remove the foreign object or relieve the pain.
Dog chewing on leg
According to the pet food company, Pedigree, dogs who chronically chew are experiencing something more than just a typical itch. If you can't determine the cause from a visual inspection, it's time for your vet to get involved. A dog chewing on his leg hair specifically could be a sign of boredom. Dogs are pack animals and feel comfortable grooming one another. If a dog is repeatedly licking himself, it could be because he misses companionship.
Treatment for dog chewing
The treatment for your dog's chronic chewing will be based on the cause of it. If it's a hot spot, there are sprays and creams that can be applied to the area to keep this behavior under control. If it's a boredom-related issue, hiring a dog walker or changing your schedule for more play time with her could be what is needed. Alternatively, if the cause is a skin condition or allergy, a medical treatment could cure things right up.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.