If your Golden Retriever has been biting its paws, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. In this post, I will show you the common causes and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my Golden Retriever bite its paws? Possible causes are that it has fleas, allergies, something stuck there or a rash. It could also be that it does it compulsively, it has some separation anxiety or that it is injured.

There are actually many reasons why your Golden Retriever might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can do about it and there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason.

Why your Golden Retriever bites its paws

Below are common causes of Golden Retrievers biting their paws and what would make them more likely to be the reason why your Golden Retriever has been doing it.

Fleas

The cause could be that it has fleas. This would be more likely if it has been biting other areas of its body, it has started doing it suddenly and if you have found fleas around the house.

It would help to eradicate fleas from your home by doing things such as:

  • Washing the bedding with hot soapy water
  • Vacuuming the carpets and throwing the bad
  • Applying an environmental flee control
  • Applying a spray, pellet or non-toxic treatment for the yard
  • Treating your Golden Retriever with a monthly preventative

Allergies

Allergies or a rash might also be causing your Golden Retriever to bite its paws. Allergies can be caused by things such as shampoo, other dogs, pollen or household chemicals (source).

It has something stuck there

The reason that it has been doing it could be that it has something stuck in one of its paws. This would be more likely if it has been biting one paw in particular and if it has started doing it suddenly.

Boredom

Golden Retrievers are meant to get daily exercise. When Golden Retrievers don’t get enough exercise it can cause them to behave abnormally and it might be a part of the reason why yours has been biting its paws.

Generally, it is advised for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults. If your Golden Retriever is not getting that much then it would help to make sure that it does. If it is a puppy, it is generally advised for them to get 5 minutes of exercise per month of age twice each day (source).

Compulsive behavior

It might be the case that your Golden Retriever has been biting its paws compulsively. This is where it feels an irresistible urge to do it and it cannot stop itself from doing it.

In this case, it would help to seek the guidance of a vet.

Look here for more information about compulsive behavior in dogs.

Injury

It might also be the case that it has been biting its paws due to an injury. This would be more likely if it has been biting one paw in particular and if it has been showing signs of being injured such as by limping.

Separation anxiety

It might be the case that your Golden Retriever has separation anxiety. This is where it gets anxious when it is left alone and when it is about to be left alone. This would be more likely if your Golden Retriever starts biting its paws when you are about to leave and if it shows other signs of anxiety when you are leaving.

In this case, it would help to avoid leaving it alone for long periods and to periodically check up on it if you can.

Also, it would help to train it to be less anxious when you are leaving and when you are away.

To do this you could do as follows:

  • Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
  • Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
  • Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
  • Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
  • Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your Golden Retriever
  • Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer

It was just playing

If your Golden Retriever just did it once then it could be the case that it was just playing or that it was itchy at the time. However, this would be less likely if it has been doing it repeatedly over a short time period.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when trying to figure out why your Golden Retriever has been doing it.

When it started doing it

If it did not always bite its paws as much as it has been, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.

If it did start doing it suddenly then it could be due to things such as using a different shampoo, changing its diet, fleas, allergies or a rash. It would help to consider what changed when it started doing it.

Whereas, if it has been biting its paws for a while then it would be more likely that it does it due to things such as separation anxiety, compulsive behavior or boredom. But, it could still be due to any of the other things mentioned above.

How much it bites its paws

It would also help to consider how often it bites its paws.

If it has been biting its paws a lot then it would be more likely to be due to things such as fleas, a rash, allergies, something stuck in its fur or compulsive behavior.

Whereas, if it does it less frequently then it would be more likely to be due to the other things mentioned above.

When and where it bites its paws

It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to bite its paws since the timing might also have something to do with it.

If it tends to do it when you are about to leave then it would be more likely to be due to separation anxiety. Whereas, if it seems to do it at random times then it would be more likely to be due to fleas, a rash, allergies or something being stuck in its fur.

What to do about your Golden Retriever biting its paws

Below are some options that you have when getting your Golden Retriever to stop biting its paws.

Take it to a vet

If your Golden Retriever has been biting its paws constantly, the best option would be to get the help of a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Golden Retriever and to rule out medical causes.

Give it exercise

If you have not been giving it much exercise then it would help to start doing so. You can exercise it by walking it, playing fetch with it or getting a dog walker to do it for you.

Remove fleas

It would also help to eradicate fleas from your home by doing things such as:

  • Washing the bedding with hot soapy water
  • Vacuuming the carpets and throwing the bad
  • Applying an environmental flee control
  • Applying a spray, pellet or non-toxic treatment for the yard
  • Treating your Golden Retriever with a monthly preventative

Avoid encouraging the behavior

Instead of giving your Golden Retriever rewards when it bites its paws, try to redirect its focus when it is about to do it, to give it distractions before it starts biting them and to reward it when it behaves the way that you want it to.

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Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.