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Why is my dog nibbling his legs?

It is common for dogs to bite their legs from time to time. However, if it is a sudden behavior that your dog has adopted, it can be confusing and worrisome. There is nothing to worry about in most cases, but sometimes it can call for the doctor’s attention.

Why is my dog nibbling his legs? Generally, dogs bite themselves in an attempt to reach an irritating spot. The irritation can result from fleas, dry skin, allergies, old age, or a soothing mechanism for pain.

If this biting behavior is bothering you, read this article to the end. You will discover detailed reasons why your dog is nibbling its legs and how to stop this behavior.

Why Is My Dog Nibbling His Legs?

External parasites like fleas

Fleas are one of the common reasons for itchy skin among most dogs. They bite to feed the dog’s blood, resulting in itchiness. They bite everywhere throughout the body, including the legs. Other external parasites that can cause itchiness in the skin include lice, ticks, and mites. Their saliva causes itchiness in your dog’s skin.

Luckily, the problem can be resolved through simple medication, cream, or shampoo.


Canine allergies are another common cause of itching in dogs.  If your dog is biting its legs, your dog may be suffering from canine allergies. The two most common skin allergies among canines are acral lick dermatitis and acute pyotraumatic dermatitis.

When dogs have either of the two allergies, they tend to bite one particular area of their body, exposing them to bacterial infection and scarring. Food allergies are another cause that can make your dog bite its legs regularly. A veterinarian needs to examine your dog and decide on the best possible solution. The best part is that all these allergies are treatable, and some are preventable.

Dry skin/ skin infection

Medical issues resulting from fungal and bacterial infection can cause skin irritation and your dog biting its legs. Such conditions can be due to parasites, allergies, or on their own. Either way, your veterinarian will prescribe the medication necessary to heal the issue.

Skin dryness is another issue that can result in skin itchiness. In such cases, the veterinarian may prescribe fatty acid supplements, shampoo and moisturizer for treating such skin conditions.


How old is your dog? If your dog is old, there are possibilities that it is suffering from arthritis. Such a disease can cause itching in the joints, resulting in your dog nibbling its legs. In such cases, arthritis medication can help manage the urge to nibble.

Why Does My Dog Bite His Legs?

Is chewing the legs one of the latest behaviors you have observed your dog doing? Biting is typical behavior among dogs. However, if it is a sudden one, it can be confusing. However, you do not have to worry so much as the causes are treatable. The following is a detailed list of the reasons why your dog bites its legs.

Orthopedic pain

Pain can result in your dog repeatedly biting its legs to get relief. However, instead of biting the exact painful location, it tends to circle the area. What causes this type of pain? The common reason is the existence of an underlying chronic condition in joints or bones. An excellent example of such a condition is arthritis or hip dysplasia.

Luckily, there are various joint pain relief medications that a veterinarian can prescribe. Similarly, omega-3 fatty acids can assist in building up cartilage and joints.


Dogs can bite themselves as a result of boredom. How long does your dog remain inactive in a day? If you always leave your dog locked alone in the house all day, you will likely experience loneliness and boredom. Lack of better things to do can result in biting behavior.


 As the dog ages, it can become forgetful and develop repetitive behavior. Such behavior might include biting. How old is your dog? Is it possible that the aging process is affecting this behavior? If your dog is old, there is a high chance that it is suffering from dementia.


Dogs are active and friendly creatures. They love it when you spend time with them. However, lack of exposure to the world can result in anxiety. However, if you are not able to always play with them, you can organize activities that help your dog interact with others.

Such activities include taking it to the dog’s trainer, dog’s sitter, or even having a dog sitter come to your house and spend time playing in the backyard with your dog.

Also, you can try spending quality time with your dog after work by playing or going for long walks in the park. Such activities will minimize anxiety and make it comfortable to be around many people and new surroundings.

Dogs are creatures of routine, and you would be surprised at how great they are at following a routine. If you have to spend a long time away from your dog, it is essential to develop a habit. The dog will understand that they are not being abandoned as you will always come back, reducing the anxiety level.

Weather changes

Does your dog seem to bite his legs more often in certain seasons than others? If you bite yourself more during the winter season, the possibilities are that you will have dry skin. Extreme cold can cause your dog’s skin to get irritated due to dandruff. Consider brushing your dog regularly during this season and applying oil to stimulate its skin and prevent excessive dryness.  

Why Is My Dog Chewing His Back End?

Is your dog always chewing his back end? The causes are similar to those of nibbling his legs.


If you notice your dog chewing his back end regularly, the possibilities are that it has some parasites. Such parasites may include fleas, ticks, or worms and sometimes even a combination. This area is a common hiding place for such parasites.

Internal parasites like tapeworms can also irritate the back end area, resulting in biting.

Impacted Anal glands

Dogs have two anal glands at the end of their anus. These glands produce a particular form of fluid used as a form of identification. When dogs meet for the first time, they tend to sniff each other at the end to gather information about any newcomer in the group.

When these glands become impacted, they become painful. The dog will tend to bite around that area in an attempt to soothe it. Luckily, this problem can be resolved with simple veterinarian prescriptions.

Food allergies

Have you changed your dog’s diet lately? If you did change and then it started biting, it started. The possibilities are that it is allergic to the new food diet. When a dog suffers from food allergies, it manifests itself in the skin. Further, the vet can conduct a diagnosis to ascertain that food allergies are indeed the cause of the discomfort.

Aches or soreness

Dogs love walking while lifting or swinging their tails. As a result, the possibilities of walking and brushing against irritation causing materials like thorns, burr, or sharp glasses are very high. Brushing their bareback on such materials can result in sores, making them feel irritated and hence biting.

Psychological reasons

Dogs are emotional and usually grow a strong attachment to their masters. They like to spend time with the owner for companionship, attention, and stimulation. How much time do you spend with your dog doing fun activities like playing seek?

Lack of quality time with your dog will result in boredom, restlessness, and loneliness. Such idleness will make the dog start biting its back to keep itself busy and entertained.

How To Stop My Dog From Nibbling His Legs?


Since most of the cases result from food allergies, external and internal parasites, proper medication can assist in resolving this problem. You should visit the veterinarian for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Usually, the vet will place him on a hypoallergenic diet to determine whether your dog is suffering from food allergies. This diet includes a limited amount of ingredients that he has never eaten. If his condition improves, the vet will slowly re-introduce his previous diet, and the element that reacts will be the culprit. The vet will then recommend total avoidance of such ingredients.

In other cases, the vet will prescribe medications like pain killers, dewormers, and others.

Regular exercise

Boredom and lack of social skills resulting from lack of exercise are some of the reasons why your dog might be biting itself. Under these circumstances, simple things like exercise to keep your dog occupied and excited can help solve the issue. Spend as much time as possible with your dog, either playing seek or going for a long walk and allowing it to play with other pets in the park.   This will keep your dog’s brain stimulated.

Use of a command

A simple command like stop can prevent your dog from further biting itself. Sometimes, dogs do it without being conscious of their actions. However, this solution is temporary, and a more permanent solution is necessary.