Top 3 Reasons Why a Dog is Scratching & Chewing Himself Raw

It should be an immediate red flag if you notice your dog is biting or chewing himself raw. This compulsive behavior could also be accompanied by other concerning actions such as self-scratching. It could be due to a number of reasons such as underlying health problems. Here are the most common reasons that may explain why dogs are chewing and scratching themselves raw.

1. Anxiety and boredom

Unfortunately, this is one of the most common reasons why dogs engage in unhealthy chewing and scratching behaviors. A lot of dog owners simply don’t dedicate enough time throughout the day to keep their pets happy and entertained. Dogs will find things to do on their own if their physical and social needs aren’t being met.

Excessive boredom can lead to anxiety. The level of anxiety could reach a point when they’ll start to chew different parts of the body until it becomes raw. Think of how some people may inadvertently bite their nails when they find themselves in a stressful or anxious situation. It’s no different for dogs.

Dog chewing his body

2. Allergic reactions

A dog may also chew himself raw due to an allergic reaction. In such cases, you may notice the dog chewing or scratching certain parts of the body such as the tail and leg. Allergic reactions can be caused by a number of factors. This may include flea bites, tick bites, and skin infections.

The area of the dog’s body that is affected by the allergic reaction can become quite itchy. Dogs won’t be able to resist and will start biting at the area until the fur comes off. Allergic reactions could also be caused by dietary factors. Make sure you aren’t giving any food the dog is allergic to. This could be something as innocuous as grains.

3. The dog’s diet

Have you made any recent changes to the dog’s diet? Have you, for example, switched the dog’s kibble or introduced him to a new treat? Dietary changes could also explain the compulsive behavior. It may lead to food allergies and cause your dog to bite his skin until it bleeds.

How to stop a dog from chewing and scratching himself raw

First, make sure the biting behavior isn’t due to an underlying health problem. The first thing that should be checked is allergies. Taking the dog to the vet will also help you know whether it’s due to other health problems such as a skin infection.

Next, make sure your dog is getting plenty of entertainment, especially if the dog spends a lot of alone time throughout the day. The dog should always have plenty of safe toys to chew on. These toys should be given in rotation so the dog doesn’t get bored of chewing a single toy.

Last but not least, check the dog’s shampoo. You need to find one that is the right fit for the dog’s skin. Certain dog shampoos may end up doing more harm than good due to the ingredients used in producing the shampoo.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


  • Puppy Chewing | 09/10/2022

    Our dog, Jane, started to chew her hips for no specific reason a few months ago. It was only a tiny bit at first so we tried to train her to not do it. Over the past few months, the self-chewing has gotten worse.

    We took Jane to the vet and got told it might be due to dry skin. We got medication and it ultimately had no effect on her chewing behavior. We went to a different vet for another opinion. The second vet said it might be due to an allergic reaction.

  • Sam | 09/10/2022

    My dog is eating himself and it’s driving me nuts!! I thought it was fleas at first. I got him some flea medication and called it a night. The next morning, I saw my dog chewing on an open wound. The biting keeps getting worse. Please help me and my dog!

  • Rajesh P | 09/10/2022

    My dog is relentless. He is a six year old mutt with some pretty bad allergies. We’ve been to the vet already a couple of times but the chewing won’t stop. We would love to know what’s causing the constant itch (that leads to the chewing beahvior). The dog also has some dandruff from time to time.

  • Sonuia Mays | 28/11/2022

    My Chihuahua had a bad hip and leg and she will chew on where it is hurting until it bleeds. I thought it was fleas or parasites and it has taken a lot of time and been very stressful for my poor baby and myself but I’m pretty sure this is the cause of her excessive chewing in that spot. Also digestive problems will cause chewing and excessive scratching also paw licking and chewing. Probiotics help this. I hope this helps someone.

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