Dog chewing her feet

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by CityGirlintheCountry, May 19, 2010.

  1. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    I think my Lucy (avatar dog) has some allergy issues. She constantly licks and chews on her feet. The inside of the pads are really red once she gets done. She has had on and off ear infections as well. Originally she was eating Purina One. I switched both dogs to Blue Buffalo and then a few weeks ago to Taste of the Wild salmon flavor. (The dogs didn't particularly care for Blue Buffalo and it made them really gassy.)
    I don't know what else to do about her chewing. I could put bitter apple on it, but it seems better to fix the underlying problem. We have been to the vet. She is usually focused on the ear problems. We have pretty much taken care of that issue with ear drops and the occasional round of medicine. The paw chewing indicates to me that there is something else going on.
    Any thoughts on what is going on and how to stop her?
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    My male dog has horrible seasonal and flea allergies. He will chew and lick nasty spots on his body, mostly around his hind quarters. My vet advised human allergy medication, such as benedryl tablets or even zyrtec (which is expensive, even with the generic version). They do seem to help him. I only give them to him when he's acting really itchy, 2 were recommended for him, at around 85 lbs. (which makes no sense to me since I weigh more than that and only take one as per human recommendation). [​IMG]
  3. TerriLaChicks

    TerriLaChicks Crowing

    Apr 23, 2008
    Central Louisiana
    I'm reprinting this from a dog forum I belong to - several of us have used this betadine soak with good results.
    I always wipe my dogs' feet when they come in from outside with baby wipes or paper towels & that helps a lot too.
    Malaseb makes a very good shampoo and also wipes that a lot of dog owners' swear by -you can order them online.

    Foot soaks:

    "Foot soaks are a great way to disinfect the paws of your dog. I recommend them not just for dogs that have itchy, inflamed, irritated paws, but also for dogs that are exposed to certain contaminants.

    In the winter, a major contaminant is salt, which can be very irritating for dogs’ paws. Rinsing his paws off regularly is a great way to keep your pet’s feet decontaminated.

    In the summer, on the other hand, it’s important to consider foot soaks because dogs are, of course, naked. They’re not wearing shoes and socks, and the only place your dog sweats (besides the nose), is from the bottom of his feet.

    So, in essence, your dog’s feet are like wet Swiffers – they’re bare, they’re moist, and your dog is running through grasses, mud, streams, and leaves. All of these environments can expose your dog’s paws to microscopic allergens, as well as pesticides, herbicides, and other landscaping chemicals.

    If you don’t remove these contaminants from their paws, they will usually start to lick them incessantly.

    Homemade Foot Soaks

    To remedy this obsessive licking, set up a foot soak. For small-breed dogs, you can set up a foot soaking station in your kitchen sink or laundry room drop sink.

    At my house, I have a walk-in shower, so I just hose them off in there.

    Other possibilities include putting a large plastic tub in your mud room or attached garage. Fill up the tub with water, then add iodine (found at most local pharmacies) until the water solution turns the color of iced tea. Some of my clients with giant breed dogs use a kid’s plastic swimming pool for foot baths, and some clients simply dunk their pets’ feet in a bowl….whatever works!

    I recommend povidone iodine or Betadine[​IMG] solution because it’s naturally antifungal, antiviral, safe, non-stinging, non-toxic, and non-abrasive. It’s a very effective disinfectant for your pet’s paws.

    You can either have your dog simply walk through the tub a few times, or stand him in it for about 30 seconds. Then pat the paws dry with a towel.

    Another option is to just cover his paws with pads soaked in the water and iodine solution. Keep them on for about two minutes, then remove and pat the paws dry. Research shows that soaking the paws is more effective than “dunking,” so either technique will be more effective than simply using a washcloth to remove contaminants.

    Choosing a Foot Soak Solution Depends on the Condition of Your Pet’s Paws

    There are also other gentle but effective solutions you can make depending on how irritated your dog’s paws are.

    If your dog has cuts or wounds, or yeast (if your pet’s feet smell like corn chips), Betadine[​IMG] is the very best solution.

    If your pet’s paws are just irritated, consider adding chamomile tea bags to the soak water, which has natural soothing properties.

    Half a cup of vinegar per gallon of water is another great topical disinfectant. I also use green tea, which provides healthy antioxidants to his skin. You can add tea bags or cooled tea to the foot soak water.

    If your pet’s white feet have turned brown from excessive licking, rinsing paws with hydrogen peroxide with help remove the unsightly stains.

    Clean Your Pet’s Paws Regularly

    It’s important to recognize that if your pet begins licking her paws, she’s telling you her paws are irritated. The best thing you can do is to NOT apply cream, salves or dips, but to keep the paws clean and dry. Although ointments may soothe the paws, they don’t do an adequate job of disinfecting, or removing contaminants. Ointments also increase the stickiness of the paws, attracting more contaminants, in many cases.

    By regularly disinfecting your pet’s paws, you’re reducing the chemical exposure to environmental toxins by rinsing those chemicals off, and you’re also providing a means to keeping your pet’s feet clean and dry, and free from allergens that can stimulate irritation and abrasion in her paws.

    So, I highly recommend you try out one of these rinses. Oftentimes, just plain cool water will do the trick. Alternatively, making a cool tea mix and using it as a foot spritz in the summer is also a refreshing choice. ".
  4. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    Awesome suggestions, y'all! I will go get her a baby pool and start soaking her feet. She's a digger, so it makes sense that she is keeping her paws irritated with allergens in the grass. The betadine sounds like a good plan.

    I have benadryl around here as well. She's a pro at picking pills out of hot dogs, but that is a good thing to know when she gets really bad. Thanks!
  5. Redyre Rotties

    Redyre Rotties Songster

    Jul 8, 2009
    North Carolina, USA
    Ear problems and foot chewing combined just screams food allergy to me.

    Have you tried going grain free with her? Or even raw?
  6. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Crowing 9 Years

    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    My dog does the same, and I wam watching this thread - Howver, I had him on grain-free, and he continued to lick his feet til they were bloody. I swtiched them to Dick Van Patten vegetarian organic, he still does it - though not as much. He also does the ear thing. SO, I am reading all this in hopes it willhelp me too!! And I know the dog breeders on here are the best!
  7. hencackle

    hencackle Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Telford, TN
    A friend of mine has a couple of dogs with food allergies. The vet recommended a grain-free diet, so they switched to Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance--the Sweet Potato & Fish formula. The skin lesions cleared up and they stopped licking their feet.
  8. cmjust0

    cmjust0 Songster

    Apr 30, 2009
    Central KY
    We have a foot-chewing white GSD with ear issues, and we switched her to DVP's Fish and helped her ears considerably, though she would still dig at them occasionally.. The foot-chewing continued. Since DVP was, like, unbelievably expensive and wasn't really working 100% anyway, we decided to try other foods and switched her to TOTW Pacific Stream ($10 less for 2lbs more food). Haven't really seen a difference...still digs her ears occasionally, and still chews her feet.

    We're kinda thinking now that instead of switching foods again (and again...and again...and again...), we may actually see about having an allergy test done so we'd know exactly what to avoid..
  9. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    Try a diet of boiled meat and rice for awhile and see if the allergies go away. If they do you can use california natural by innova. It's just one meat ingredient, rice, and some vitamins. Best thing to try for dogs or cats with allergies. Some dogs are allergic to chicken or even rice though so if you don't want to invest in a bag that might not work you should test it out first.
  10. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    It sounds like food allergies to me as well. That's why I switched off the Purina One. Taste of the Wild is grain free. I think. Now I'm second guessing. I'm going to TSC today so I'll look again. We used to do DickVan Patten's food, but I never saw a difference. That's when I switched them back to Purina One. Then Blue Buffalo and then Taste of the Wild. It has been a long food journey. I'm not really able to do raw due to my work schedule. Heck, I barely cook for me! The poor dogs would starve. [​IMG]
    Grain free is what we have been aiming at though and it doesn't seem to change her foot chewing.

    Again, with the food switch, the ear problems have gone away. I have stopped doing the drops and everything and she is still showing no signs of ear irritation. It's just those feet. She does spend most of the day frolicking in the backyard. I am surrounded on three sides by pasture land and planted fields. There is no telling what they spray on the fields behind me. They alternate between corn and soybeans as far as I can tell. The dogs are seperated from the planted field by about 10' of trees, shrubs and tall grass. They share a fence with the pasture side. That guy alternates between cows and sheep.
    I don't treat anything in the backyard (or any of the yard for that matter). I have sprayed week killer in some hard to reach areas, but the dogs are never in those areas.

    I can't think of anything else she would be coming into contact with. Food or grass allergies seem like the most logical. That or she just likes to chew on her feet. She does it right before she naps. Maybe it has moved into a psychological thing now. Dunno.

    Thanks for the ideas. I'm game to change their food again. There will be a price break point though. The TotW is pretty much as expensive as I can go. One dog is 50+ pounds and the other is 65+. They are hearty eaters. [​IMG]

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