why does my dog eat his foot
Is your dog licking at his paws constantly? Notice a, inflamed appearance to the area between the paws? If this is happening, read on! Not only does excessive licking cause discomfort for your dog, but it is often due to an underlying medical problem. Often times, excessive licking of the paws is due to one of three underlying causes:
Underlying itchiness is what results in that constant foot licking; the moisture caused by excessive foot licking between the paws can cause a secondary or yeast infection. This can actually worsen the itchiness and clinical signs. Excessive licking of the paws warrants a trip to your veterinarian, as certain tests need to be performed to rule out. How will my veterinarian figure out why my dog is licking his paws? Diagnosis of an underlying infection requires certain tests from your veterinarian including: Once these tests are done, your veterinarian can determine the best course of appropriate treatment.
Treatment typically includes: The use of short-term steroids to decrease the But thatБs not all! Your dog may need additional testing to rule out atopy, allergies, or flea allergy dermatitis. This may include: A food trial with a novel (new) protein for at least 6-12 weeksБ It is absolutely key that you make sure no other rawhides, treats, snakes, bones or other food products (even heartworm ) are given during this time. Ideally, food trials should be started in the winter (depending on the climate that you live in). Year-round and medication that kills quicklyБ Newer prescription oral products (e. g. , Bravecto, Nexguard) can kill these pesky insects within 12 hours, minimizing the risk of infestation. Skin testing or blood testing Б If treatment by your veterinarian doesnБt completely resolve the signs, referral to a dermatologist may be necessary for advanced testing.
When in doubt, talk to your veterinarian about how to best treat this condition. Remember, occasional licking is ok, but if itБs constant and causing secondary redness, swelling or itchiness, get to a veterinarian for treatment. Does my dog need a prescription food trial? Does my dog need year-round flea and tick control? Does my dog have a secondary bacterial or yeast infection? Does my dog need a referral to a veterinary dermatologist? If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets. My dog constantly chews on his feet and hind legs. What can I do? The problem may not be with his feet but with his nose! That is because the most common reason for dogs to chew their feet is due to allergy to things they inhale. The same pollens, dusts, and molds that give us Бhay feverБ symptoms will give dogs itchy skin Б typically chewing or biting of the feet, rubbing of the face and ears, and scratching in the armpits.
Ear infections are another common manifestation of inhalant allergy. The scratching and itching can lead to skin infections with bacteria and/or yeast, which can make the itching worse. The first step is to see your regular veterinarian. She will do a thorough exam to check for fleas, other parasites, and infections, which may cause or result from the itching and chewing. Treatment of the allergy usually starts with antihistamines. These generally give good relief from the itching with minimal side effects (sometimes drowsiness). There are many antihistamines and your veterinarian may suggest a trial of more than one to find out which works best for your dog. Symptomatic treatment of medicated baths, topical sprays or ointments, and oral fatty acid supplements will also help.
If the allergy is severe and not relieved by antihistamines, corticosteroids may be used. They are usually very effective but may cause side effects, some of which can be serious. If the allergies are ongoing, severe, and/or not relieved by antihistamine, your veterinarian will refer you to a veterinary dermatologist for allergy testing. Based on the results of this skin testing, Бallergy shotsБ will be formulated for your dog to help reduce his sensitivity to the allergens that make him itchy. Most dogs get improvement from these Бallergy shotsБ and can use fewer and milder medications to control their allergy symptoms but, like us, cure is rare. With good communication between owner and veterinarian, we can help our pets get through their allergy season with less discomfort. Presented by Kathleen Dougherty, DVM, Kenwood Animal Hospital, 301-654-3000.
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