why does my dog lick his paws before bed
Dogs may like to lick before they go to sleep because it stirs latent memories of when they were puppies. From the moment they're born until they're separated from their mother, puppies are subjected to vigorous maternal tongue washes. It stimulates their growth and keeps them clean. It's also the mother dog's unique way, apart from feeding them, of giving her babies affection. PWhile your dog may enjoy a bath and possibly often needs one, let's face it, it's not practical or healthy to give him one every day. Your dog having a lick before he goes sleep could mean he's just sorting out his own personal hygiene in-between times. PNature failed us when she didn't give dogs the capability to talk. A fact which is only forgivable because we love them just the way they are. But wouldn't it be so much easier and eliminate all the guesswork, if they could just tell you what they were feeling? A dog, especially an older one who's getting on in years, can lick before he goes to sleep in an attempt to alleviate pain.
Arthritis and rheumatism are not just human afflictions, they can also affect dogs. Pain can happen in a younger dog too. Maybe, with only good intentions in mind, you've overdone his exercise routine and he's licking his legs in the hope of massaging away the discomfort of his aching muscles. He could be feeling a bit like us after we've overexerted ourselves in the gym. PDogs get allergies too. Apart from having a good scratch, the only way they've got of dealing with an itch is by licking it. Have you considered the possibility your dog has started licking before he sleeps because he's having an allergic reaction to something? The same as with children, while they're occupied and running around, they'll ignore whatever is making them feel unwell. When they're in their bed, alone and quiet, the symptoms will manifest and as a child would scratch at what ever was bothering them, a dog will react by licking because the itching is driving them nuts.
PConstantly licking at a wound or infection is the way dogs cure themselves. As worrying as it may be, can you be sure your dog hasn't got something physically wrong?
Wow, that must be a very frustrating ordeal to deal with. I know you have already tried a lot, but have you ever thought of saying ''no'' and redirecting to a Kong stuffed with hard to get goodies, like peanut butter at the bottom, hot dog slices in the middle and a bisquit on the top? What happens if you would do this? would he eat the kong's content and go right back to his paws? would he ignore the Kong? With quite severe OCD behaviors it is often very likely that he would ignore the kong and go on with his licking habit. OCD usually means the dog will appear disinterested in other activities. Is this the case? Will he for example lick his paw and ignore other interesting things going on in his surroundings? Or does he lick when there is not much going on, like before going to sleep or during quiet times?
Just food for thought, even though I am sure with two years dealing with this you probably very much tried almost everything. However, OCD is something that did not appear in nature in dogs in the wild, it is rather a result of domestication, if dogs engaged in OCD behaviors in the wild they would have not survived today. Therefore, perhaps finding your dog something draining to do, will likely gradually wean the behavior. You want to see the behavior less and less because you are giving your dog less opportunities not to engage in this activity. Because dogs live in the present, if he is not thinking much about licking that paw, he may start forgetting about it. Yes, he is walked 3 times a day and I am sure this does not take place during walking, so this means he is in a very balanced state of mind when outdoors (ie distracted, curious, alert) No offense, but could it be your toddler may make him slightly anxious?
Sometimes toddlers may be a bit rough on dogs not knowing the difference between a stuffed animal and a dog. Your dog may appear to tolerate the toddler well but he may do this because he knows he must respect your chiId. If your child ever plays rough, it would be best to crate your dog every now and then and provide some quiet time with a safe toy like a Kong, which by the way can be therapeutic. I would normally recommend agility training that allows dogs to gain in confidence but with your dog's patella issues I guess this may not be an option. Did the licking start along with the patella issues? Sometimes dogs lick out of pain as a way to comfort themselves. and then it turns into a habit. Ever thought of surgery for the luxating patella? This is all I can think of,. I have seen OCD cases of tail chasing and running in circles,. very frustrating issues to deal with! My very best wishes!
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