Click here to visit the most complete Maltese site on the WWW
Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that most of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinary medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.
Archived Message
Chews Feet and Cries
by Annette

Angel has chewed on her back feet since we brought her home. She is now four months old. She has red stain on her little face. Mikee is snow white and has never chewed on his feet. Our vet, who is wonderful, explained that Angel has an allergic reaction from her tears and that she chews on her back feet due to the pollen on the grass. He said that when the grass dies, the itching and chewing will stop. He also will give her Panamycin (Tetracycline) when she is six months old to clear up her red face. Can't give it to her before six months or it will stain her teeth.

I told him that (1) Angel has never been "on the grass" (as they are both trained to litter pans), and that (2) I keep the kitchen mopped and we pull our shoes off before we go into the kitchen area so as not to walk pollen into the area.

This morning she was crying and then chewing her feet. I do have complete confidence in our vet, but wanted others' opinions for this same condition. I want Angel to have some relief! Thanks for your help. Maybe he doesn't know everything!

Annette, is it possible that your dog has an ear infection? One of mine when she is having problems with her ears will scrach and dig at her ears and then chew on her back paws and then dig at her ears some more. I too would wonder about being allegic to pollen. Pollen is only out and about in the spring time here. I understand that dogs can also have allergic reactions to the ingredients in their food. Also on the antibiocs does the vet say if they will keep her on them forever? Has he told you about the side effects of this? I also asked my vet about this and he said he did not believe in keeping a dog on them because they have to be on them for life because as soon as you quit giving them the eyestain would just come back. Good Luck, Debbie
You mentioned your puppy uses a litter pan. What surface is she using in the pan and is it absorbant enough so that she doesn't get urine running to her feet. The feet could have a urine burn and you'd treat that like a diaper rash.
You might try asking your vet about using Benedryl for the allergies. That is what my vet suggested, though Toby did not have the red staining. You have to be consistant with it, but we have found some relief. Also, he had us apply some solution with an antibiotic and cortisone to help the itch and to promote healing. Perhaps if the anitbiotic is locally applied and not oral, your baby could tolerate it. Best of luck--it is hard to see them miserable!
Hi Annette: If it is a pollen allergy, it seems strange that Angel would not chew her front paws as well. Are you able to tell if her feet are sore/itching or whether it is just a nervous habit (like us biting our fingernails)? If there is no physical reason for the chewing, spraying her feet with bitter apple might work -- I haven't tried this but I have seen this posted as a remedy before. I am sure that the vet would have thoroughly checked out her feet so, if her nails and the hair between the footpads are trim, I don't know what would affect only the back feet. I don't suppose dogs can get ingrown hairs or toenails? Arthritis would cause her to chew her feet, but she seems very young for that. Maybe an x-ray of her feet could provide an answer if all else fails. If her feet are itchy and you are interested in an herbal remedy, you could try using a few of drops of lavender oil diluted in 100 mL water and spray this on her feet -- it should help alleviate itching and may be beneficial if there is an infection. I hope you find some relief for Angel.
Deanna (Moose & Squirrel)
It just so happens that I was watching on "American Health Network" Dr. Jane Leon, was discussing that very proble. She says it could be an allergic reaction also. Even to something in the house. She said to check the feet very good, in between the toes, around the pads etc. She said it could be treated with medicine. I didn't pay attention to what kind of medicine but your vet sounds like he knows what he's doing. Good luck,Libby and Buster
Libby & Buster
You could try I part bleach to three parts water dip the feet in this twice a day it then will go away.. If you look you will find at the tip of the toe nail brown stuff that will scrape off this is the infection,, Its fungal you could use Tea tree oil but its not as good
I don't know about that bleach tip. Sounds way too strong to use on these little babies. Keep all bleach away from them, even mixed with water!!!
Hi Annette, I agree with Sylvia that it could be the urine since it is only the back feet that are affected. try putting more absorbing material down and as soon as she leaves the litter pan wash her feet off. I'm not sure what you could put on to help sooth and heal them but whatever you use make sure its not harmful if swallowed. If after a few weeks it hasn't made a difference then it may be something else. If she is digging at her ears it may be an ear problem that is also affecting her feet like mites. Did your vet check her ears? Good luck and I hope you find a solution.
Copyright 1997,1998 © Jay Bianco All rights reserved.