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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.
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Licking and chewing paws
by Jacqui
Licking and chewing paws Hello, our dog Benjamin is licking and chewing paws. We tried everything, special eximer creams, bandages, distractions etc. but eventualy his one toe became so bad he had to have an operation to have it removed. It is much better now (on the one foot) but is still licking the other feet a lot. Does anyone know of any remidies to try and get him to stop?


What does your vet say ? My late lhasa apso used to lick his paws a lot. One was also pretty bad, but not to the point of needing surgery. He was allergic all year around. From 2 years old to the day he died he was on prednisone, and the last couple of years on a high dosage just to keep him comfortable. If his immune system is down, he could also have mites. A lot of times, paws licking is a sign of allergies.

Hi Jacqui, it sounds to me like you've tried everything. What did your vet say you should do? My cousin had a poodle that did this and had surgery like your dog did. She came to find out the dog had a skin disease that needed aggressive treatment with oral medicine and creams for the skin. She also had to bathe her with a special shampoo. After all that, the dog stopped chewing and biting her skin. If you haven't asked your vet about this, ask him/her and maybe this will solve the problem. I've also heard of people spraying bitter apple spray on the hair to discourage chewing, but you should ask your vet about this. I don't know if the bitter apple is a good idea or not. Good Luck!
My Fozzie chews his paws too. It's really too bad because then his paw fur turns red just like his eyes. It looks like he has shoes on. Anyways, it's probably best that you take him to see a vet because it is possibly something he is allergic to. I changed my little ones food to Iams lamb and rice and he seems to be okay now. Some dogs are allergic to corn based foods and all dogfood is corn based. I have heard that Iams has this new food which is potatoe based. Maybe that will work. See your vet, they will be able to tell you with a blood test. Unfortunately, they cost $150 but I bet your operation was quite expensive too. Best of luck!
This is one of those answers that really falls under the warning "I'm not a Vet, but..." ! I read in a recent dog magazine that using the Bitter Apple Spray on a dog's foot, tail, etc will help them to stop chewing. This spray is normally used on furniture to stop the teething/chewing action...I've used it on furniture and it didn't cause any side effects. Good luck, your baby must be in misery (and you too).
I once had a dog that chewed on her paws. I got severel answers from different people-vets. 1) she is bored. 2) she has a near infection. 3) She has skin allergies.

Solutions- 1) borded- keep her occupied- get her a playmate when Im not home. 2) Ear infections- vet assistance 3) allergies - allergy shampoos, shots, food made with skin in mind, ex: avoderm. With my dog it was skin and the vet started giving her steriod shots. Well there are pros and cons to steriods and it didn't stop her completly. Thats when I discovered avoderm an avacado based food, though it may not work for all dogs it solved my dogs problem for good.
Kathy S.

I wrote a fairly lenghty reply to someone else on this (read back in the forum). Allergies, boredom and stress are the most common causes. Unfortunately, even after you find the underlying cause and treat that, it sometimes has become a habit by that time that can be hard to break. If it has become so bad that you had to have a toe removed, then you really need to look into the underlying cause and try to alleviate that before you can work on behavioral changes. Being that allergies are so common, you may want to look into allergy testing. Not all vets do this, so ask your vet to recommend you to a specialist if they don't offer this service. I know it can be expensive, but you should at least discuss the possibility with your vet. Once you know what your dog is allergic to, you can take steps to limit or eliminate exposure to the allergen, and sometimes they will give the dog allergy shots (just like people with allergies), I've seen moderate success with the shots.. but it can take a long time.
Licking and Chewing: Aimee is right on the target with her response. I had my cocker mix tested and she's allergic to all protein sources meats)except eggs. And if I give her eggs routinely, guess what??! She's on a veggie diet and after a few months we'll add a meat back and see.

I had tried everything for licking (and for a hot spot) until one day a friend suggested I use that green stuff for a sore throat (chloroseptic spray) and it works. Messy, but...! Seems it numbs the area and the dog stops or lets up on the licking so the place can heal.

By the way, this is my first time on here and what a great bunch of people! Lots of good ideas and help, too.

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