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Excessive Licking: Dog Paws

 Excessive Licking: Dog PawsDoes your dog like to lick and lick and lick? When your dog licks his paws it is not always good! Sometimes a dog can lick their paws too much and cause the skin to become raw. Excessive licking can also indicate another problem.  If you see your pup licking a lot, you may need to take your dog to the vet.   Excessive licking could mean your dog has a mild to severe infection, arthritis, or thorns are jammed in their padding.

Just because your dog is licking a lot doesn’t necessarily mean that something is physically wrong. If you do not see any issues or swelling, it might be a bad habit they are forming based on anxiety, boredom, or stress.

Possible Causes of Licking:

Thorns: The longer your pets fur the more likely they will attract nature when outdoors. Sometimes this results in thorns or burrs that will need to be removed since they become painful if they get jammed in the skin, especially between the pads. Also note that sticky leaves can also irritate your pet. In this case they are licking their paws excessively to remove the smell and texture.

Stress or Boredom: When a dog is bored or stressed they may tend to turn to their legs and paws… this can turn into a bad habit that will cause their skin to flake and will look similar to eczema. Simple solution: If your pet is licking their paw until it is soggy and wet, PLAY with them immediately! He or she is probably just craving for some attention. Play with them for at least 30 minutes to distract them. This will also reduce their stress levels and provide well needed exercise.

Arthritic Inflammation: Some breeds, as they get older, may develop arthritis and their joints may become painful and inflamed. One solution is acupuncture. Take your pet to an acupuncturist who understands understand animal qi (energy) so they can place stainless steel needles in their skin to reduce the inflammation.

Swollen Pad: Usually this comes from him or her being stung. If from a bee it won’t hurt them but the pad will inflame slightly for about a day. However if it was something else like a spider, this will hurt them greatly and you must take them to your veterinary immediately as this can also cause infection. Also it can be from a shard of glass that has embedded itself in their foot. If you see the glass, you can pull it out gently with tweezers. If you cannot see it, your vet will be able to remove this safely.

Fur Knots: Dogs can lick their paws to remove knots. Place your finger gently between the pads where the skin is to feel if there are any knots. Then pull up the knot and slowly cut it off. Be careful not to nip your pet by making sure that your thumb is by the skin and you cut above it. If you let the knots go they will tighten the skin and make walking uncomfortable. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself then a pet groomer or vet can do it easily.

Don’t forget fleas: One of the most common causes of excessive paw licking are fleas! It comes from the generalized itchiness and staph infections that go along with a flea problem since fleas themselves are rare on the paws. Please note that although no fleas or flea dirt are found on your pet this is no guarantee that fleas are not the cause or a contribution to the paw-licking problem. That is because the itching resulting from a fleabite, or even the presence of a flea that did not bite, go on for a long time after the flea has left. Sometimes a flea’s mere presence stimulates licking and itching.

Certain breeds seem to suffer from paw problems a bit more than others. Among those breeds are Labrador retrievers, terriers of all kinds, poodles, Chihuahuas and Maltese. White and blond-haired breeds may not be more prone to paw licking but when they do have the problem, their saliva discolors their paw fur and makes it more apparent.

If you do not know what the cause is your veterinarian can help you find it.

Treating Sore Feet

Fun with the Feet: Foot soaks! This is a great way to disinfect the paws of your dog whether their paws are infected, irritated or have been exposed to certain contaminants. By cleaning your dog’s feet properly you can avoid some of the problems mentioned above.

Whether in a tub or with a hose make sure to use an iodine solution (it is a natural antifungal, antiviral, safe, non-stinging, non-toxic, and non-abrasive) to disinfectant your pet’s paws for at least 30 seconds. Rinse and then pat the paws dry with a towel.

Other effective solutions you can use are: half a cup of vinegar per gallon of water is a great topical disinfectant. Chamomile tea bags are good if your pet’s paws are just irritated. While green tea provides healthy antioxidants to his skin. If your pet’s white feet have turned brown from excessive licking, rinsing paws with hydrogen peroxide with help remove the unsightly stains.

NOTE: It’s important to recognize that if your pet begins licking their paws it means their paws are irritated. Avoid applying cream, salves or dips. Keep the paws clean and dry. Although ointments may soothe the paws, they don’t always do an adequate job of disinfecting, or removing contaminants. Besides ointments increase the stickiness of the paws which can attract more contaminants.

If you are concerned, call your vet immediately.

Getting Long in the Beak? Time for a Trim!

It may sound scary but trimming a birds beak may be necessary (whether to help them to eat or to avoid them from hurting each other). Just like your fingernails a birds beak grows continuously throughout its life. Because of this, the beak must be constantly ground down in order for it to function properly. [...]

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Anaphylaxis in Dogs

Have you heard of someone dying from a peanut allergy or a bee sting? This is called anaphylaxis. It is a sever allergic reaction that requires immediate attention. Did you know that dogs can have anaphylactic shock too? A dog will have anaphylactic shock when they are exposed to an allergen to which they have [...]

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Ask Vetco: How To Remove a Bee Sting

A bee sting is no laughing matter for either you or your pet! If your pet spends time outdoors he or she will be at more risk, although an inside pet getting stung is not unheard of. A sting can be a matter of life and death for some pets so it is important to [...]

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Grooming Saves Money on Vet Bills

Vet bills can stack up quickly! Your dog and cat will often need more veterinary care than just an annual vaccination. Grooming is one of the best ways to save on vet bills. It is also a fantastic preventative health care routine. Brushing: Brushing is not only a nice way to spend some quiet time [...]

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Grooming for Health: Cats & Dogs

Did you know that grooming can be one of the best types of preventative health care for your dog? There are many ways for your dog to keep clean but no matter how much they roll or lick their coats they still may need help! Grooming is a vital part in the well-being and health of [...]

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Dog and Puppy Ear Infection FAQ

Ear infections are even more common in dogs than they are in humans! Most dogs suffer from this painful condition at some point. Dogs who are prone to allergies or have floppy ears can be especially vulnerable (such as Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers and Poodles). Dogs who tend to grow hair in the inner ear [...]

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Don’t Dye Your Dogs Do!

A purple dog is not only a bad fashion statement but a bad idea too! Hair dye and pets do not mix! Yes some find it cute and will even compare their pup to a ball of cotton candy but that does not mean it is healthy. Hair dyes are designed for people not pets. [...]

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I Scream, You Scream, We all scream for Ice Cream!

Come to Vetco today and get free ice cream! It is client appreciation day at Vetco on Menaul Blvd. Bring your cat or dog into the clinic, get your vaccinations, preventative care (Frontline, Heartgard), and great discounts and while you are here get your free ice cream.  We know that you have choices in your [...]

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Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July from Vetco! Have a safe and happy holiday.

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