Yeast Infection in Dogs' Paws: Diagnosis and Management
Article by Wyatt Robinson
Excessive Paw Licking in Dogs - It May Not Be Allergies
Article by Dr Peter Dobias, DVM
Obsessive Compulsive Disorders in Dogs (OCD)
By Pat Miller, CPDT-KA, CDBC for The Whole Dog Journal
Paw Licking and Chewing in the French Bulldog
French Bulldogs can be a Breed that suddenly start to lick and chew their feet. Excessive paw licking can be very frustrating, not only to the dog, but also the owner trying to trying to rectify the problem.
There can be a number of reasons why dogs lick their feet and it is often a process of elimination to find the actual cause. We will address a few possibilities here, however it is important to speak to your Veterinarian about any health concerns you have with your Frenchie.
This is the first thing to look for. Items such as burrs, small stones, sticks, grass seeds etc. might be the cause for your dog to suddenly start licking or chewing at it's paws.
BITES AND STINGS
Spiders, bees, ants, wasps in fact any number of insects can cause a reaction to your dog. It is advisable to seek Veterinary advice should you be concerned.
Often a simple anti-histamine will settle down a reaction to an insect bite but you must seek Veterinary advice in regard to this.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis - An allergic skin disorder that can occur if your dog is hypersensitive to flea saliva. Flea saliva is injected into a dog when it bites into your dogs flesh. It contains many antigens which many dogs are susceptible to.
The bite of a single flea is enough to trigger a reaction if your dog is prone to Flea Allergy Dermatitis. If this happens to be on your dogs legs or paws, it can start the process of chewing and licking in this region.
Grass, trees, pollen, dirt, pollens, mould, dust mites - infact anything a dog might walk on. Any one or more of these things can cause an allergic reaction to your dog if it is prone.
Food Allergy - not always an obvious thought as to why a dog would lick its feet, but dogs can often be allergic to the grain often found in most brands of kibble, especially the premium brands.
There are several grain-free varieties available now in Australia and it is worth looking into these if you havent already tried. The larger chain supermarkets also stock these types of kibble now as well, so it is readily available and affordable to try. Give your dog at least 6 weeks on Grain-free before you decide if it has helped or not as it is not an instant remedy.
Dogs may also have food allergies or food intolerance to certain other ingredients, such as beef, chicken, fish, and soy. You will need to eliminate every suspect food at once and introduce them one at a time over a period of time to determine if one in particular is causing a problem. Be guided by your Vet or Breeder for advice on elimination diets.
A yeast infection more commonly affects a dogs ears and feet, but is not totally restricted to just these areas.
Yeast is usually more prominent in the summer, and can be more prevalent in humid conditions or if you have a dog that likes to swim.
A yeast infection is often mistaken for an allergy. You will need your Vet to examine your dog and swab to test for yeast so that you can treat it appropriately.
Yeast causes a lot of itchiness and discomfort. This makes the dog lick and chew its feet, which just creates an even more moist environment for the yeast to thrive on. A dog with yeasty paws will be red between the toes and often have a rust coloured stain on and around the areas in which it is chewing. It usually has an odour like mouldy bread.
A yeast infection can happen for many reasons, even in normally unaffected dogs if they have been on anti-biotics for something else. There are links to the left under further reading which explain causes and treatment in more details.
ENJOYMENT and/or OCD
Yes, you read that right, some dogs just enjoy chewing their feet. So much so that it can develop into a very hard to stop habit.
Another reason why a dog could be chewing on his feet is because of an obsessive compulsive behavior. Dogs can develop Canine Compulsive Disorder, which is brought on by anxiety, stress, or boredom.
Licking can be very calming particulalry for a nervy dog. It releases feel good endorphins and the dog starts to associate this feeling of calm and happy to its behaviour. This type of behaviour is often the hardest to correct and will take stimulation and destraction for the behaviour to try and break the habit.
Foul tasting sprays, such as those used by Veterinarians to stop dogs chewing at bandages can be used in conjunction with behaviour modification. Please only use sprays on the advice of your Vet.
A recent study has shown a link between excessive paw licking and pain related neurological reactions. The full article can be read by clicking on the link under further reading.