Is your dog licking at his paws continuously? Notice a red, swollen, inflamed look to the area in between the paws? If this is happening, read on!
Dog Keeps Licking Paw All the Time
Not just does extreme licking cause pain for your dog, however it is frequently due to a hidden medical problem. Often times, extreme licking of the paws is due to one of 3 underlying causes:
- Atopy (the equivalent of hay fever in people)
- Food allergies
- Flea allergy dermatitis (typically abbreviated “FAD”)
Hidden irritation is what results in that constant foot licking; the moisture triggered by extreme foot licking between the paws can cause a secondary bacterial or yeast infection. This can in fact worsen the itchiness and medical signs.
Excessive licking of the paws warrants a trip to your veterinarian, as specific tests have to be performed to dismiss skin issues.
How will my veterinarian figure out why my dog is licking his paws?
Diagnosis of a hidden infection needs particular tests from your vet consisting of:
- Tape preparation cytology (analysis using a piece of tape)
- Skin biopsy (less typical)
Once these tests are done, your vet can identify the best course of suitable treatment. Treatment normally consists of:
- The use of anti-fungals (if there is a yeast infection)
- Antibiotics (to treat a bacterial infection)
- Regular shampooing with a prescription shampoo
- Topical sprays
- Making use of short-term steroids to decrease the inflammation
But that’s not all! Your dog might need extra screening to eliminate atopy, food allergies, or flea allergic reaction dermatitis. This might include:
- A food trial with an unique (new) protein for a minimum of 6-12 weeks — It is absolutely crucial that you ensure no other rawhides, treats, snakes, bones or other food products (even heartworm medication) are given during this time. Ideally, food trials ought to be begun in the winter (depending upon the environment that you live in).
- Year-round flea and tick medication that eliminates rapidly — Newer prescription oral products (e.g., Bravecto, Nexguard) can eliminate these pesky pests within 12 hours, lessening the risk of problem.
- Skin testing or blood screening — To see what particular airborne allergies might be triggering atopy.
If treatment by your veterinarian doesn’t entirely resolve the signs, referral to a dermatologist may be needed for advanced testing.
When in doubt, speak to your vet about how to best treat this condition. Remember, occasional licking is ok, however if it’s continuous and causing secondary inflammation, swelling or irritation, get to a vet for treatment.
Questions to ask your veterinarian:
- Does my dog require a prescription food trial?
- Does my dog need year-round flea and tick control?
- Does my dog have a secondary bacterial or yeast infection?
- Does my dog need a recommendation to a veterinary skin specialist?
Also read: Why Do Dogs Lick Wounds?