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  • Licking paws

    My dog, Barnum, frequently licks and nibbles at his front paws. I thought it might be arthritis (he's 7 1/2), but none of the info I find online about canine arthritis says anything about licking joints. Mostly it talks about a decline in activity or willingness to play, which doesn't seem to be an issue with him. Any thoughts about what it might be? Or if it is arthritis, is there anything I can do that doesn't involve liver-damaging (and expensive) Rimadyl?

    Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe...



  • #2
    Re: Licking paws

    Is it around his nail area? One of my dogs frequently does that whenever his nails are bothering him. Then I have another dog who does it just out of boredom, only she does it on her whole front leg.

    Hope you find the answer. Good luck.

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    • #3
      Re: Licking paws

      I'd ask your vet. (Seems an obvious answer! ha!) My sister's dog (and, I don't want to scare you) had cancer in her leg, and she was always licking and chewing at it. Just have it checked out...might be a simple fix!

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      • #4
        Re: Licking paws

        My dog's done it ever since we've gotten her. She licks her paws, toys, bed, us, everything she can get her tongue on. Never thought anything of it, except when it gets loud and a bit annoying.

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        • #5
          Re: Licking paws

          It could be a breed specific thing. When I had a Basenji mix dog, I read that they tend to lick their feet and groom like cats. One of the dogs we have now (not a Basenji) licks her front feet pretty much all the time to the point of being loud and annoying and soundling like a slobbering pig.... but with her I think its mostly bordom (and she's so tubby she can't reach anything else to lick )

          I did a google search and typed in "ask the vet" in the search window. There are lots of web pages where you might be able to find an answer. (Getting ready for work didn't have time to dig deeper). Otherwise, it might be a good idea to give your regular vet a call and ask, just to put your mind at ease about it.




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          • #6
            Re: Licking paws

            My pug, Disney does the same thing. I asked my vet about the licking paws and he told me it's his allergies. My vet advised me to make sure his paws are dry and clean. And once a week clean them with diluted rubbing alcohol.

            He still licks them but he tends to lick them more often in the morning hours and right before bed time.

            If I see any redness in between the paws, Disney needs to take an antihistamine with a antibiotic.

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            • #7
              Re: Licking paws

              I have a 6 year old white Shih-tzu. A few years ago she been licking and nipping at her paws. I thought it was harmless at first, but after awhile it became constant, loud, annoying and completely discoloured her legs & paws to a reddish colour. The vet said it was allergies, which I thought was weird. Why didn't she have them before? Why did it start suddenly? Anyway the vet gave me a bottle of shampoo called "cortisoothe." You use a dime size amount on affected areas a few times per week and it eases the itch and they eventually stop the behaviour. A few months later I ran into a city employee in the park where I take the dog and we got to chatting and I found they had been spraying that park around the time the "allergy" started. Maybe your dog has developed a sensitivity to something in its environment? I would check with a vet to rule out something more serious than a skin affliction - but if it's an itch, get cortisoothe. It works miracles.
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              • #8
                Re: Licking paws

                Paw licking is a sign of an infection and/or allergy. Of course there are other things it could be, but those are usually the two things. I would check with your vet and/or give him a Benadryl to see if that squashes things.

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                • #9
                  Re: Licking paws

                  Our dog Tobey does this frequently. Mostly when he over does it playing with other doggies he gets this tiny blister on the bottom of his paw in between. The vet said just soak his paw in a bowl of warm water with Epson salt and it seems to work.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Licking paws

                    Call the vet, set up an appointment to have the pup looked at. It is almost definitely an allergy. They pop up at any time (just like with us) but they most commonly show their intolerance in their skin. It makes the skin dry and itchy. He can't use his back legs on the front legs, so he licks. And licks. And licks.

                    Benadryl might be all you need, but I'd still consult the vet BEFORE use so you get the proper weight to meds ratio and make sure you get the right type. There are a variety of other things you can do, too. You may need to re-evaluate his diet, or grooming routine to help the problem if that's what it is.

                    Good luck.
                    "But every night, when it gets dark
                    and the stars come out,
                    I'll look up on her behalf.
                    I'll look up in the sky and think of you."





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                    • #11
                      Re: Licking paws

                      Alergy, my dog did the same thing. we changed foods, its now gone. and it took time. Also alergy meds. he does not do it any more.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Licking paws

                        I've got quite a few dogs that have this problem and, for every single one of them, the cause is allergies. The treatments vary between dogs however, so a trip to the bet is necessary.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Licking paws

                          If it's arthritis use glucosamine. Works wonders on people and is safe for dogs. Barnum's a little guy so I'd check dosage, but it's good stuff.
                          I pledge allegiance to the Earth, one planet, many gods, and to the universe in which she spins.

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