Why is my dog constantly licking paws?

asked 2020-01-28 21:24:28 -0500

We have a 4.5 year old male corgi. Ever since he was a puppy he has always licked his front paws- the right side more than the left. We’ve taken him to the vet several times for this because sometimes it gets very infected. They give him an antibiotic and it clears up. Last time this happened(about two months ago) the vet had us put the cone on him when we weren’t home or weren’t able to watch him constantly while we were home and gave us an antibiotic. It cleared up and we continue to put cone on while we are out but we don’t want our dog living in the cone. The vet office we go to has had some veterinarian changes since we’ve been there so we’ve had a handful of opinions and advice given to us as possible things causing this-habitual, boredom, stress, diet, allergy, one even said possible benign wart(we’ve never seen any warts between his paws). We have recently changed his food but my husband and I really don’t think it’s food related because wouldn’t we see problems on his entire body and he is only licking front paws and it’s mostly his right one that he concentrates on licking, but he does do the left one. We are thinking possible environment allergy or habitual/boredom. He has plenty of toys and things to keep him busy. We have also recently started washing his front paws nightly with an antimicrobial dog wash. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated to what is possibly causing this and any ideas to make this stop.

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It could be the food that causes this. Chicken and chicken byproduct is usually the number one culprit. It can and more than likely will take up to 6-8 months to see a difference if it’s food related. Toxins are built up in the system and the baby has to clear them out before results are seen.

Toni V.'s profile image Toni V.  ( 2020-01-30 17:09:43 -0500 ) edit

My dog Marley started doing that years ago. The inner paw area would become infected, red, and a clear like mucus. Marley had food allergies to the chicken protein. Causing a yeast infection causing him to lick his paws. Sometimes his ears were affected. I changed food to a beef or fish protein.

Randi C.'s profile image Randi C.  ( 2020-01-30 20:37:32 -0500 ) edit

Also I can tell you much more but it only allows me so many words. Feel free to reach out to me via email: randi@designedconveyor.com Or you can text or call: [removed] I'm happy to help especially since my baby boy went through it.

Randi C.'s profile image Randi C.  ( 2020-01-30 20:39:23 -0500 ) edit

Randi, if you use the Answer function, then you aren't limited. Also, I can't imagine in what universe anyone would post their phone number on a public board.

Karen R.'s profile image Karen R.  ( 2020-02-06 21:36:17 -0500 ) edit

Karen, I appreciate the tips. And the universe I live in is a very happy, laid back, and stress-free. I'm not worried about posting my contact info lol. Especially due to the pet friendly community I'm open to help anyway possible. That's the universe you're finding difficult to understand. Hmmm :)

Randi C.'s profile image Randi C.  ( 2020-02-06 23:57:25 -0500 ) edit

We did switch his food to lamb(vet rec lamb or salmon) but I did notice it has chicken byproduct in it. He hasn’t been licking as much but idk if it’s food related or we’ve been really on him about not licking- hard to tell.

Susannah O.'s profile image Susannah O.  ( 2020-02-07 07:41:51 -0500 ) edit

3 Answers

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answered 2020-02-04 15:01:36 -0500

Licking and chewing at the paws tends to lean more towards allergies. (And, yes I do hear you that it is only his feet and not his whole body. ) I've worked in the Veterinary Field for 20 years and know how frustrating it can be. There are so many things that could be causing allergies from grass, to food, to something you are using in your home. I agree with you, putting a cone on your dog is the best course of treatment. If we had an itch and someone tied are hands together, it would drive us crazy. Yes you want to keep his mouth off of his feet so he does not get a secondary infection but you do want to treat the underline issue as to what is causing the itch. If you go with a food allergy and change his diet. The key to that is making sure you eliminate ALL other treats and only stick to the prescription food. You also want to make sure you give the food trial a full 4-6 months before you really will see a difference. I know you have some Owners who are against medications. Honestly, it is all your personal preference. If you do decide to go the medication route, A lot of time it is just trying different medications until you find the one that works best for your dog. ( One medication that works on one dog may not work as well on the next dog.) I have had a lot of clients who has used Apoquel and loved it. Keeping your pet on a low dose. Something I would recommend talking to your vet about He/She can really go over the pros and cons on Apoquel.
But I agree with you, on reaching out for different opinions on getting your fur baby better. Just make sure you discuss it with your Veterinarian. If your Veterinatian is not wanting to find out why he is chewing at his feet or what you can do to help relieve the chewing, your always have the option to get a second opinion for another Veterinarian in the area.

Best of Luck! - Erica Marie

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answered 2020-02-06 19:46:14 -0500

Corgi's LOVE to lick their paws. It's not a big deal but can be. Be sure to monitor it because it can sometimes cause some irritation around the area and they can start to lick their skin and get sores. How do I know this? My wife's mother bred Corgi's, my Mom has a Corgi, my sister-in-law has a Corgi, my wife's best friend has a Corgi. It's not concerning unless they develop secondary effects such as sores or blisters from it.

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That's interesting. I regularly sit for a corgi but can't recall ever having seen him lick his paws. But I will definitely take your word for it, given all your exposure to the breed. I had this other terrier mix for chewed his paws all the time but never to the extent of causing sores, etc.

Karen R.'s profile image Karen R.  ( 2020-02-06 21:34:06 -0500 ) edit

That's interesting. I regularly sit for a corgi but can't recall ever having seen him lick his paws. But I will definitely take your word for it, given all your exposure to the breed. I had this other terrier mix who chewed his paws all the time but never to the extent of causing sores, etc.

Karen R.'s profile image Karen R.  ( 2020-02-06 21:34:23 -0500 ) edit

His paws to get infected if he really goes at it licking. Last time we took him to the vet was worst I’d ever seen, it had a red infected bubble and he popped it and it was bleeding. Antibiotic helped. I think changing diet and more exercise has helped a little bit

Susannah O.'s profile image Susannah O.  ( 2020-02-07 07:43:37 -0500 ) edit
answered 2020-01-31 11:13:43 -0500

I worked on paw licking for years, but my dog also did a lot of itching as well and was prone to ear infections. The ear thing can be related paw licking, since his ear issues had to do with yeast and that would transfer from his ear to his paws. My dog initially concentrated on his rear paws as well since those were the ones he used to scratch around his ears. I tried everything from holistic treatments to many changes of diet and seeing specialists. I gave him supplements up the wazoo (all at different times) from colostrum powder to fish oil and various probiotics. He went on a raw diet, although I am not rigid about treats, etc. I also bathed him in special medicated shampoos. We still use Malaseb. The doctors generally say it is probably environmental so I wouldn't bother with the time and expense of putting your dog on an expensive prescription diet of hydrolized protein.

I did everything to avoid my dog having to get steroidal shots. I did not want that but he was scratching himself bloody and had elephant like skin under his pits. All four paws were subject to licking and it showed because my dog is one of those with that enzyme in his saliva and tears that turns white hair/fur brown.

Finally, a couple of years ago, I gave in to one of his doctor's recommendations because there was a new shot, a nonsteroidal called Cytopoint, and its efficacy was being touted. Oh yes, I also refused to put him on Apoquel, which was being prescribed for many, many dogs, like Ritalin or Adderall have been prescribed for children. This shot is a biologic and it worked like magic. He stopped licking and itching. It is supposed to be given monthly, but he can go much longer in between, especially in winter. This may not be the solution you were looking for but I investigated and worked on this for more than 7 years before giving up.

Good luck!

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Thanks for your answer! We tried the Cytopoint about a year ago. The vet suggested keeping a log of how often he was licking after it and we really didn’t notice a difference in the licking habits after the shot. I really just have no idea what else to do for his paws and to get him to stop

Susannah O.'s profile image Susannah O.  ( 2020-01-31 14:41:08 -0500 ) edit

Wow! Then it is probably not allergy related because Cytopoint worked like magic. He stopped licking and itching immediately. He might do a bit of licking on his body periodically but he doesn't have brown paws anymore. More activity? I would think a corgi might like agility courses. Socks?

Karen R.'s profile image Karen R.  ( 2020-01-31 15:40:50 -0500 ) edit

Yeah I don’t think the Cytopoint worked- now I’m wondering if you’re right that it isn’t allergy related. Maybe a boredom thing, he has plenty of things to chew on though. We’re in the middle of house hunting and I’ve been thinking a yard to run may help

Susannah O.'s profile image Susannah O.  ( 2020-02-01 13:42:14 -0500 ) edit

When my husbands mom has watched him overnight in the past, she said he didn’t lick or bite his paws at all. So if it isn’t allergy my other thought is boredom. The last vet we saw mentioned Apoquel but I didn’t know anything about it and said I’d think about it, but I haven’t followed up

Susannah O.'s profile image Susannah O.  ( 2020-02-01 13:44:03 -0500 ) edit

No, you don't want to start with Apoquel. It's for allergies. More activities might be the way to go. Oh yes, I also tried spraying his paws with bitter apple. Didn't really help either. Interesting about how he didn't do it at your MIL's. Does she have a yard and he ran around a lot?

Karen R.'s profile image Karen R.  ( 2020-02-02 09:38:21 -0500 ) edit

Yes she has a yard and he was able to run, so he was likely really tired after and not thinking about his paw at all. We also tried apple butter spray and it worked short term but eventually he was licking again. We’re house searching now and top priority for us is a yard. Maybe it’s just boredom.

Susannah O.'s profile image Susannah O.  ( 2020-02-03 10:24:24 -0500 ) edit

My top things I was thinking for the licking is boredom or allergy. Once we have the yard I guess we’ll have a better idea. I don’t want to be giving him meds if I don’t need to. Thank you for your help, that was wonderful and I appreciate it :)

Susannah O.'s profile image Susannah O.  ( 2020-02-03 10:25:46 -0500 ) edit

My doberman licks his paws, they get infected but in between antibiotics I use a tea tree oil spray. It is antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal. Also it is a strong smell, kinda like eucalyptus. It keeps him off it for a while.

Carol M.'s profile image Carol M.  ( 2020-02-14 14:30:57 -0500 ) edit

Tea tree oil... excellent suggestion. Works well. I've also used Apple Cider Vinegar (undiluted) in a spray bottle that I keep in the chilled in the fridge.

Megan M.'s profile image Megan M.  ( 2020-03-01 04:10:15 -0500 ) edit

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