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Paw Chewing - NEED HELP

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Calypso has been chewing her paws post-allergies, which is what caused her to start. Most of the allergies have subsided (she's still taking an anti-histamine but lower dose until the weather cools even more, it's mid-50s F here) and she's not scratching anymore, we finished the prednisone per vet's instructions, but she's still chewing. It seems like a habit at this point and her paws probably do sting (they're bald, red, and have sores...just short of bleeding).

 

Nothing stops her!!! We tried bitter tasting vet wrap over hydrocortisone lotion and she tore it off at night and then licked. Bitter Apple sprayed directly on her paws and she powers through the taste apparently. A soft cone that was too floppy so she shoved her feet right in. And last a sturdy cone that didn't help either. She just contorted herself into a pretzel and got her back feet within tongue range anyway. The next size up in the cone would be way too big and wouldn't fit.

 

What do we do??? She won't stop licking the feet. We soaked her back feet in Bitter Apple after letting the hydrocortisone lotion (supposed to soothe the feet) get absorbed a bit. The front feet are perfectly fine but the back are terrible.

 

Help!!! She mostly licks at night, during the day she's either supervised or just leaves them alone and looks out of the window.

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Moosikins, I'm so sorry that Calypso's feet are sore and driving her nuts! I'm sure others will have some good ideas.

 

Have you tried putting booties on her back feet? (after the hydrocortizone?)

 

PAWZ makes some re-usebale rubber ones that look hard to get off...I haven't tried them, but my local pet stores carry them... I have put cotton socks on my dogs before and wrapped the tops with vet wrap tape so they couldn't pull them off at night.

 

I wonder if the bitter apple could be making things worse- doesn't it have alcohol in it? That might sting.

 

I've also used aloe vera (100% gel) and calendula tea soaks for soothing irritation-- but check with your vet.

 

Hope she finds some relief soon!

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I'll second Alreada's suggestion about the bitter Apple spray. It does indeed have alcohol in it, which might not only sting but be incredibly drying to her already irritated skin.

 

Would the combo of a cone and some foot covers help? It might be in tongue's reach, but a boot would stop any licking. I'd be more inclined to do a sock or something breathable rather than the harder nylon or rubber boots.

 

I also wonder if a slim muzzle might help. If it doesn't bother her at night, a muzzle with a solid mesh piece would stop the licking.

 

It's hard to tell if they're itching due to continued allergies, the already irritated foot, or just out of habit. Stress might also be a factor, with a new baby and all. My mom's terrier got rolled by a horse and had the inside of his thigh grazed. Far worse than the injury was the monthlong bout of self-induced road rash from all the habitual licking. I feel your pain, hopefully she gets some relief!

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I just wanted to say that when I tried Bitter Apple on a stair baluster to stop my dog (then a puppy) from chewing it, he actually LIKED the taste. When I sprayed, he immediately went over to the baluster and started licking. ;)

 

Maybe Calypso also likes the taste? Or at least is not offended by it. I have heard of other dogs with a similar reaction to Bitter Apple.

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She rips any and all booties off, we've tried them all (for winter purposes). She even tore off vet wrap that I wrapped tightly around her paws. The cone was surprisingly ineffective, she just stuck her paw right in there well within reach, even with booties it wouldn't be an issue for her to tear them off and continue. She's got a short torso and long legs...they fit right in. I wish it was the front paws that were irritated, then the cone would work!

 

The Bitter Apple says it's for hot spots which is why we were using it. She doesn't like the taste but she will still lick towards the morning while making what would be hilarious faces if she wasn't licking her skin off. That hydrocortisone lotion seems really soothing but she licks it all off (she loves lotion and tries to lick mine too...).

 

She's actually doing okay this morning. She didn't lick at night at all because she was sound asleep. Looks like we're going to run her to exhaustion until she leaves the paws alone. I'm really leaning towards habit and to clean the wounds rather than itching because she's still taking an antihistamine and nothing else seems to itch.

 

Thanks for the suggestions, I think the mesh muzzle is next. Can she drink in it?

 

Poor girl, I have no idea how she'll react to it. She "broke" with the cone. Sat there and hung her head because she couldn't figure out how to lay down. Then she shoved herself into her crate and couldn't turn around so she just stood there, completely stuck. I had to reach in and drag her head around so her body followed. She was probably being extra pathetic so we'd take it off, but she was clearly upset with it too. :(

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I would try to put booties on her when she goes outside or wash her feet and legs when she comes in and dry them with a hairdryer. This will remove any pollens. I would try an oatmeal shampoo or shampoo with cortisone. She might enjoy chewing a raw beef bone from the butcher shop and leave her paws alone.

 

Hopefully it will get better as the pollens finish for the season

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Sorry. Didn't see your note to respond to this post until after I'd replied.

 

In my limited experience with one severely allergic dog (weeds, i.e. late summer and fall allergies), the itching didn't stop until we had a killing frost. What looked like the subsiding of allergens to us didn't have any effect on him at all. He was miserable until there was a hard frost. :(

 

I'd really recommend testing and desensitization shots for Calypso.

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I just wanted to say that when I tried Bitter Apple on a stair baluster to stop my dog (then a puppy) from chewing it, he actually LIKED the taste. When I sprayed, he immediately went over to the baluster and started licking. ;)

 

I had a dog who loved Bitter Apple as well. Actually, it was the same dog who had the severe allergies, so even applying Bitter Apple before he'd chewed down to bare skin didn't help because he'd just happily lick it off like it was a treat. :rolleyes:

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No help, but I just wanted to say that I'm sorry you are dealing with this. It is an incredibly difficult and frustrating issue. :(

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Update: I took Cal to the vet to get her feet checked out (and for a nail trim since I don't enjoy trimming a weredog). Stool sample came back negative for hook worms and other gross things (apparently they can cause crazy itchy feet that initially seem like allergies but aren't) and a skin scraping of all four paws came back with nothing, which is good news. So no worms and no mange!

 

And today her feet look white instead of red, which I can see quite clearly because now she's got naked gremlin feet where she chewed all the fur off. We're going to give her another week to see if she'll heal up because she's had good days in between the chewing where the feet aren't red and she doesn't lick. We're supposed to have our first frost this week so hopefully this is the tail end of allergies and now she'll just STOP. If she doesn't stop in a week (with continued hydrocortisone lotion and antihistamines just in case), she'll be going to a dog dermatologist that was recommended by the vet.

 

If she doesn't need to go to the dermatologist in the next few weeks and the paws heal up on their own, we'll wait until the new year and while there's still snow on the ground, we'll visit the dermatologist proactively to see what we can do to avoid this problem for next Spring and/or Fall.

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My aussie does this. I think he has mild allergies and he will do it WAY more if he's anxious or stressed about anything. Also if I do things like trim the hair on his feet or trim his nails he will start to foot suck. The ONLY thing that will stop it is the largest cone you can get because like your dog, with the smaller one he can contort and get his back feet. I think part of it is a cycle where the licking causes increased irritation so then he feels the need to lick even more. He gets sad with the cone on but after 3-4 days his feet look happy again and we can take it off.

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My aussie does this. I think he has mild allergies and he will do it WAY more if he's anxious or stressed about anything. Also if I do things like trim the hair on his feet or trim his nails he will start to foot suck. The ONLY thing that will stop it is the largest cone you can get because like your dog, with the smaller one he can contort and get his back feet. I think part of it is a cycle where the licking causes increased irritation so then he feels the need to lick even more. He gets sad with the cone on but after 3-4 days his feet look happy again and we can take it off.

 

Do you get a soft cone or one of the plastic ones? The pet store didn't have an XL so I may have to hunt one down.

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I wonder if a BooBooLoon might be less awkward for the dog? http://www.amazon.com/BooBooLoon-Inflatable-Recovery-Collar-Medium/dp/B005JXE5O0 I know if it were me I'd rather wear this than a cone.

 

They seem to have been sold to Kong and have a new name now, though from the link above still seem to be available under the old name. http://www.boobooloon.com/

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@GentleLake - I tried what must have been an off-brand one of those along with the various cones. She just forced her foot into her mouth anyway...My little contortionist, so frustrating! I got the largest one that would still allow her to rest her head and it wasn't wide enough to keep the feet away. :unsure:

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Do you notice any dark or rust colored gummy residue in between the pads? It has a distinctive odor as well. It is common for yeast build up to cause irritation in conjunction with allergic dermatitis. Nizoral is an over the counter medicated shampoo that addresses yeast/fungus.

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I've been dogsitting a german shepherd recently who has this issue. She will chew her feet to the point she can barely walk. Allergies contribute but also stress seems to play a role. She's also prone to skin and ear infections, so she just has that type of skin. Anyway, I've used this stuff called sulfodene. It comes in several forms but I use just the basic ointment that is like a greasy yellow liquid. I am sure it hurts when I apply it, but with skin that irritated I would think even hydrocortisone would sting. It smells AWFUL and in no way appetizing. Anyway, it always clears up and heals her paws very quickly, and the smell definitely prevents her from chewing.

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It is this kind:

 

http://www.sulfodene.com/medfordogs.htm

 

Her owner uses the 3-way ointment though, so I think either would work. She was so bad one time when he was gone for a couple of weeks I almost took her to the vet. He texted for me to try that, and the yellow stuff was all the store had. She was almost totally healed within a couple days, and stayed healed for the rest of the visit, and it's worked since then too. I have had the same bottle for a while, you don't need much.

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I have a dog that has bad allergies and was chewing his paws pretty bad. In addition to treatment my vet gave him, we did a couple of things that seem to have worked well. We kept his feet dry - didn't wash all the time, but would wipe off or dry with a dry towel, and my vet got us a powder itch reliever that worked well and helped with hot spots, rather than a spray. We also started feeding a tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil with 1 meal a day, occasionally switching it with salmon oil. this was something my vet suggested. Seems to be working pretty well. He completely stopped chewing his feet. Not sure why the oil helps with allergies, but it seems to.

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Paw Update: Slowly improving...very slowly. The anxiety of our move drove Cal to chew a bit more but a week in and she's leaving them alone, the fur is starting to grow, and they're white instead of pink.

 

For funsies, I'm uploading a few pics of Cal having fun in the yard. I think having the yard makes her so happy and less stressed. I've never seen her happier than when she's running around back there!

 

If you want to see more pics, including some hilariously unflattering ones of Cal running and looking like a derp, check out the Flickr account under the same screen name! :)post-17030-0-37465500-1446392219_thumb.jpegpost-17030-0-88831500-1446392229_thumb.jpegpost-17030-0-34211200-1446392242_thumb.jpeg

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I especially love that last photo, she looks so happy!

 

If you have issues with her paws again (and I hope you don't). Many years ago I had a dog that injured her paw and would not leave the wrap alone so the vet gave me a spray to keep the dog from chewing her wrap. I don't remember what the spray was called but it worked on a dog that considered bitter apple spray a treat. It was nasty stuff and I had to spray it outside and not inhale or I would start coughing but it worked and my dog didn't bother the wraps. You may want to ask your vet if she starts chewing her paws again.

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Ouch! Sounds like her feet are very sore. I've had issues with my Loki- he doesn't have allergies but will occasionally get cuts/punctures in the interdigital space and then lick it until he develops a secondary infection. So when he has a cut between his tootsies he gets that foot bathed with malaseb shampoo twice a week, oral antibiotics, and gets to wear an e-collar or sock until it's getting fairly healed. There are a lot of approaches depending on your dogs particular issues and your vet can help you find the best one. So if the first method the vet recommends doesn't work check back with them for advice on another approach.

 

Bethany

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