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    Angry Constantly licking face and paws

    Maggie is CONSTANTLY licking her lips and paws. To the point of injury on her paws and chin. Because bullies and prone to chapped chins the constant licking causes rubbing on the floor and paws and makes her chin bleed and her paws break out. When I can keep her monitored and stop her from licking her paws, they don't break out. (Interdigital cysts) she will sit on my bed and lick and lick and lick until I have been driven mad.

    She has always done this and has no indications of allergies. No flaky/inflamed skin. No obsessive scratching. Her bowel movements are normal. She doesn't lick anything but herself. It's almost as if her mouth is uncomfortable but her teeth are healthy and her gums are nice and pink. I have no idea how to stop it besides putting spray on her paws. That will not stop the lip licking. She does it the most right after eating.
    Please help before I jump out my window from that constant smacking sound. I can't take it!!!

    P.s. It's good to be back!

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    Default Re: Constantly licking face and paws

    Well the licking can be a sign of allergies. you can give her 1mg of benedryl per pound to see if she gets any relief. you can also try to wipe off her paws after being outside incase she has a grass allergy. how much does she weigh? She may be licking her lips because she is transferring whatever is on her paws to her lips.
    My smooshy face boy!

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    Default Re: Constantly licking face and paws

    She weighs 42 pounds. She's very small but a healthy weight for her height. Should I just use a dry towel or should it be wet?

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    Default Re: Constantly licking face and paws

    Quote Originally Posted by alyssahope View Post
    Maggie is CONSTANTLY licking her lips and paws. To the point of injury on her paws and chin. Because bullies and prone to chapped chins the constant licking causes rubbing on the floor and paws and makes her chin bleed and her paws break out. When I can keep her monitored and stop her from licking her paws, they don't break out. (Interdigital cysts) she will sit on my bed and lick and lick and lick until I have been driven mad.

    She has always done this and has no indications of allergies. No flaky/inflamed skin. No obsessive scratching. Her bowel movements are normal. She doesn't lick anything but herself. It's almost as if her mouth is uncomfortable but her teeth are healthy and her gums are nice and pink. I have no idea how to stop it besides putting spray on her paws. That will not stop the lip licking. She does it the most right after eating.
    Please help before I jump out my window from that constant smacking sound. I can't take it!!!

    P.s. It's good to be back!
    You say she has no signs of allergies, but licking is a huge sign of allergies. I would look at her food first, and see what ingredient could be causing it. Environmental could also be it, but since you say its after she eats, I'm thinking it may be the food. Does she eat grain free? Rice, chicken, tend to be big allergy tickers for bullies.

    My whole heart, Tyson.
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    Default Re: Constantly licking face and paws

    She is allergic to chicken. Her food is chicken and grain free.

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    Default Re: Constantly licking face and paws

    Quote Originally Posted by alyssahope View Post
    She is allergic to chicken. Her food is chicken and grain free.
    Great! How long as she been on the food? I know we had Tyson on Salmon for 4 yrs with no issues, then he started showing signs of allergies, licking paws til they turned brown, face, etc. We switched him to another protein, added coconut oil, and plain yogurt & it really helped. It was hard though, bc when I was looking for foods, it seemed even though it said "beef" the ingredients still had chicken, fish, etc. While we're doing okay now... its still not 100%, but I think for us, its part environmental. We have to wipe him down after every walk. All 4 paws, in between toes, his belly, his face, booty. All... we used scent free baby wipes & witch hazel and Malacetic Wipes.

    Maybe try the benedryl first to see if it helps! I know how annoying it can be :/ I feel like its a never ending battle for us!

    My whole heart, Tyson.
    Whoever said diamonds are a girls best friend, obviously never owned a Bulldog.

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    Default Re: Constantly licking face and paws

    Quote Originally Posted by alyssahope View Post
    She weighs 42 pounds. She's very small but a healthy weight for her height. Should I just use a dry towel or should it be wet?
    If you give the benedryl just give one tablet. I would use a damp cloth to wipe her feet.
    My smooshy face boy!

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    Default Re: Constantly licking face and paws

    Quote Originally Posted by TyTysmom View Post
    Great! How long as she been on the food? I know we had Tyson on Salmon for 4 yrs with no issues, then he started showing signs of allergies, licking paws til they turned brown, face, etc. We switched him to another protein, added coconut oil, and plain yogurt & it really helped. It was hard though, bc when I was looking for foods, it seemed even though it said "beef" the ingredients still had chicken, fish, etc. While we're doing okay now... its still not 100%, but I think for us, its part environmental. We have to wipe him down after every walk. All 4 paws, in between toes, his belly, his face, booty. All... we used scent free baby wipes & witch hazel and Malacetic Wipes.

    Maybe try the benedryl first to see if it helps! I know how annoying it can be :/ I feel like its a never ending battle for us!

    She has been on this food for a couple years. I used to have her on salmon and I can't remember how the licking was then. I'll try that out and see if it helps.

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    Default Re: Constantly licking face and paws

    Just remember to change one thing at a time so you can be sure what the problem was.
    My smooshy face boy!

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    Default Re: Constantly licking face and paws

    Hi, Rosalie and Jessica have you covered with great advice. Excessive licking is a definite sign of allergies. Dogs will lick because they are itchy. My Blossom is allergic to chicken, salmon, beef and grains. I've switched their food 4 times, and currently have them on Fomms Lamb and Lentil grain free. They were on Fromm's Beef Frittata for 2 years before they started showing allergy signs, but chicken and salmon were the worst. Try the Benadryl to see if she gets some relief or improvement from the symptoms, and then try to determine the allergy triggers. It can be food which the only way to find one that she tolerates is trial and error, they can be caused by environmental factors like grass, pollens etc, or from products you use in the house like laundry soaps, cleaning products, or shampoos. I hope you find the triggers, but as a last resort you can have Maggie tested by the vet for allergies.
    LEARN A LESSON FROM YOUR DOG, NO MATTER WHAT LIFE BRINGS YOU, KICK SOME GRASS OVER THAT AND MOVE ON.

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    Default Re: Constantly licking face and paws

    Allergies – Canine Atopy


    I suspect that allergies top the list of reasons why dogs lick their paws excessively. The most common of those allergies are the ones to things that you dog inhales – probably the same ones that would cause hay fever in you. Grass pollen is high on the list, as are mold spores, weed and tree pollen.


    Just like in humans, things found indoors, like dust mites, cockroaches and cat dander can be the culprits too. It is quite unusual for a dog to only lick its paws due to allergies. When allergies are the root cause of the problem, with time, the dog’s whole body, particularly its flanks also become itchy and other problems, like musty odor, hair loss, excessive shedding, ear infections and matter at the inner corners of the eye are likely to occur as well. Although the problem often begins seasonally, it usually progresses to a year round problem. You can read more about allergy problems in dogs here.


    Contact Allergies and Irritants


    When you suspect that the cause of paw licking is allergic and the problem never progresses to a general body itchiness, explore the possibility that your pet might be allergic to substances that end up on its paws. Is the problem worse when it returns from the yard or a walk? Does the problem go away while the dog is away from your home for extended periods? Does a foot rinse basin alleviate the problem? Did the problem begin when you started using some cleaning or odor control product or moved to a new home?
    Toy breeds seem particularly prone to this problem.


    Persistently wet paws, either from a damp environment or from excessive sweating, will eventually cause paw infections and inflammation.


    Food Allergies - Often Discussed, But Rarely The Cause


    Food allergies are rarely the cause of paw licking. They are not nearly as common in dogs as some believe. They reason they are so often discussed, and hoped for is that a food allergy can be treated without drugs or time-consuming procedures and because so many veterinarians have them (hypoallergenic diets) for sale. That said, a sixty-to-ninety day trial on one of these products is always worth the try because it would be so nice if it did truly work - just don’t get your hopes up too high.


    The fact that a blood test determined that your pet was “sensitive” to some meat protein or grain product does not make these hypoallergenic products much more likely to be helpful. Read more about that here. My first choice is always to prepare an all meat test diet at home – provided it is adequately supplemented with minerals and vitamins. (ref or ref)


    Fleas


    The second most common cause of excessive paw licking are fleas, although some veterinarians might consider them to be at the very top of the list.


    A common cause of paw licking is the generalized itchiness and staph infections that go along with a flea problem – fleas themselves are rare on the paws. The fact that no fleas or flea dirt are found on your pet is no guarantee that fleas are not the cause or a contribution to the paw-licking problem. That is because the itching resulting from a fleabite, or even the presence of a flea that did not bite, go on for a long time after the flea has left. Even if fleas are not the cause of your pet’s licking, they may well make a low level problem much worse. So no matter what the final diagnosis, they are something you need to combat or prevent. It can be the flea’s mere presence that stimulates licking and itching, or your pet may have a true allergy to flea saliva.


    You can read an article of mine on fleas and what to do about them here, and two by the most knowledgeable people on the subject of fleas here and here.


    Boredom And Individual Temperament


    Self-grooming is the natural way that dogs pass the time when they are not concentrating on other matters. Their ancestors spent most of their time searching for food, interacting with their pack and cleansing their bodies after the hunt. Your dog has much more time on its hands than its not-so-ancient ancestors ever did. You will need to fill that extra time with non-destructive activities if you want your pet to remain healthy. One way is to make mealtime more challenging with puzzle feeders, multiple small meals or feeders that dispense only small portions at a time. A whole science has sprung up that concentrates on ways to relieve the boredom that domestic and confined wildlife face. It is called environmental enrichment. You can read a bit about it here.


    All environmental enrichment relies on distraction, complicating the simple repetitive activities of daily life, playing games, interacting with other family members and pets and positive reinforcement techniques.


    Your pet’s individual temperament and frustration level can also be quite important when a paw-licking problem exists. High strung, active breeds just require more stimulating activities during the day than more laid back individuals or breeds. But the opposite can also be true. Dogs that are inactive for any reason spend more time grooming themselves. Mobility issues that occur as the result of arthritis, obesity or the lower activity and metabolism levels of hypothyroidism can also lead to paw licking.


    Psychological Causes - Obsessive Compulsive Behavior , Anxiety And Stress


    Dogs and people can be compulsive. I obviously share the problem since I write these articles when I should be doing other things. . Quirky behavior, idiosyncrasies and vices are common in dogs that lick their paws excessively. When your dog shows those behaviors, its psychological makeup is probably a major factor in its licking.


    That does not mean that your dog has no allergies, boredom or stress issues - it only means that it is prone to over react to those type of additional issues when they are there.


    Some forms of stress are obvious, new family members, a new home and neighborhood, new pets next door. But many are much more subtle and all can cause a dog to over groom.


    There is no cure for compulsiveness nor one for excessive anxiety - but licking and other unwanted behaviors associated with it can be minimized by diverting your dogs attention to other activities and doing your best to return its environment to the way it was before the problem began. Miraculous cures (as seen on the Animal Planet) are few, but improvements are many. You can read more about techniques that help dogs with other forms of this problem here.


    Bacterial And Fungal Paw Infections


    Dogs in good general health almost never get bacterial or fungal foot infections out of the blue. Generally, it is vice versa - their nibbling and licking and the persistent dampness that produces that causes the infection. It still needs to be treated by your veterinarian. It is always better to give needed antibiotics orally because anything applied to the paws will be quickly licked off. Abnormal odor, pain, redness, swelling and limping are the most common signs of these infections.


    Bone Joint and Toenail Problems


    Dogs that have difficulty getting around spend more time licking and grooming. So dogs that are overweight, and dogs that have joint and mobility problems are more likely to injure their skin and paws in the process. These are generally older pets. You can learn some of the steps you can take to help them here.


    Some dogs are real stinkers about letting you clip their toenails to proper length. Many owners are fearful that they might clip a nail too short. That fear transfers to the pet as well, complicating the problem. However toenails that have overgrown begin to twist the joints of the toes, resulting in joint damage and pain. That pain is occasionally the cause of paw licking. Over grown toenails are also more likely to snag and break. Nails can actually spiral back into the paw causing a very painful, infected lesion that the dog will continuously lick.


    Combination Cases


    It is quite common for a combination of the causes I mentioned to all be in play in the same pet.


    Treatments :


    1. Begin by making lifestyle adjustments for your pet, based on the causes you decide are most likely. Since flea exposure is so common with this problem, always include a monthly topical flea preventative. If your pet visits doggy parks or kennels, mist them with a quick knock-down product on the way home. If the problem began after a lifestyle change, try to return things as much as possible to as they were.


    2. Exercise your pet more.


    3. Change your pet’s diet. Decrease the amount per feeding but increase the number of feedings. Feed your pet in interesting, novel and challenging ways. Consider a home cooked diet made from the same ingredients you eat. (ref)


    4.Try behavior modification techniques. There are dog trainers that specialize in that type of behavior modification. You will find oodles of suggestions in books and on the Internet. Some may be helpful, some probably won’t be and some are downright silly. Those that involve the purchase of a nutritional product or supplement are all worthless.


    5. If that was not sufficient, consider specialty dog socks – some similar to these. They must “breath” and be changed frequently so your pet’s paws do not stay damp or contaminated. If your dog will not keep them on, don’t feel guilty about using a comfortable, well-fitting plastic muzzle when your dog is left alone. One like this. In the long run, physical methods like these, used primarily during flare-ups , are much more humane than methods that rely on punishment or powerful medications.


    6. If your pet has developed paw infections, they need to be treated with antibiotics or antiseptics and socks or gloves need to be used to allow the pet’s feet to heal. Because those infections are the result of licking – not the cause of licking, they will return if the underlying urge to lick is not solved. Giving antibiotics for more than 14 days or repeating them frequently is not a good idea.


    7. If advanced age has slowed your pet down, consider a weight loss program for overweight dogs and one of the newer dog-specific NSAIDs to combat the pain of arthritis, if x-rays confirm that problem. You can read more about the nt of older dogs with this problem here and here


    8. Antihistamines like Benadryl or cyproheptadine
    are generally ineffective in discouraging paw licking. When they do have a positive effect, it is probably due to the general sedation (sleepiness) that they produce. Ask your veterinarian for the appropriate dose and frequency. Tranquilizers and sedatives such as acepromazine will also sedate your dog, make it lick less and sleep more. But with time, medications of that type tend to become less effective.


    Probably more effective than antihistamines is a footbath containing baking soda. Track your dog through it when you come in from a walk to remove pollen and irritants. Then pat their feet dry.


    9. Veterinarians dispense various human antidepressants and some approved for dogs in an attempt to reduce obsessive compulsive behaviors. The most common ones used are clomipramine (Clomicalm®) and Fluoxetine (Prozac, Reconcile).


    10. Medicated shampoos can be helpful if the problem is itch related. If it is no more than a habit or vice, they are unlikely to be of much help. Topical sprays and ointments that contain poorly-absorbed corticosteroids (beclomethasone etc. ) can also be helpful. But these products must be thoroughly massaged into the pets skin or covered with a sock or bandage – if not, products left to dry on the skin are quickly licked off and swallowed. Swallowing those medications (or hydrocortisone-containing creams) can lead to steroid side effects (Cushing’s symptoms).


    The Dangers Of Steroid Overuse


    When paw licking is due to itchy paws, your veterinarian can stop the problem abruptly with corticosteroids given by injection or in pill form. That is rarely if ever a good idea. Corticosteroids, given in that way, affect the whole body. With time, they will cause serious side effects.


    The same goes for products, like Atopica, that suppress your pet’s immune system.


    Things That Don’t Work :


    Remedies sold without a prescription on Internet Websites – Particularly with testimonials
    Bitters sprays
    Alcohol containing products
    Hot sauce
    Nutritional supplements
    Elizabethan collars
    Punishment or a scolding voice
    Shock collars
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dogs and Compulsive Scratching, Licking, and Chewing
    In this article


    Reasons Why Dogs Compulsively Scratch, Lick, or Chew
    Treatment for Your Dog’s Compulsive Scratching, Licking, and Chewing


    Are you going crazy listening to your dog scratching his ears all night long? Have you about had it with your dog licking her paw nonstop? At your wit’s end over your dog biting his own tail?


    If you think you’re uncomfortable, imagine how your dog feels.


    Compulsive scratching, licking, and chewing behaviors are quite common in dogs and have a variety of causes. They can also be harmful. One of the first signs your dog has a problem might be the development of a “hot spot” -- a red, wet, irritated area that arises from persistent chewing, licking, scratching or rubbing. Although hot spots, or "acute moist dermatitis," can occur anywhere on your dog’s body, they are most often found on the head, chest, or hips. Because dogs often incessantly scratch, lick, or bite at an area once it becomes irritated, hot spots can become large and incredibly sore rather quickly.



    See What Hot Spots & Other Dog Skin Conditions Look Like
    Reasons Why Dogs Compulsively Scratch, Lick, or Chew


    Dogs scratch, lick, or chew for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from allergies to boredom to parasite infestation:


    Allergies. When dog scratching gets out of hand, it is often the result of allergies to food or environmental triggers, including mold and pollen. Dogs may also develop a skinirritationcalled contact dermatitis when they encounter substances like pesticides or soap


    Boredom or anxiety. Just as people with anxiety might bite their nails or twirl their hair, dogs can have physical responses to psychological upset, too. In fact, some dogs develop a condition akin to human obsessive-compulsive disorder. It can manifest itself in scratching, licking, or chewing behaviors that can cause severe damage.


    Dry skin. A variety of factors, including winter weather and fatty acid deficiencies, can cause dry skin in dogs. Your pet may respond to the discomfort by scratching or licking at her skin or fur.


    Hormonal imbalances. If your dog’s body is not producing enough thyroid hormone or putting out too much cortisol, superficial skin infections can occur. You may notice small, red spots and your dog may scratch or lick as if bothered by allergies.


    Pain. When trying to determine why your dog is licking or chewing excessively, be sure to consider the possibility that something is making him physically uncomfortable. For instance, if you notice your dog biting his paw repeatedly, he could have a thorn or sharp stone stuck in his foot pad. Compulsive chewing or licking can also be a response to orthopedic problems, including arthritis and hip dysplasia.


    Parasites. Among the most common causes for compulsive dog licking, chewing, or scratching behaviors are fleas, ticks, and mites. Although ticks are often visible to the naked eye, fleas often go unseen until there is a large infestation, and mites are microscopic. So don’t assume that your dog isn’t suffering from parasites just because you can’t see them.
    LEARN A LESSON FROM YOUR DOG, NO MATTER WHAT LIFE BRINGS YOU, KICK SOME GRASS OVER THAT AND MOVE ON.

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