Keeping pup from licking paws


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Keeping pup from licking paws

Dear Cathy,

Our ten-year-old rescue, Buddy, a Poodle Bichon, recently began to lick both fore ankles, just above the paws. He has licked his white fur turning it into an ugly, angry pink, and the skin looks raw.  We have checked him for parasites and found nothing. He has been to the groomer and bathed, but it persists. I am wondering if it is from boredom or anxiety or if he has doggy eczema. I have loosely wrapped the areas to dissuade his licking. Do you have any ideas as to the cause or cure? 

– Carol, Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear Carol,

Dogs lick for many reasons, and you are right that anxiety and boredom can be the culprit, so introduce more toys and daily walks into his schedule.

Also, take Buddy to the veterinarian for a skin exam. Once a dog’s skin is “angry pink” and “raw,” there is a chance for a secondary infection in addition to the itchy discomfort. Your vet can prescribe oral medications and skin topicals to make Buddy feel better.

After the skin heals, you can spray Bitter Apple (available at pet stores and online) on the area that your dog keeps licking as a preventative. Your vet may also recommend a change in diet since food allergies can cause itchy skin too. There are a lot of reduced ingredient dog foods for dogs with food allergies available at major pet stores. Introduce new foods slowly to avoid stomach upset.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal

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Cathy Rosenthal (aka The Pet Pundit), CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 35 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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