Help for itchy dog gnawing on paws


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Help for itchy dog gnawing on paws

Updated Dec 21, 2021

Dear Cathy,

My ten-year-old dog gnaws occasionally on places on his front legs that end up looking bare of hair and inflamed. How do I treat that?

– Ann Railsback Pitts, Moyock, North Carolina

Dear Ann,

Dogs chew on themselves because they itch, either from fleas, allergies, or even a habit formed by anxiety or boredom. That means flea preventatives, and allergy and anxiety medications can help some dogs. But dogs itch so much, there is now a new monthly- injectable that stops their itch for up to a month. Talk to your veterinarian about it.

Regardless of the reason, you will need to treat the hot spots – the irritated skin lesions that result from repetitive biting, chewing, licking and scratching. You can find hydrocortisone sprays and other healing creams online and at pet stores. If that doesn’t work, your veterinarian can prescribe something stronger. 

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, CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 25 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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