Saturday, July 30, 2011

Paw Licking: A Mystery

Oscar took antibiotics for a week because he was licking and chewing at his front right paw and the vet thought he probably had a splinter or something in his foot. We took his cone off after a week after he finished his round of antibiotics, but he started licking and chewing his paw again, so we put the cone back on for another week. Poor Oscar - he got a taste of freedom and then we stole it away.

He's chewed the lining off the cone.

No more cone?

Back to chewing...back to the cone.

We took the cone off tonight and he started back up with the paw licking and chewing. I have no idea what's going on. His paw doesn't seem to hurt or bother him normally, but every once in a while, he'll start licking at it, or he'll latch onto it and roll around and growl. We've already taken him to the vet and put him on antibiotics, and I've given him a bath and rinsed off his paw every once in a while in the meantime, and none of that seems to have helped. This is pretty puzzling. We also trimmed most of the fur in between his paw pads, thinking that maybe it was long and it was bothering him, but his fur is just as long on his other paws and he doesn't seem to notice that so I don't think that's the cause either.

I tried to do some reading about what could be going on. Like so many things, it's hard to pinpoint a cause for the symptoms. Since he only seems to be bothered by one paw, I don't think it's likely to be because of contact or food allergies. We switched his food, but that was back in May - that seems like a long time for allergies to show up. Apparently dogs can exhibit some obsessive compulsive behaviours, paw licking being one of them. If they only seem to be licking or chewing at one paw, it's more likely to be related to obsessive compulsive causes than allergies.

One suggested solution I read about is to reduce the dog's boredom and stress. We have been pretty busy over the last few weekends working on our deck. Remember the post where I said we wanted to get the deck sanded and hopefully stained that weekend? Well, not so much. It's four weekends later and we're only hoping to get it stained this weekend. Because of our deck work, we haven't been walking him or taking him to the dog park as much as we were before. Maybe his paw licking really is related to boredom. We're planning on getting him groomed this weekend if we can, in the hopes that they'll clean up his paws and if the licking has anything to do with mats or long hair, it might help. We're also planning on taking him to the dog park this long weekend to let him get more exercise.

I hope this resolves itself soon, because it's making me worry. Oscar chewing on our walls and dishtowels is something I can stop. Chewing on his own paw is odd and harder to deal with. I'm not sure what else I should be doing. Have any of you dealt with this before?




12 comments:

Rubie said...

That is so worrying! I feel for you. From my experiences with Rubie - whenever there has been any paw chewing/licking - there has always been a reason....usually a small (can be minute) stick, thorn or grass seed somewhere in there. I've found she also does it when she has the beginnings of a hair matt often between the toes. I suppose you have looked over every inch.... and also make sure that the nail is has not got a micro split in it. I'd be tempted to get someone to hold him on his back and for a strong light and magnifying glass be used to really check the whole paw out as thoroughly as you can.

I hope it can be resolved soon. Poor Oscar.

Rubie's mum.

Kirby the Dorkie said...

The cone of shame! Poor Oscar! Wish I could offer a suggestion or solution but I have no idea! Fortunately I haven't had to deal with this with Kirby. I sure hope you find out whats going on - he's too sweet to be going through this. Not too mention that foot just doesn't go with his adorableness!

greygirl25 said...

We haven't experienced anything like that, but allergies might make sense. Have you taken him to an allergist?

We've been to one for scratching at her face. They gave her some meds and it cleared up.

Good luck.

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Hope you get tot the bottom of it and can stop the licking/chewing soon.

sagechronicles said...

Toby licks his feet a lot here lately, but I'm pretty certain it's because of one or the other of his current conditions. Allergies could be a factor though. Have you changed food lately?

Sugar the Golden Retriever said...

Woof! Woof! It sure is odd. I lick my paw caused of my allergies. My paws get wiped n washed at all the times especially when I go outside (for a walk or just being out in the backyard). Food the major issue so check with your vet. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

Oskar said...

My mom person & I read an article, which we can't find now, about dogs chewing their paws because of traditional collars instead of a walking harness. Apparently it presses on some nerves that make their paw bother them. It's something that you might want to look into if you use a collar instead of a harness for walks.

I hope he gets better soon!

Nubbin wiggles,
Oskar

Peggy Frezon said...

I'm sure sweet Oscar doesn't like that cone! Jumping over from the blog hop, I'm now your newest follower!

Heartprints Pets said...

Aw, poor Oscar! I wish I had some input about the itching. Good luck and I hope a solution comes your way soon.

Pamela said...

Poor Oscar. The cone is definitely not fun.

My past dog, Christie, started licking one paw vigorously enough to chew the hair off. The vet called it a "granuloma" but didn't seem too worried about it. (Of course, Christie was fourteen years old and had Cushing's disease so it was probably the least of her problems.)

It appeared that there was some irritation there to begin with but the licking make it worse.

If you visit this picture of Christie, you'll see a hairless post on her left, front paw (Christie is the dog in the front with the floppy years). http://www.somethingwagging.com/2011/07/15/your-dogs-most-embarrassing-behavior/

You might want to look for a small, raised area to see if Oscar is doing the same thing.

I hope you can figure out it soon. It will be terrific if Oscar just needs some more stimulation (and will get your off that deck for a while). :)

Elizabeth said...

I sure hope Oscar has eased up on the licking/biting since this post. :(

JF got into a habit once of chewing on his back legs - sometimes violently - right after he woke up each morning. He still does it sometimes, but he's never pulled out hair or made anything red. I've assumed OCD as a result of getting bitten by fleas several months ago. Itching makes him extremely anxious.

Well, I'm sure that didn't help you at all, but I can sort of relate to the mystery thing. Poor Oscar. Good luck with this.

Anonymous said...

How is Oscar doing?

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