The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog. ~Ambrose Bierce

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Obsessive Paw Licking ~ nearly raw pads

Have any of you ever had this problem? Can you share any advice?

I'm licking my paws raw, and my parents don't understand why (neither do I). We don't know what's caused this, or what we can do to make me stop. I've been doing it obsessively for a few weeks now. My right front paw is very sore.
We know enough to know this could be an allergy, maybe to road salt, maybe to the Swiffer™ solution my parents use to wash the floors. It could be cabin fever from these winter months; maybe I'm bored, or frustrated with my littlest brother, or feel too strongly about emotions I sense (because of my acute emotional sensibility). Maybe my pads are just dry and itchy?

It's been a while since I've swallowed a sock, or had to visit the vet for any reason. Thanks to Gromit and Clifford our family has earned a somewhat 'celebrity status' over there at Northwest. I even have my own mention. I guess I'm about due for the spotlight.

We often use Gold Bond powder to cool/prevent hot spots, so today Mum went out today and got Gold Bond medicated cream assuming that because I react well to the powder the cream wouldn't upset me either - which it doesn't, it actually felt good when Mum rubbed it on my pads (I told her so with my eyes). Then we tried two things:

1. Mum rubbed the cream into my pads, then wrapped my paw in gauze, then taped it all up with athletic tape. She told me to stop licking them.

It felt ridiculous at first. I did not like the feeling of the tape - even though it's soft and doesn't pull at my fur - it was just too much. Plus, I looked dumb, and Gromit said I looked like a mummy. It didn't last long anyway, after one trip outside to the backyard - in the snow - and my paws looked like they were going out for Hallowe'en.

2. Mum and I go back upstairs to the bathroom, lock my brothers out (who whine at the door the whole time) and snip all the gauze and tape off my paws. She rubs more cream into my pads, which I again tell her is good with my cute brown loveballs. We then put gauze to cover just the pad, and cover that gently with one of Hannah's old socks. Mum then tapes it at my ankle, and again at the top of the sock, and I smiled. I still feel kind of ridiculous, but I think this is actually kind of comfortable.
Mum said we'll have to change this every time I go out in the (now melting) slopping snow-muck.

I think I'm feeling better, and relaxed (I look relaxed), and I'm not going at my maybe this is working. Have any of you ever dealt with obsessive paw licking/grooming? How have you resolved it? Any advice? My parents are worried about me. Thanks in advance!



  1. Our Sophie does this, never did find out what the exact reason is except an allergy to something.
    Our vet prescribed Hydroxyzine Pamoate Capsules 50 MG.
    1 table orally twice daily.
    It has cleared the problem up, when she goes back to doing it we start the medication.
    You will want to check with your vet. Our Sophie is a female Golden who is 8 years old and weighs approx. 83 Lbs.

    Sheila & Bob

  2. Thanks Sheila & Bob,

    Claire will definitely be visiting the vet. Nothing has really changed in her diet or lifestyle - other than the season (and what comes with it). She's still tolerating the socks and Gold Bond well hours later, though has the saddest expression on her face.

    Thanks so much for your comment. :)

    Amy (Claire's Mum)

  3. Our Miley did this awhile back and I believe it was an allergy! Poor thing, hope she's feeling better soon!

  4. My Rex has the same thing when seasons change, pollen count goes up, or the grass gets too long. My boss (Rex's vet) says its allergies (even though I'm sure his is also mixed with boredom). I found getting the in-between bath pet wipes and wiping off the furbaby's feet when they come in from outside help a lot too during allergy seasons. (and is cheaper than seasonal medication).

  5. Thanks for the replies!

    Thank you for the tip about the pet wipes Sam, I think that's a great idea even if to just keep her feet extra clean. :)

    The temperatures have been all over the place here, from freezing for days to warm and wet the next. There's salt and sand on the sidewalks, and cleaning solution on the floors indoors (which I'm starting to strongly suspect). We're all suffering dry skin from the dry air. Claire's sweet paws are just not handling it well.

    I agree, I think this is an allergy. Poor Claire. :(

    Thanks again,

  6. what an excellent web site. I have two golden retrievers. tabor and bailey. bad allergies. do the powder on paws and meds. bad year. hi allergies for us all. bailey has soaking wet paws if i dont keep this treatment going. Thanks Janet Jacobs

  7. Please consider this: it may be a natural rubber latex allergy. It's a lot of work ridding you home of this, but it worked for our Sophie. She licked her front paws for 8 years, until I decided to put aloe on them to soothe. Well, this made them 100 times worse than ever. I learned that a reaction to aloe vera could be a cross reaction to natural rubber latex. That is when to recovery started. We mopped our floors, kept her off the carpet because we had walked on them with rubber soled shoes and didn't wear rubber soled shoes in the house ever again. The only ones we could find were Crocs with the croslite sole. You may not like Crocs style, but they make some cute ones now. I can't begin to tell you the difference it made in our sweet Sophie. We thought she had big feet, but they were swollen all this time....even her back feet. I believe this to be a contact allergy as well as airborne. You can find out more if you google latex allergy. Sophie was doing great until I took her to the vet for a routine heartworm blood test. They weighed her on a scale with a rubber mat and she had a flare-up that lasted about a week. It is very difficult to isolate her from NLR, and we are learning something new almost everyday about it. You may want to check the gaskets in your faucets and any rubber hoses outdoors that you may use to give him a drink. Be careful with most pet products like shampoo, anti itch and the like...they contain aloe vera. There are many foods to avoid as well. Sure hope this helps! All the best, Sharon and Sophie Bai Lei