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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 21201
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My Bichon keeps biting / licking his feet - have looked and

Customer Question

My Bichon keeps biting / licking his feet - have looked and can't see anything on the pad or between his claws (nails). He is licking that much that his supposedly white fur is now pink.
Any solutions please.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Based on your history, allergies and topical irritants would be our main concerns for Benji and his feet. In regards ***** ***** specific trigger, this can be difficult to pinpoint because we can see them chew their feet with diffuse internal based allergies (ie dietary proteins --so any new diets or treats/tid bits may need to be removed) as well as when allergens that come into direct contact with the feet (ie grass, carpet powders, laundry powders, pollens, salt on the roads, etc). To make things even more challenging, chewing their feet can continue once the allergen has passed due to secondary moist dermatitis and even as this can become a habit.

In this case, you are right to be bathing his paws. That said, I would note that you will want to do so after any walks to remove any possible outside environmental allergens. As well, you can use a mild antiseptic like salt water or dilute chlorohexidine to prevent secondary infection forming. As well, do make sure to dry the feet well afterwards.

Further to this, you can trial Benji on an antihistamine. The most common OTC one we use in dogs is Piriton (Chlorphenamine) Dose-wise, we typically will give small dogs 2-4 milligrams (0.25-0.5 tablet of the 4 mg preparation) by mouth up to every 8-12 hours. Just as in people, we can see drowsiness, so we do like to keep the dose for low for dogs. And of course, if he has any pre-existing health issues or is on any medication you didn't mention, then you will want to speak to your vet before using this.

Further to the above, we do also need to break the habit of foot chewing and protect the feet from further chewing. To do so, consider either placing an buster collar on Benji or covering the chewed feet with baby socks ( to prevent him licking while using a breathable cover to let them dry out). And if you have these on to prevent licking, you can also use an OTC hydrocortisone cream on the feet to soothe them.

Overall, foot chewing in the dog can be caused by a range of issues that you may not be able to see on examination of his foot. Therefore, we'd want to remove any new protein sources in his diet, cleanse his feet with one of the above dog safe antiseptics, trial an anti-histamine with him, and take steps to protect his feet from chewing. If you try the above to settle his feet while keeping an eye out for what he does come in contact with, we would hope to settle his signs. Of course, if he is doing this excessively and has severe irritation, then we'd want to follow up with his vet. They will be able to help you determine what kind of allergy you may be seeing and cover him with a strong anti-inflammatory treatment to halt the itchiness and give you the best chance to reduce the irritation to his feet.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best & happy holidays,

Dr. B.

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