Cody has always licked his front paw(s) a little but it is becoming more and more, tonight he has his one paw just soaking wet and I was wondering if I could put some pepper on it so when he goes to lick it again he would get that nasty taste or would table pepper not be good for him. I am just talking about a small amount or is there something I can get at the store to spray on him, I know Bitter Apple won't work, we tried that on the furniture and he just loved it :) I did give him an allergy pill that the vet gave a month or so ago but I am not sure it is allergies or habit or what. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Cody is a 1-1/2 yr. Bichon Frise/Westie mix
given the fact there is westie in the mix i would suspect allergies. westies are notorious allergy cases. with licking it can start off as an allergy and turn into a neurotic habit. like an OCD behavior. if the allergy pills dont work, and diet is ruled out as a cause for the allergy, then you can get one of those elizabethan collars and put one on him for awhile in hopes it breaks him of the habit part of it. you can also put a baby sock on that foot and see if he will leave it alone. you can try cortizone type sprays to spray on the foot. your vet should have a few diferent ones to choose from. or you can try anti anxiety meds.
first step is to find the cause of it. that is usually a lot more effective in treating it then using meds and pills that will only mask problems.
Well lets see, we can give the paw a complete check over and see if there is any irritation, redness, bumps etc. We can buy Veriton cream from the Veterinarian, spread the cream all over the paw and then put a glob into the dogs mouth so he knows thats a bad taste. We could put a cone on the dog for a couple of weeks to hopefully break the habit. And we could have lots of chews available to give him instead. We can also put the dog on allergy type food.
Thanks everyone, have tried most of these already except ruling out food and the collar. When he got fixed he had the collar on and he learned how to stretch his little neck to be able to lick so we got a bigger collar and then he could hardly keep his head up but he couldn't lick!:) We can distract him for a few mins. but then he is right back at it and as far as chew toys go I think I can give any pet store a run for their money :) As far as his paw being pink or anything there is nothing there until after he starts to lick and the pill the vet gave us is an anti-hist. and it does seem to help a little but it takes a good while before it kicks in. He doesn't do this all the time and I never know when he is going to start it so I don't like giving him a pill or two everyday unless it is really needed. We take him on at least 3-20min. walks a day not counting little ones to the mailbox etc. and my boys race with him in the house and play tug and fetch so he shouldn't be bored and I mix up his toys with soft stuffed toys, rubbery chews and rawhide and bones. I have even tried just picking him up and cuddle with him because he likes that and I have held him for 1/2 an hour and he seems fine but as soon as you put him down he is right back at it. I am beginning to think this is just something I will have to get used to cause I feel he isn't going to give it up! Thanks again to everyone and I will check with our vet again about the sprays and also about the possibility of it being food related.
Given your dog is half westie, I highly recommend looking at your food ingredients. If the food you're feeding contains wheat, corn or soy, change to a food that does not contain those fillers as they can cause severe skin allergies in westies.
Second, if hes licking only one paw, check between his pads as the hair can matt up in between the pads and irritate their feet and you won't even know its matted, because you can't see it. To do this you need to either stick your nail down in there to feel or what I do when I groom my westies is take a pair of rounded shears and stick it in between the pads to pull the hair up, then cut it out. You can use tweezers too, just be careful not to dig too deep and hurt him.
In addition to checking the ingredients in his food... check out the SF Westie Rescue website. They have one of many prerequisites before someone can adopt a westie rescue and one is to agree to feed the "Westie Diet". This contains a kibble free from the fillers I mentioned above along with some food additives for their skin and coat. Missing Link and Halo's Dream Coat.
If you do not add Omega 3's to your dogs kibble, you might want to start as it will help the skin and coat.. Not sure about Bichons, however, Westies have very little oil in their skin therefore they need Omegas. You can use Fish Oil capsules (one capsule twice a day squeezed on the kibble), flaxseed oil, or Evening Primrose.
Thanks SWWesties, I will check out the site and will read the dog food labels.
He is walking just fine but I will check the paw like the two of you have suggested.
We used to put veg. oil on our other dogs food for their skin would that help Cody's or is that type of oil not what he requires. It did seem to help the other dogs. Right now Cody doesn't seem to have any skin problems but who knows for sure.