Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Canine feet licking

Question from Sue in Wilmington:
I have a two year old golden retriever. For the past several weeks, he has has started to lick his paws. He has never done this before. Is he just cleaning himself?

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
Some dogs will lick their paws briefly as a means of cleaning themselves. However, constant feet licking is usually a sign of allergies. Both people and pets have been suffering during the past two months with severe allergy symptoms. The basis of these allergies are the air borne particles common in the spring and early summer months such as pollens and grasses.

Some dogs can have nasal congestion and runny eyes related to allergies, but the most common sign is itchiness. Dogs with allergies typically lick their paws, rub their faces and ears, and scratch or bite at themselves.

Tests can be performed to help pinpoint the specific problematic allergens for your pet. Allergies cannot be cured; they can only be managed. Consult your veterinarian for medications that can help your dog feel more comfortable. Some dogs with food allergies can benefit from a dietary change.

Posted June 18, 2007

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