Ask the Vet Archive

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

Topic: Fall Allergies

Question from Tina from Lincoln University:
I have a 12 year old lab and the top of his paws look red and swollen. I think he has the same issue every year around this time. Is it an allergy? What can I do, he is too old to get in a car and visit the vet.

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
While red and swollen paws can be indicative of allergies, these symptoms can also be caused by mites, bacterial skin infections, and other causes. A visit to your vet is needed to rule out other problems and for the most appropriate treatment to be instituted.
If you have noticed this same problem during the autumn months of previous years, allergies are likely. I recommend wiping your dog's paws each time he comes in from the outdoors. If he is itchy elsewhere, biweekly baths with a soothing shampoo can help. If your dog weighs at least 70 pounds, you can give him Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Two adult strength tablets (25mg each) can be given twice daily. If you dog becomes too sleepy or excited, call your veterinarian. Antihistamines such as Benadryl can help some dogs, but for severe allergies stronger medications might be needed.
If your dog's paws have an odor or appear moist, he might have an underlying yeast or bacterial infection. Medications prescribed by your veterinarian are needed to treat these conditions. If are unable to lift your dog into the car, I suggest asking a friend or neighbor to help or you can contact a mobile veterinarian to make a house call.

Posted November 11, 2010

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