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It's not unusual for a dog to bite or gnaw at her forepaws from time to time, but there's a point at which it can be harmful.
If an allergy is the suspected cause of your dog chewing herself, there are a few different ways you can help alleviate the discomfort she is feeling and effectively stop the chewing. No one likes the thought of their darling pup having fleas, but those annoying parasites can be the cause of a dog chewing, licking and scratching to the point of hair loss and bleeding.
If your dog is bored, she might resort to chewing on her feet or other area of her body just out of needing something to do. For some of you it may be hard to understand, but there are dog owners who do not want their dog licking them constantly. You can start by making sure you wash your hands and face before interacting with your dog, so that licking you is not as reinforcing as it would be if you had just eaten some chips or are sweaty from a run. They know they can lick me whenever, but if I say Leave It they immediately stop licking and leave me alone. Other CausesThyroid dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies and other health problems can cause itchy skin, and other skin and coat problems may prompt excessive biting or chewing. Cats will lick excessively, sometimes biting out their fur in clumps or excoriating the skin about the head and face with their claws. Whether your dog is chewing her feet or nipping at a spot on her haunches, there is an underlying reason why she's doing it.
Many times an allergy is a reaction to the dog's diet or to something introduced otherwise.
You'll find plenty of flea remedies at pet supply stores and your vet's office, but there are also a good number of ways you can deal with the tiny creatures at home. Making sure she is mentally stimulated will keep her busy enough to stop her chewing habit. It is a serious problem, but if you recognize it and take steps to deal with it, your dog will lead a happy life without resorting to chewing for relief of anxiety.
Remember licking is self-reinforcing (because of the endorphins) for a dog, so you need to make not licking more reinforcing in order to be successful. Dogs like our saltiness, not to mention whatever we ate that is still on our fingertips and lips.


Seeing your vet is the best way to identify whether an allergic disorder is causing problems. Sometimes a minor irritant, such as a thorn or an insect bite or sting, is just driving your pet crazy. Dogs will scratch repetitively with their paws or gnaw incessantly; target areas can include the whole body, or specific areas, like the backside, legs, and feet. Make sure you are using products that are approved for your pet (don't use dog products on cats, for example). Scraping the very surface of the skin with a metal scalpel blade and examining the cells under a microscope can help your veterinarian determine whether mites might be living just beneath the surface of the skin. Assorted dog foods on the market are formulated for dogs with allergies, so switching your dog's food may do the trick. Groom your dog well daily with a flea comb and dip it into soapy water between strokes through your dog's fur. If she is anxious over being left alone all day while you're at work, try leaving the radio or television on when you leave. The first thing you want to make sure is that your dog is not licking obsessively due to a medical issue. If your dog already has a Leave It, try it and see if your dog stops when you say it, if the behavior has been proofed enough, they should.
Contact dermatitis results from exposure to an environmental irritant and may leave your dog biting and chewing herself.
Remove anything stuck in your dog's skin and ask your vet about an appropriate topical antibiotic and anti-itch product. When examining the skin itself, your veterinarian will check for the presence of lesions (bald areas, rashes, redness, pustules, scratches, etc.) and evidence of external parasites. Other actions you can take are things like changing her bedding and laundering it with vinegar and an allergen-free detergent, bathing her with a colloidal oatmeal shampoo to soothe her skin, and supplementing her diet with Omega 3 fatty acids. Putting a few drops of eucalyptus oil in your dog's shampoo when washing her will repel fleas. In addition, licking induces endorphins that makes the dog feel good, so they like to do it.


If your dog continues biting excessively, not only is there an underlying problem, she may also injure herself or develop sores or an infection.
Plants in the yard, cleaning products you use in your home and grooming products are likely culprits.
Dogs with bone, ligament or joint problems sometimes react to the pain by biting themselves. Adding brewer's yeast and garlic to a dog's food has been known to discourage the little blood-suckers, too. A small fracture or tear may be to blame, or your dog may have arthritis, hip dysplasia or another degenerative condition. Different species tend to infest dogs and cats, but the result is often the same: pruritus. Such measures will keep her occupied as you are leaving as well as fill her tummy, which can have a relaxing effect and a positive reinforcement.
Your vet can help you design an exclusion diet to get to the bottom of possible food hypersensitivities. Dry skin is another possible explanation, and it's generally easily manageable with a moisturizing product recommended by your vet.
Interact with her as much as possible when you are home, giving her ample exercise and consider enrolling in a training course for dogs and their owners. If it is possible, consider getting a second pet -- dog or cat -- to keep her from feeling lonely and give her an entity to interact with while you are away from home. Prompt removal is important not only to stop your dog from biting herself, but to limit the chances of disease transmission.




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