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Answer: Unlike humans, dogs cannot scratch their paws and are forced to lick and bite them when they are itchy. Food allergies are very common in dogs and can cause mild to severe itching (paws, face, and ears), red skin, or even gastrointestinal signs (chronic loose stool or vomiting).
Many times, a secondary infection (bacterial or yeast) has developed because the biting and licking has damaged the skin.
Remember: When you are sneezing constantly and rubbing your itchy, watery eyes, your dog may be going through the same thing and may need treatment. Allergic skin disease is the most common reason why canines lick and chew their feet on a chronic basis. Many dogs who lick and chew their feet over long periods of time will also do so because it apparently feels good to them.
Regardless of the cause, if you notice that your dog is licking or chewing his paws, seek veterinary advice, especially since most of these cases are treatable if addressed by a professional early. There are two things to consider when caring for an itchy dog: Treat the underlying cause of the itch, and treat any secondary infections that have developed.
If your dog is constantly licking or biting his paws, he should be evaluated by your veterinarian, because it can be a painful condition and these infections need to be treated with oral or injectable medications (antibiotics or antifungals), with medicated shampoos or with both.


This involves feeding your dog a very strict diet over several months with a protein source he has never been exposed to, like rabbit or venison. Some dogs with mild allergies or allergies that last only a few weeks or months each year can be treated with antihistamines like Benadryl. Cats will lick excessively, sometimes biting out their fur in clumps or excoriating the skin about the head and face with their claws. In some cases, dogs will gently but insistently lick one or both paws, but other canines will go so far as to chew on their toes, which can be disconcerting for any pet owner. In these cases, the feet (especially of light-colored dogs) will often look stained a pink or rusty color, which is the result of chronic contact with porphyrin pigments found in saliva.
Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva, and it takes only one bite to set off them off and keep them itching for up to two weeks. Your vet can help you plan a proper food trial to determine if your dog has a food allergy, then what food should be fed on a long-term basis.
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).


Most veterinarians will start by asking a few questions to understand the history of the problem.
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. 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.
This information is used to formulate allergy shots, which sensitize your dog to the allergens. Different species tend to infest dogs and cats, but the result is often the same: pruritus.



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