7 Yr Old German Shepherd Licking and biting the paws constantly in summer - Page 1

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by inc on 09 August 2018 - 04:08

Hello All,

My 7 yr old male German Shepherd is in very good health all these years. I feed him Nature's Domain Grain Free Dog food and I rotate between the Beef and the Turkey formula mostly. I add cooked chicken in the middle sometimes. He has been on this food for almost 5 years. Last summer he started licking and biting his paws constantly and he goes on doing it for several hours. He is mostly an inside dog but goes out into the yard a couple of times a day. I got him checked by the vet and the vet did not have an answer. I read online and finally found a product called "the missing link" which I gave him for sometime but no use. Finally the licking stopped by itself sometime early winter. Again this year he started licking and biting his feet/paws constantly for hours together. He does not have any ticks or fleas and especially being an inside dog the chances are nil. I am reading the same issue with so many other dogs but none of the owners have any answers or cures.
Can anyone help me from your knowledge and experience. I really appreciate any insight into this.


by hexe on 09 August 2018 - 05:08

It certainly sounds like your dog has developed a seasonal allergy, most likely to one or more types of pollen that are only circulating in the environment during the summer months.

You can help reduce his exposure to the allergens by wiping him down with a moist cloth, and then drying him off, each time you bring him back in the house when he's been outdoors, but that's probably only going to reduce the allergic reaction somewhat--to really control the problem, you'll need help from your vet.

Your vet should be able to recommend an over-the-counter allergy medication, and calculate the correct dosage for you; it is possible to test for allergies, just as is done with humans, but that's expensive and the end result will be the same thing--your vet will make a determination as to whether the dog's response is severe enough to require a prescribed medication, or if you can use some version of the many over-the-counter allergy medications marketed for humans.

by Gertrude Besserwisser on 09 August 2018 - 16:08

Hexe's advice is sound. I have had two dogs with this problem. The first, a male GSD, developed this when he was 4 years old. It lasted one summer and he almost bit one of his paws in half. Then it stopped and never returned. I also had a female and it started when she was 4 years old and lasted for her entire life.

I tried pretty much everything including sending samples of her dna and blood to Dr Dodds for food allergy analysis which showed no allergies. As both dogs trained outside on our schutzhund field, I am pretty sure that initially it was a reaction to the grass or some other vegetation. The field was not treated with chemicals of any kind. It could even have been an infection from under the nails...

I think it is important to try an stop it any way you can as soon as you can. With my female, it went on so long that whatever the initial cause was, it became an immune and behavioral issue. I tried bitter apple all sorts of sprays like benedril, itch stop etc. In the end, I used white baby socks on her paws when we were in the house and that kept it under control so that the paws did not bleed. Hardly a perfect solution but needs must...

The one thing I did not do which you might consider is to go to a vet that specializes in allergies, not a regular vet, and have a panel run on your dog. We had a club member who did this and they found something and the dog gets a shot every six weeks and is now doing fine. Not a cheap solution but probably the best if they find something. Good luck.

by joanro on 09 August 2018 - 16:08

Before using alergy meds, try this stuff! I've used it for years for every thing from bee stings to minor skin cuts and one dog with hot spots. Spray librally on your dogs entire foot, between the toes and pads. I believe this is prescription only and I always keep a couple bottles in stock from my vet.



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by inc on 09 August 2018 - 17:08

Thank you very much for all your insights. Really appreciate it. I will keep you posted on the updates.


by Jessejones on 09 August 2018 - 17:08

Sounds indeed like a pollen allergy like posted by others already.
My pup had that seaonally/summer in California for a while.
It‘s a bit of trouble, but helps...place a shallow container of water with some baking soda stirred in at your front door and have the dog walk through the pan everytime he enters the house. Dry them a bit with a towel after he steps out.
This will clean the pollen off and soothe his paws from the itching.

added: if that doesnt help, it might pay to look at the food again.
Even a food that worked for years without issues for a dog, might have an ingredient that causes an intolerance in form of itching quite suddenly.

by joanro on 09 August 2018 - 20:08

Jessie, agree about the food issue. The other thing to keep in mind about dog food brands, is that the ingredients change with the price in commodities....in other words, what was primary for years, might now be replaced with something cheaper for the manufacturer and your dog could have issuss with the change.

Happened with the horse feed I was using for my 30 plus year old horse and ponies....they are on pelleted feed because of their age, and after they all started loosing weight, I checked the ingredients....the main ingredient of grain was replaced with PEANUT HULLS !!!! Horses can't thrive on stinking peanut hulls !!

by Rik on 09 August 2018 - 21:08

my dad's Shih Tzu started this a couple of years ago. it's for sure an allergy and it was bad. not sure if it was food or environmental, but as there are 4 Shih Tzu in my family and all have allergies in one form or another, I;m pretty sure it's genetics.

I would try changing foods, maybe 100% organic raw. if that doesn't work then meds may be the only option. not sure what my dad's dog is on , but it works and I can find out if needed. I have one sister whose Shih Tzu is on the same meds, another sister changed foods and her dog is good now. All were chewing their feet badly.

good luck,


by Mindhunt on 10 August 2018 - 14:08

As others have stated, sounds like a seasonal allergy to me. My dogs all bit and licked their paws here in Florida during allergy season (which seems to get long and longer each year). My holistic vet gave me the following: I have them on probiotics, organic apple cider vinegar added to their food, bone broth, and CBD oil, (add in benedryl or zyrtec as needed), and rinse their feet coming in from ouside with gallon water to 1 cup each of hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar.  Probiotics are a MUST for dogs to keep the immune system healthy, immune system is in the gut and probiotics keep the gut healthy, immune system also is a major player in allergies.  Apple cider vinegar keeps staph from flourishing on your dogs skin when it is irritated and it also helps fight allergies, fleas, ticks, etc.  CBD oil is very useful for allergies, it has analgesic properties and helps with inflammation.  As for benedryl or zytec, your vet can give you the proper dosage and frequency for your dog.  As with anything including the above, please check with your vet first.  All the above are keeping mine from chewing their feet off.


by Jessejones on 10 August 2018 - 17:08

Good point made... Companies do change their ingredients according to availability and commodity cost.

Grain free is VERY tricky. They are subsititing with a lot of legumes. Which can elevate estrogen in dogs/ endocrine dysfunction - Pancreas/insulin overload. High carb = High sugar - leading to insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease and gut issues.

This is a real complex issue that anyone interested should research in detail.
This is why about 15 years ago, I did the switch to mostly raw and some cooked meals for all my dogs, including table scraps. I switched my dogs to human grade food to avoid diseased cadavers that routinely go into dog foods - cancerous tumors and other diseases, culled animals and pentobarbital - a euthanasia drug killing some dogs and found in dog food.

I feed very low in carbs and rotate about 3-4 types of animal protein, 10% raw bone and 5-10% organs. No raw chicken soaked in bacterial soup (wonder why about 4% water is in chicken?) Organic air chilled might be ok, so that is my go to chicken.

It is complicated at first, getting the hang of it. There are facebook groups that really help a lot of folks, like the „raw feeding University“
I understand not everyone wants to, or can, go off feeding kibble. Especially with multiple large dogs, there is cost involved. No lie.

Nothing is getting easier in our world it seems!

Added: maybe I should have posted this in the new thread : „is change in food a good thing“?


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