Licking paws until they bleed

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Sarah's picture
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My 14 month old male licks the top of his paws until they bleed. My vet gave me Betagen Topical Spray to reduce itching, but he still licks. Any ideas on what I could put on his paws to stop the urge or something that tastes bad?

It's very possible that you are dealing with an OCD behavior - I've never had an issue with this but I know it can be an issue with Dobermans. 

Sgourle's picture
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^^ That's what came to mind also. Is he bored? How much mental and physical exercise does he get? Do you have stimulating toys to engage him when you're gone?

Now that it is actually bleeding it will be more difficult to heal simply because aside from any OCD tendencies it is also aggravated.

Sarah's picture
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He is not bored. He is walked 5 times a day, runs in our yard and we have constant action at our house. He is well trained and sweet. This licking thing is new so our vet thought it was due to allergies, but the topical medication doesn't seem to help. We will keep trying to distract him with bones and toys when he is licking, but overnight he is in his crate. Someone suggested bitter apple spray.

 

If he is OCD this would be his only symptom. 

 

 

AresMyDobie's picture
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He might be a blanket sucker ever give him a good size plush animal (of course cut the eyes out and see them back up) or a soft blanket? My boy is a blanket sucker he sucks on his stuffed seal every night before bed I would rather him do that then start sucking his flanks or something like that.

 

Kim
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It could be allergies, but they might be food allergies. Allergies to grains can cause severe itching as well.

What are you feeding him?

Sgourle's picture
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I am no expert on allergies, but I do have a dog who has suffered from severe food allergies for the past 8 years, and this does not sound like any of his episodes. Generally he is afflicted with discomfort over his entire body, develops several hotspots, dandruff, and is pretty much guaranteed to have an ear infection as well--point being, it is not isolated to just one spot. Additionally, if it was simply allergies then the treatment should have helped, as the licking would strictly be associated to itching/discomfort. Again, reinforcing the thought that there is some OCD tendancy. Has your vet tried prednisone? If it is allergies then a round of oral prednisone or a prednisone shot should clear the issue up quickly.

Recommending more mental stimulation was no reflection or judgement on you as an owner or trainer; even the best trained dogs with all of the space in the world can suffer from severe lack of mental stimulation if they are not being actively engaged on a daily basis. People often think that just exposing their dog to a lot of space or activity will tire them mentally, but with this breed that is not necessarily the case. Even if it is just allergies, you need to divert your boy's attention so that the spots can heal and do not develop into lick granulomas.

Best of luck with your diagnosis and treatment.

Laura's picture
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I agree with Ares!  Have you tried giving him a stuffed toy?  My last dobie was a bit OCD and she would "bathe" every stuffed animal she could get her tongue on for hours.  

Sarah's picture
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I worry about giving him stuffed animals because he destroys them. He loves to chew so we have femur bones and strong chewing toys. He seems to becoming a little less destructive with those so I may revisit a stuffed animal and supervise his introduction and playtime with it.

 

The bitter apple seems to be working and calm distractions when he starts to lick. 

Thanks to all who replied!!!!!

Sarah's picture
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I feed him Pro Plan Sport (Purina). He gets no table food, but does get training treats. The treats are given infrequenly. Once in a while I will give him a little peanut butter, but that is rare.

Joined: 2012-10-28

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You could put some Anbesol on the wound to numb it then a clean cotton sock held up with stretchy tape so it will dry out and heal. We have tried this method on our dog when she worries some spot on her lower leg. Anbesol is in the drugstore it is used for teething toddlers.

 

 

Laura's picture
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I feel ya on the stuffed toy. Worked great for my Erika but these two crazies I have now would have one apart in seconds. 

AresMyDobie's picture
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Ares has had his seal since we got him. I keep closed in his crate till night time I'll let him have it and relax with it in our bed while we watch tv and get ready to go to sleep. When we're ready to bed take the boys out then I put his seal his crate for him to pacify himself to sleep. Lol it's like a baby blanket and lord knows we can never loose the seal. Be careful with bones to many bones can give him the runs lol learned that the hard way. Have you tried kongs? Or toys he really has to work for to get something out? Like puzzle toys 

 

 

 

 

Sgourle's picture
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Juneau's scents of security toy is the only one that he hasn't destroyed, so I don't leave him with ropes or stuffed things for the same concern that he will eat something. Fortunately June isn't a sucker, but if you know that yours destroys stuffed things I would definitely reintroduce with caution if you plan to leave them unattended :)

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Is there a pain in his leg?  Ours has the beginning of an acl tear; yesterday his leg bothered him a bit, we noticed that at times he was semi-biting his leg but now now has an open little sore on it.  If they keep scratching at it, it won't heal of course.  We actually put Cortizone 10 on one he scratched on the side of his head (must have started as a small bug bite but scratching made it bigger)- now healed.