Food Allergy in Dog Licking Paws

Adrienne Farricelli

Paw licking in dogs may often be indicative of a food allergy.

Paw licking in dogs when excessive and out of control can often be indicative of some type of allergy. Excess paw licking can not only be annoying to watch, but it also impacts a dog's overall well being and quality of life. Dogs don't know when to stop and excessive paw licking often leads to redness, bleeding and even the formation of wounds that are difficult to treat. Such licking of the dog's extremities requires going to the root of the problem and addressing it accordingly with the help of a veterinarian.

Allergies in Dogs

There is paw licking and paw licking in dogs, meaning that there can be various reasons as to why dogs lick their paws excessively. A common cause of paw licking in dogs are allergies. Dogs can be allergic to many things, but the most common allergies are to things found in the dog's environment (atopy) such as grasses, pollen and seeds and food intolerance.

If your dog licks his paws excessively, a good starting point is to see your vet for proper diagnosis. A good starting point may be having cytology run, which is a simple microscopic exam of a small sample of skin. This test looks for an overabundance growth of bacteria or yeast on the dog's skin. It can also check for mites. If the dog tests positive, he or she will need to be treated for that.

Allergic dermatitis in dogs can be treated in different ways. Medications that address the itching may be prescribed. Severe cases may require a course of steroids or oclacitinib (Apoquel).

Milder cases may benefit from over- the- counter antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine or diphenhydramine (Benadryl). While such medications may provide relief, they fail to address the root cause of the allergy.

Allergic dogs may also find relief after being put on fish oil which may have a synergistic effect with antihistamines to provide better anti-itching contains omega-3 fatty acids which work as potent anti-inflammatories although they may take 8 to 12 weeks to be effective.

Food Allergy in Dogs Licking Paws

Typically, dogs suffering from atopy develop symptoms at certain times of the year, when grasses and pollen counts are higher. Food intolerance, on the other hand, tends to be an all-year ordeal, although some dogs may suffer from atopy at a chronic level year-round.

Food allergy in dogs licking paws excessively are typically treated with a dietary trial. Affected dogs are typically placed on prescription hypoallergenic diets.

Hypoallergenic diets for dogs typically come in two forms: novel protein diets (containing just one new animal protein the dog was never exposed to before (rabbit, duck, buffalo, kangaroo) or hydrolyzed diets which are made of proteins that are chemically altered (hydrolyzed) for the purpose of tricking the dog's immune system.

Generally, dogs start feeling better within a few weeks of being on the diet.