Friday, May 17, 2013

My dog is licking his feet; boredom or health issue?

Yep, It has been a LONG time since I have written a post here.  Thought I would start back with a vet Q & A column-and if you have any questions you would like answered here-please just send me an email.  Here's the first one from a member of the training program my dog Alvy and I are in, Got Sit.

Dear DrReneigh,
I have a question. Just when I feel like we were having some great breakthroughs in training, Layla ruptured her CCL and has to be kept immobile for 2 weeks and then xrays will determine if she needs surgery or not. She has taken to licking her feet out of boredom; any suggestions on how to keep her occupied while she recovers?
I appreciate any expert advice you can offer.

Hi Debbie,
I am so sorry about Layla and her knee! My Alvy ruptured BOTH of her CCL's before she was 1 year old-you can imagine how much fun that was, trying to keep all that puppy energy calm and rested while she was recovering from 2 knee surgeries-ugh.
Most dog's do NOT
lick their feet simply from boredom.
Since this is the time when most dogs (and humans) are suffering from the worst allergies, I wouldn't be surprised if Layla is licking her feet because of some allergy issues, or maybe because they are itchy for some other reason like a yeast infection. Be sure to have your veterinarian do a good examination of her feet before just assuming it is a behavioral (boredom) issue-sometimes antifungal sprays for yeast infections or treatment for allergies are the way to go.
If it is truly a boredom issue, and we can't run the heck out of her to get all that pent up energy worked out of her, then unfortunately we may have to resort to using the e-collar or cone of shame until this period of confinement is over.  Kong toys stuffed with goodies  or other toys to keep your pet occupied can be helpful.  Tranquilizing or sedating medications may be helpful, as may products like DAP collars (pheremones) or "Thundershirts" to decrease anxiety.
Good luck with Layla. Don't worry, Marvin and the Got Sit classes will be waiting for you both when she is all recovered-Alvy and I are good examples of that!
Let me know if you have any further questions or need any help with her.