Paw Licking, Allergies, And Your Pet
At long last, spring is in the air. However, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, you know that the longer days and the warmer temperatures also mean an increased pollen count and the return of seasonal allergies.
But did you know that, like us, pets can suffer from seasonal allergies, too?
You might think that seasonal allergies for your cat or dog means sniffling and sneezing, but they don’t. Instead, your pet’s allergies are dermatological; which means that if your pet is excessively licking, chewing, scratching, or shaking, then chances are good that allergies are to blame.
One of the most frustrating symptoms of seasonal allergies (for many pet owners, and most likely for pets, too) is excessive paw licking.
If your cat or dog licks and bites his or her paws incessantly, but the itchiness doesn’t seem to travel to other areas of the body, chances are good that your pet is picking up allergens on his or her paws. Typically these allergens are found in the home or outdoors, and are linked to organic matter or chemicals used in and around the home or yard.
Remember; your pet is naked, and without shoes and socks as protection, the paws are prone to collecting small particles of pollen, mold spores, dust mites, and chemical residues, which can ultimately lead to irritation – especially if an allergy is present.
Unfortunately, this constant licking often starts a vicious cycle of licking the paws raw, which introduces infection, that in turn cause more itching and pain, followed by more licking.
Helping Your Pet
If these symptoms sound familiar, you need to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Your vet can help determine what your pet is allergic to (so you can help your pet avoid the allergens), and determine a course of treatment, including medications and non-medical at-home care, such as foot soaks for your pet, and decontaminating the home of the root cause of the allergies.
Never give your pet over-the-counter allergy medications unless directed to do so, and given the correct dosage amount, by your veterinarian.
It is important to note that, while common, not all excessive paw licking is related to allergens. Boredom, anxiety, fungal infections and injuries can all cause licking or chewing of the paws in both dogs and cats, making it important to visit your veterinarian before assuming seasonal allergies are to blame.
Please contact us if you have any questions, or if your pet’s paw licking has become a warning sign. Remember, if your dog or cat is licking its paws to the point of fur loss, skin irritation or bleeding, it is very important you see your veterinarian to rule out any other health problems, and to get the proper relief to prevent infection.