Sunday, 16 December 2018
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BREAKING NEWS

What causes dog to lick legs, feet?: Pet Connection

Q: I have a dog who licks her feet and legs too much. She is groomed every month, and I give her daily dietary supplements. Her vet says she might have back leg problems. Is she in pain?

A: Dogs lick themselves for lots of reasons. Sometimes it’s a result of being anxious, stressed or bored. Dogs with separation anxiety may lick themselves because the behavior releases soothing endorphins that help the dog feel calm. Conflicts with other animals or changes in household routine may also cause “stress-relief” licking. Some dogs lick their paws because they don’t have anything better to do.

Your veterinarian is correct that licking can also be a sign of an underlying health problem. It’s not unusual for dogs to lick areas of the body that are itchy or painful. Dogs who lick their paws and legs may be attempting to relieve the awful itch of skin allergies or bacterial or fungal infections or the joint pain from arthritis, which can settle in the carpus (wrist), stifle (knee), elbows, hips and lower back.

Anytime a dog licks excessively, he should be seen by the veterinarian to rule out a health problem, such as one of the many itchy skin diseases or a painful condition such as arthritis. Be prepared to tell your vet about the food and supplements your dog receives, her daily routine and the detergents and household cleaners you use. The vet may run diagnostic tests that include skin scrapings, a fungal culture or blood work.

If a thorough history and physical exam don’t turn up any cause for the licking, consider your dog’s lifestyle. Does she need more physical and mental stimulation? Consider taking her on walks in new areas, letting her take her time sniffing instead of rushing her along, introducing her to a fun dog sport such as nose work or rally, or rotating several interesting puzzle toys. — Marty Becker, veterinarian

THE BUZZ

• Has your dog or cat lost a friend? The death of a human family member or a fellow pet can send animals into a state of grief. How animals mourn is similar to the way people react to the loss of a beloved companion: They may mope, lose their appetite, be unwilling to play, or sleep more. Sometimes they curl up with clothing that bears the missing person’s scent or move to the missing animal’s sleeping spot. These behaviors or more subtle changes in behavior are clues that a pet has the blues. Help him cope by maintaining a normal routine, giving some extra-special attention more frequently and remaining patient.

• If you’re making your first trip to the veterinarian with a new kitten, some preparation can help the visit go smoothly. If possible, a preliminary visit to familiarize yourself with the clinic setup can let you scope out such things as whether your kitten might encounter dogs in the waiting room. Plan to have him in a cozy carrier spritzed with soothing feline pheromones where he’ll feel secure — not in your arms, where he could squirm and scratch in an attempt to escape. If a checkout visit isn’t possible, leave your kitten in the car, inside her carrier, while you go sign in. Ask the receptionist to call or text you when they’re ready to take you and Fluffy straight to the exam room. Don’t forget plenty of treats to help distract her during the exam and create positive associations with the experience.

• In the 1997 remake of “Call of the Wild,” based on Jack London’s classic novel, three Leonbergers played the role of sled dog Buck, described in the book as a cross between a Saint Bernard and a Scotch shepherd.

Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet-care experts headed by veterinarian Marty Becker and journalist Kim Campbell Thornton of Vetstreet.com. Joining them is dog trainer and behavior consultant Mikkel Becker. Send pet questions to askpetconnection@gmail.

Source: http://www.goerie.com/entertainmentlife/20180926/what-causes-dog-to-lick-legs-feet-pet-connection

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