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ChristineLVT, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 3307
Experience:  Licensed veterinary technician (B.S. Mercy College), 10 yrs in animal medicine and training
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My pug has been scratching and biting her feet. I bathed ...

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My pug has been scratching and biting her feet. I bathed her in anti-itch shampoo and have itch spray. I think it might be her anal sacs are full which causes her to bite the feet since she can''t reach her feet - is that reasonable?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  ChristineLVT replied 8 years ago.

Allergies, either to food, or an environmental or contact allergy, usually presents as red and itchy toes and feet. It's very possible that the licking/chewing irritated the feet a bit more than usual and it could turn to self-induced infection if not treated quickly.

I would start by soothing and disinfecting the toes by soaking in diluted chlorhexiderm or betadine in warm water (1 part solution to 10 parts water); if she'll let you, soak the feet for 5 minutes, or at least rinse if you can do that much. Sometimes it's hard to keep them still! The shampoo may help, or could actually cause worse irritation believe it or not.

As long as she is healthy otherwise, you can try some benadryl ("diphenhydramine") OTC as well, at a dose of 1mg per pound of body weight for the itching. (The dose range is 1 to 2 mg, with 1mg being safer and more common, but you can round slightly up or down to get easiest dosing with the tablets or capsules). Capsules are much easier than liquid, as you can hide it in a meatball of anything your dog likes to eat. You'll have to read the package to see how many mg are in each tablet/capsule. Don't repeat the benadryl more than once every 8 hours, and if not helping, then unfortunately a vet will be needed as it may have become infected enough to require oral antibiotics or your dog may need injectable, longer lasting steroid to control the allergies. And don't be fooled by allergies- some are seasonal, but some are food related and can develop over years to a product that has been feed all along. Sometimes a novel protein diet will help (buffalo, venison, duck, rabbit, etc).

Let me know if I can help further, and good luck!


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Christine - It's not just her feet, she scratches her side and acts like her bottom itches. This morning she went out to do her business but her bottom was not clean. So I was thinking about the sacs. She has absolutely no red skin or bumps other then where it's become irritated by rubbing while she scratches.

I switched dry food- maybe I'll switch wet food too.
Expert:  ChristineLVT replied 8 years ago.

Her anal glands could be bothering her as well, or her back end in general could be itchy from allergies. I'm glad to hear the skin itself isn't looking infected, but they do chew their feet due to itchiness.

If comfortable trying to express the anal glands yourself, you want to do the external express, following the advice listed at this link, not internally until a vet can show you how to do so.

But the itchiness on the feet and sides are not typical of anal glands being full. It certainly cannot hurt to get them emptied for that problem though!


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