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Lisa
Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16169
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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My parents dog is around seven years old. He is a Chow Lab

Customer Question

Customer: ***** *****, my parents dog is around seven years old. He is a Chow Lab mix. This winter he has developed oily skin on his back and is now constantly licking his hind foot. they have wood heat. My dad has had health problems. Not active and nether is my mom. i take ***** ***** for walks every day. He loves it. Can stress cause the licking? It is a bald spot not infected.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: Constantly licking one spot is new. I am worried he will make it raw. My mom put on a salve made to discourage licking he just licked it off. it dosen't feel like theres anything in there. could he be picking up on my parents stress. should i give him rescue remedy.
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Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Lisa replied 10 months ago.

Hi there. My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to help you wtih your question. Just like an in person consult, I have a few questions of my own to help ensure I give you the best advice possible....

Have you noticed any hair loss?

Any change in appetite?

Can you tell if his feet have a strange odor?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hair loss at licking sight. He is a black dog and the skin at sight is white with a little pink. Appetite is fine. I just put my nose close to sight and it does smell like a dirty ocean or slight bad breath, a little salty. Not rotten. Thats the best discription i can think of.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Sight is in the middle at top of left rear foot.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I put pressure around it and moved it a little and he didn't flinch or act like it was painful.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
My parents rescude Sonny about 4 years ago. When he first came to live with them he did the same thing. They took him to a vet and he put a cream on it that Sonny licked off. After a while with love and attention he stopped licking.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
It also looks and feels callased around edges. not puffy just hard. Sight size is one inch by one and a half inch. about the size of the front of his mouth when chewing spot. He is non agressive and gentle in his behavior.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I just looked at it and it has dried out some a now i can see he has chewed through top layer of skin. it is still white with some pink.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I just smelled it again and it does smell kind of rotten.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Should i rinse it with iodine and water? Cover it? Take him to the vet?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
now it looks raw.
Expert:  Lisa replied 10 months ago.

Thanks for the additional information. I really appreciate it.

It sounds like he could be brewing a lick granuloma on that paw, possibly as the result of some sort of irritation.

If this is a lick granuloma (a sore caused by licking), then the best thing to do is to encourage him NOT to lick.

Of course, I understand that this is easier said than done...but I do have a couple suggestions:

1. Bitter Apple/Bitter Orange. This is a spray that you can buy at most pet stores. It is safe to use on the body of a dog, and tastes horrible. I've used it with some success with my rescue dogs that chew at their feet or lick at a leg until it bleeds. The only downside is that if the taste doesn't deter the dog, then it does you no good.

2. If he's licking mainly at night when you aren't supervising him, then covering the area and protecting it from his tongue can help. With some of the dogs I've cared for, I've used a regular sock of mine and placed it on the leg. Then I tape the top to the leg with PAPER tape (make sure it's PAPER tape...3M makes a good one....any other tape will cut off circulation and/or cause a bigger problem because it's not porous and doesn't breathe).

3. Finally, you could try a little Benedryl at the dose of 1-2 mg per pound of body weight (meaning if your dog weighs 20 pounds, you can give 20 mg the first dose, and if that doesn't help, you can give 40 mg at the next dose) one time every 8-12 hours. If he's licking because something is bothering him, this might be just the trick to take the edge off and give him some relief.

If it doesn't get better in a day or two, you may want to have your vet take a peek, just in case it needs some antibiotics to get it cleared up.

I hope this helps!!