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PitRottMommy, Veterinary Nurse
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 9149
Experience:  15 yrs experience in vet med, 8 in emergency med. Founder of a non-profit animal rescue
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A 13 year old shih tzu has started digging indoors. Why and

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a 13 year old shih tzu has started digging indoors. Why and how do I stop her?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What seems to be the problem with the dog?
Customer: She has started digging inside on the carpet. I have to yell at her to stop and she moves to a different spot and digs again.
JA: What is the dog's name?
Customer: Bronte
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Bronte?
Customer: She scoots her but around in circles a LOT; she chews her rear paws a lot.

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.

Is she digging with her front paws?

When did this begin?

Is she routinely groomed by a professional?

Is she taking any medication at this time?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
front paws only. It started about six weeks ago. She is groomed by a professional about every three months and I trim and bath her in between and clip her nails. I am giving her Benadryl for chewing all four paws, mostly back paws, for itching.

How well does the Benadryl work for her?

How much does she weigh?

How many milligrams are given and how often?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
It helps some but doesn't stop the itching. It is 25mg given one or two times a day depending on how itchy she is, and she weighs ~13 pounds.

The dose is appropriate for her, but if it doesn't help with the itching she needs to switch medications. I would urge you to try Zyrtec instead as it tends to work better for dogs. The dosing information is available here: If this doesn't help, talk to your vet about medications like cytopoint, apoquel or atopica for her.

The scooting behavior you're seeing is likely due to full anal glands that need to be expressed. Have your vet check these anytime she scoots. These are most often expressed during a regular grooming appointment but many smaller breed dogs need this done every 4-6 weeks and every 12 may be too infrequent for her needs. The cost of having your vet express them would likely be similar in cost to having a groomer just bathe her. You may wish to have this done monthly, if so, between her regular grooms so that the groomer can express the glands. This is both a smelly and invasive job and one I urge owners to leave to the professionals due to what it entails.

Quite frequently when dogs dig on the carpet indoors they are hearing animals under the floor or in the walls of the home. If you live in an older home or one with multiple floors/spacing under the home, this may be the case for Bronte. With the seasons changing toward fall, animals or insects may be coming into these spaces and she may be able to hear them. Correct her, but redirect her attention to something else to do such as chewing on a bully stick or playing with a toy. You can also turn a radio on or leave the TV on to give her something else to listen to aside from these noises.

I hope this information has been helpful. I will be standing by if you have other questions. Let me know if I can help further. Also, before signing off today, please take the time to use the star rating system at the top of the page to leave a rating for me. A 5-star rating is appreciated as top notch answers are my focus. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply so that I may help until you’ve received the assistance you need. Until you issue a rating, the website will not compensate me for helping you. You will still be able to chat with me even after issuing a rating at no further charge on this thread.

I will also check in with you over the next few days to be sure you don’t need any additional assistance. If you would like to request me in the future for pet-related questions, you can do so by accessing this page:

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