Too often I see dogs chewing on their paws. Since many store-bought diets are deficient in processing and ingredients it is usually allergies. When we focus on fixing the dog’s diet but the paw licking remains what’s next?

It was a relief to read an article in Volume 17 Issue 2 of Animal Wellness Magazine titled “Excessive Paw Licking – It May NOT Be Allergies.”

anwelln_17-2-1Animal Wellness MagazineIn this article Peter Dobias DVM writes of his personal journey trying to solve this mystery. He found some dogs licked their paws because of abnormal neurologic sensation or referred pain. He notes, “front paw lickers often pulled on the leash, or their guardians used a collar attached to a retractable leash.”

In my personal experience chewing excessively on a joint has turned out to be the dog’s attempt to alleviate pain rather than scratch an itch. Many of the dogs who have shared my home have come from lives pulling unrestricted on collars or worse, the use of a choke chain or prong collar. Most had spinal problems that negatively impacted their lives and longevity.

NECK AND NERVE INJURY

Dr. Dobias points out that a collars position on the neck can cause neck and nerve injury in dogs who pull. Retractable leashes create a constant drag that also creates stress in the cervical – neck – area of a dog. His recommendation? Use a front clip harness!

BEST PRACTICES – JOYFUL WALKING

sensible_dog_imageSense-ible HarnessThrough training and daycare I usually recommend front clip harnesses. They are an amazing demonstration of human ingenuity and MUCH more effective than chokes & prongs. Front-connect harnesses work right away and require little effort to use! My personal favorites are the Sense-ible and Sense-ation harnesses from pioneer Soft Touch Concepts.

Read more in our copy of Animal Wellness at Red Rover or check it out online http://animalwellnessmagazine.com/excessive-paw-licking-it-may-not-be-allergies/.

Check out our other blog posts on how to teach Joyful Walking and Devices that work.