Licking Paws: Ways Vets Can Help Heal Pain & Damage Caused From Overlicking

A dog licking its paw may seem cute and a way for them to clean their bodies, but if the licking becomes obsessive, then it can often become a problem. Eventually, excessive licking can lead to a condition known as lick granuloma. The granuloma is basically a worn down patch of skin that may bleed, become sensitive, or scab over. Ignoring this problem can lead to a lot of pain for your dog and the potential for infections of the skin or blood. Thankfully, there are multiple ways that a vet can treat lick granuloma and prevent it from happening in the future. Every dog is different and that's why it's important to see a vet for a possible diagnosis and detailed information on your dog's issues.

Depression Treatments

Dogs have a wide range of emotions and feelings that they may have trouble expressing directly. Dogs dealing with anxiety and depression may try to cope with these feelings by licking paws or other areas. This licking may turn obsessive, especially if a dog gets anxiety and is left home alone for extended periods of time. As a vet observes your dog, there are multiple ways that they will try to treat their depression. The first is through lifestyle changes at home. For example, if your dog is left home alone for extended periods of time, a vet may recommend that a dog walker or pet sitting service is used to give your dog some daily interactions. If being home alone is not an issue, then your dog may be diagnosed with general depression. A vet may prescribe antidepressants to help your dog cope with these feelings and eventually as the anxiety wanes, so will their licking habit.

Thyroid Treatments

Dogs with hypothyroidism may cope with their condition by licking their paws so much that a granuloma forms. While it may not be obvious at first, a thyroid test will typically be performed to determine if that is the source of the issue. If a vet confirms that your dog has hypothyroidism, then multiple changes will be made. This includes changes in their daily habits and possible thyroid medication. The thyroid medication can help balance out levels in the dog and slowly cause the licking habits to stop. Special chew toys may also be given to the dogs so that they have something to focus on instead of just licking their own bodies.

Acupuncture Treatments

If you're looking for a more holistic treatment for your dog, then you may consider acupuncture. Acupuncture treatments will involve small, strategically placed needles around areas where the granuloma has formed. The acupuncture will help promote healing in the area and try to prevent the dog from licking in the same spot again. These treatments may also be performed on other areas of the dog's body to help reduce anxiety and help the dog relax. The times for acupuncture treatments vary and they depend greatly on your dog's behavior and reaction to the needles. When searching for vets, it's a good idea to ask what ones offer this type of treatment to learn more about it.

Gel Application Treatments

Along with stopping the dog from licking the same area, you can use the services of a vet to help that area quickly. Topical prescription gels can be supplied for the treatment of your canine. The gels offer soothing pain relief and may also include scents that deter your dog from licking in that area. The gels will help prevent scarring and may also allow fur to grow back in the same spot. This will allow your dog to heal and look healthy once again.

Make an appointment with a vet as soon as you notice any formation of a granuloma. The earlier you notice the issue, the easier it will be to heal it.