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Discussion Starter #1
My dog Jax has an obsession with chewing his feet till they bleed, I have taken him to the vet several times and she doesn't even know why. I have put him on meds and that still doesn't help. And when I stop him from doing it, he will sneak into another room and do it till I catch him...Now I never yell at him or hit him in anyway, I just go over to him and take his paw out of his mouth and tell him calmly not to do that and he will stop till I am not looking at me then I will hear a loud yipe and see him eating his paw like he is trying to rip it off.
 

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My first thought is allergies.

What food are you feeding him? Also look at treats!
The most common food allergies iirc are chicken, wheat, soy, and corn.

If his food contains any of these then I would switch to a limited ingredient food or a grainfree food with a meat source such as venison or buffalo.
 

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Good suggestions from Kmes.

How old is your dog and what breed?
Another thing to look into is low Thyroid levels. Many middle aged (or even younger) dogs can have hypothyroidism and the signs are very subtle, and often over looked by vets. One symptom of hypothyroid are skin problems, including yeast and bacterial infections between the toes and on the feet. This can be very irritating for the dog.

The basic blood test for thyroid hormone can be done at your vets. You might suggest this to your vet. If the dog's problems are so severe as you describe, it would be a good idea to take him to the vet for a check up. No matter what the underlying cause, allergies, thyroid, or something else, from what you describe he may need some medication to help clear up some yeast or bacterial infection.

It sounds like you've been to the vets at least once for this, so if you are not getting answers, it may be time for a second opinion. Many vets will treat symptoms only, for many visits, and lead to a frustrating cycle of going back over and over again for more "anti-itch" steroids and such (prednisone/cortisone) that does not ultimately get at the root of the problem.

Please let us know how things go!
 

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I would find another vet as well as the first thing a vet should always assume is allergies or thyroid.

I ditto the others advice on looking at everything that goes into your dogs mouth for any preservatives/corn/wheat and find another vet and have them run some bloodwork
 

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He is 1 year old, he is on a raw diet that he has had since I got him. My vet did check for allergies and thyroid issues both and all came back clean. As for his breeds I have no idea, he seems to be mainly a bully breed type mix. I think I will make an appointment at another vets though just in case they didn't do something right. I came home today to find blood everywhere and to find out he had chewed through his pad on his foot.
 

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hmm... perhaps it is a contact allergy, like maybe he is allergic to grass or something? a raw diet doesn't mean that he isn't allergic to an ingredient, like kmes said, chicken is a common allergy... does he have any other behavioral issues that might suggest he is anxious? i've know several dogs who will chew on themselves in a similar way when they are stressed. how long has this been going on?



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Any chance he has a porcupine quill in his foot?
 

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My rat terrier does the same thing he chews his feet, now he hasnt ever done it to the point of bleeding but if i didnt catch him everytime it may happen. I asked our vet about it and she said a lot of dogs do this. To put the no chew spray on his feet, its like a sour apple taste, it smell horrible. It doesnt work for my dog, he seems to like the taste. He pulls at the hair on his feet near his toes also she said he is trying to clean his feet and get the hair away from his toes. Maybe your dog is like mine and just does it, but as you said the feet end up bleeding. Maybe try the that spray. It did work on my other dog when she wanting to chew. Good Luck.
 

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What kinds of meds?

Ruling out allergy/infection. Dogs with anxiety may do this. Critter did a similar behavior, and had she not had all the fuzziness on her feets, im sure she would have been raw/bleeding. She stopped 100% when put on an antidepressant :). Its just like nailbiting in humans, it releases endorphins and is a way for the dog to self medicate themselves/cope with stress
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Discussion Starter #10
hmm... perhaps it is a contact allergy, like maybe he is allergic to grass or something? a raw diet doesn't mean that he isn't allergic to an ingredient, like kmes said, chicken is a common allergy... does he have any other behavioral issues that might suggest he is anxious? i've know several dogs who will chew on themselves in a similar way when they are stressed. how long has this been going on?
He urinates in his cage on himself, he buries food in the couch, he is very fearful of strangers, obsesses with his toys, cats, bike tires, and I dont mean like he doesnt care for them he fixates on them and you cant break his contact he literally wants to kill bike tires and cats. As for chicken I dont really feed him chicken all that much
 

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He urinates in his cage on himself, he buries food in the couch, he is very fearful of strangers, obsesses with his toys, cats, bike tires, and I dont mean like he doesnt care for them he fixates on them and you cant break his contact he literally wants to kill bike tires and cats. As for chicken I dont really feed him chicken all that much
Oh Dear! He does sound like a dog with anxiety issues! I think Crio's idea of some anxiety meds might be very much worth discussing with your vet.

At one year old, and on a raw diet, in my mind, the likelyhood this is a food allergy is greatly reduced. Unless this was a sudden onset, possibly something he got on his feet, or quills or cactus spines, I think the anxiety hypothesis is looking increasingly strong, because of the behaviors you are describing.

Here is an interesting book on stress in dogs. It helped me understand some of the obsessive compulsive behavior of my dog Josey. Amazon.com: Stress in Dogs (9781929242337): Martina Scholz, Clarissa von Reinhardt: Books

This might take a multi-prong approach to solve. Meds may be part of it. Also, you can do things to help reduce your dogs stress / OCD issues. Lots of exercise is the biggest help. If you can get him out hiking with you off-leash, that is absolutely the best thing for a dog's brain, in my experience. Of course you'd need a safe place to do that and know that he would not run off from you. If that is not possible, then there are other activities such as fly ball, or agility that would really help a dog like yours. In addition, plenty of good, quiet resting time is also important, along with plenty of mental stimulation. Its sort of a balancing act!

Please let us know what you figure out!

PS. It might be worth finding a behaviorist to help you figure out a program for this dog. This does not seem like its going to be one simple solution.
 

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ditto tess. the book she linked to is very helpful. i would definitely be looking into anxiety meds for him ASAP. in the mean time, i HIGHLY recommend DAP diffusers and collars, they won't "fix" the problem, but they might help to take the edge off.

in all honesty, you best/fastest way to start solving his issues would be to contact a behaviorist who works with a veterinarian so that they can find an appropriate med for him (complimented with a behavior modification plan) or a veterinary behaviorist. where abouts are you located?



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Like the others, since the allergy/thyroid have been examined and declared to not be the issue and the dog experiences some other "odd" behaviors, it sounds like anxiety. The gals gave you some great advice on where to start :)
 

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ditto tess. the book she linked to is very helpful. i would definitely be looking into anxiety meds for him ASAP. in the mean time, i HIGHLY recommend DAP diffusers and collars, they won't "fix" the problem, but they might help to take the edge off.

in all honesty, you best/fastest way to start solving his issues would be to contact a behaviorist who works with a veterinarian so that they can find an appropriate med for him (complimented with a behavior modification plan) or a veterinary behaviorist. where abouts are you located?
I will definitely look into all your suggestions, I really do feel bad that he is doing this. I live in south east Michigan so cactus spines and porcupines are pretty much ruled out. As for hiking I already do that with all my dogs every weekend (weather permitting) and he behaves beautifully off leash unless there is a cat or bike.
 

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absolutely ;)
here is a link to help you find a behaviorist:
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)

a veterinary behaviorist:
Find a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist ACVB

a trainer:
Home

if you cannot find a behaviorist in your area, a trainer might be able to help you find a vet that is familiar with anxiety issues. there aren't a whole heaping lot of veterinary behaviorists around so if there isn't one in your area, often non-veterinary behaviorists will work with a regular vet to get anxiety under control... sometimes even experienced trainers might be able to offer good advice on which med will work best for your dog. some people are reluctant to medicate for anxiety, but clearly your dog's anxiety is causing him physical harm. sometimes, when combined with behavior modification the dog can be weaned off the meds, but it may be something that he needs for life-long maintenance, again a behaviorist & vet or a veterinary behaviorist will be able to help you with this.

one caveat- just like your regular family dr can prescribe anxiety/mood altering meds to you, but isn't the same as a psychiatrist, a regular vet can prescribe these meds, but wouldn't necessarily have the same experience/knowledge as a vet. behaviorist, so be a bit choosy about it.

good luck :) and please, keep us posted on how jax is doing! we all love to get updates, and anything you share about your experience may help someone else out...
just for reference, though the bittering agent plan isn't the approach i would necessarily take:
Anxiety and Compulsive Disorders in Dogs | petMD



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I took Jax to a new vet last week to get a second opinion, and they ran some tests on him to see if he has an allergy to anything and those tests turned out all negative, his thyroid is perfect and as the vet said he is a healthy dog all around. The vet also recommended I see a friend of his who is a dog behaviorist
as Jax's obsessions are at an all time high. I was pulling out of the drive and my boyfriend and Jax were outside, and Jax decided the car tires were the enemy and grabbed on to one as it was moving and luckily enough my boyfriend grabbed him and put him in the house, but that was terrifying! As a result I am probably going to have to buy him a dog run while he is outside to go potty :(
 
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