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Feet Licking/chewing

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I've noticed Elroy has been licking/chewing his feet pretty much daily for about the last two to three weeks. At first it didn't really catch my attention because I thought he was just cleaning his feet. He does it to all four feet and all his feet have wet fur when he's done. I figured he was grooming himself, but finally decided that's probably not the case. Upon closer inspection (Thursday), I noticed some redness and missing hair from his 2nd toe on his left rear foot, and redness on his toe webbing on his right front foot.Thursday I made a vet appointment for Elroy to see what the vet says about Elroy’s recent, persistent, foot cleaning. The appointment is Monday at 11am.
I've since bathed his legs/feet, and I shaved his front feet. I also started rubbing in some Musher's Secret Paw Balm once a day. The daily licking and chewing has pretty much gone away. If he does start to lick, I tell him stop licking and he does.
I took a picture (today) of the left rear foot trying to show the missing hair on his toe. The skin isn't irritated and red anymore, but you can see the missing hair (locally). You can see the spot forward of my index finger.
Hand Gesture Finger Nail Thumb

We're still going to go to the vets to hear what he has to say, but whatever the issue was, I think it has resolved.
My suspicions for suspects are: 1) Lawn Fertilizer irritation (he's walked on granuals on sidewalks when I didn't notice in time). 2) Allergies (fall season? I didn't notice anything last year) Swimming lessons in a pool is new.
I'm wondering if you all have any thoughts to help me think it through.
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Happy, Apricot Standard Superstar
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Tom, you're probably aware we're going through the same thing with Happy. She is still licking and chewing, but with less intensity than before. We've eliminated various foods from her diet, but have no idea if that's had any effect. At our last visit, the vet said it was an infection of some type. He opted not to do cultures and sent us away with some meditated wipes, which seem to help. The doctor said he'd do more test if the problem persisted. He said there were too many causes to pinpoint the exact one without testing - which we'll do if it gets worse. Happy is a happy Poodle with zero stressors so I don't think its psychological.

You and I are the only ones dealing with this right now. Perhaps it has something to do with the changing seasons. Let me know if you come up with anything.
 

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Phoebe Duck, TKN. Frannie Jane pitt mix
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Just popping in to say that Phoebe's been chewing like mad. I've eliminated the food/treat allergens that I know of, changed their bedding, and generally cleaned up. It's helped some, but she will still go thru spells where she's chewing bad enough you would think she's got fleas. Nope. Just bad allergies. My eyes have been itching like mad, everyone's sneezing at work, and both dogs have extra boogies in the morning. I guess Welcome to Fall! 🙄
 

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Tyler
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Knock on wood, Ty hasn't manifested fall allergies but I've had poodles and non-poodle dogs with grass allergies in the Fall. The licking created hot spots which required treatment for a few of the dogs. Wiping the paws usually helped clear it up, but at least one spaniel mix needed topical steroids in her old age.

I inherited my dad's fall allergies at age 60+ so go figure. 🤧
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think washing his feet on Thursday helped. Maybe the Musher's Secret too. If he starts up again, I'll get him back in the tub to do it again. I'm pretty sure going to the vet will be a waste of time/money, but I think it'll make me feel more comfortable.
 

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Standard poodle; African Grey Parrot
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As I recall Elroy is a swimmer/dock diver. Maybe he developed a yeast infection from that. I wonder about that with Rhonda's swimming, but so far so good. In any case it sounds like you are treating it pretty well. A trip to the vet is always wise.
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As I recall Elroy is a swimmer/dock diver. Maybe he developed a yeast infection from that. I wonder about that with Rhonda's swimming, but so far so good. In any case it sounds like you are treating it pretty well. A trip to the vet is always wise.
Is there a relationship with swimming and a yeast infection?
 

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Standard poodle; African Grey Parrot
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Is there a relationship with swimming and a yeast infection?
A good question for your vet. But, I think moisture would be a good medium for fungus. I did a lot of swimming when I was young, and I developed some fungal issues on my feet. I would think the same is true of dogs, but the amount of time involved probably had a lot to do with it.
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Weren’t you going to use a foot wash before letting him in the house, to rinse hypothetical pesticides or allergens ? Did you try it and did it help ?
I did try the paw wipes. I guess I decided his feet are too big to do a good job with them. Hence the bath tub paw wash.
 

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Is there a relationship with swimming and a yeast infection?
I'd imagine the impact of other dogs in the same water as well as the water hygiene level itself could make a difference. And if it's loaded with cleaning chemicals, I'd want to shampoo those off after every swim session. Even if not maybe, due to possible exposure from other dogs' fungal problems.

I have no clue whether those dog swimming structures are kept very clean, and would myself consider it a source of either fairly harsh chemicals or potential exposure. Both of which seem to support bathing afterwards.

No expert here, just how I would approach them if I had a dog using them. Even after a therapeutic swim like in PT, I'd want to clean afterwards.
 

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My mini poodles have been licking their feet more than usual for the past month. I was thinking maybe fall allergy as well. Last week, when I gave them their baths, I let them soak their feet in some anti itching shampoo/water. That helped for a few days. I’m also wondering if there is some kind of itchy weed in the yard or perhaps very tiny bugs . Funny—they never have much eye goop at all—only in the early fall.
 

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So many possible causes - allergies, infection, mites, etc. Sophy once had harvest mites (chiggers in the US) and the irritation was intense. They are almost too small to see with the naked eye but they feed by dissolving the skin so create sore, red patches, especially between to toes. And it is the season for them in the Northern hemisphere.
 
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poodle
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Our now deceased non poodle was a very enthusiastic foot chewer , we think maybe due to wheat , which is in many dog treats , chewing left parts of her feet red, though that wasn’t soreness , it’s a kind of yeast that grows due to the constant chewing . She did groom her own feet also , being a hairy creature . I remember checking her several times for harvest mites . In the end this foot spray worked , it soothed the feet and tasted pretty foul …must have done , going off her expression . This was a dog that never met anything she didn’t want to eat . I also think some dogs just chew , maybe it gives them some whacky kind of happiness feeling . We tend to feed meat , not kibble , treats are mostly meat based /dried meat strips, but it was with the foot chewer
Many years previously we had a large dog end up with a white toe, the vet was all for amputating , saying it was cancer , I disagreed , it was a cold winter . It cleared up , just went , and the toe returned to normal . If you find a good vet it’s a blessing , but some are just part of a chain of vets , owned by big business . Thankfully we have an independent vets team that own their own , spread out over a few towns .

All the best .
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Elroy didn't lick or bite yesterday or overnight. But, when I let him out this morning, when I went to check on him 5 minutes later, he was licking his left rear foot again. I decided to shave his left rear foot. Another mild hot spot under the hair. One thing that was very noticeable compared to previous feet shavings, there is lots of loose flakey (dry) skin under there. Kind of like dandruff for lack of a better term. I also spotted another "bald" spot on his front right foot. Contrary to what I said yesterday, whatever it is, it still persists.
Does anyone elses dog have the dandruff like condition? I can imagine that would be itchy.
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
We went to the vet this morning. The Dr. looked Elroy over and his conclusion is no allergies, no skin conditions. He says he thinks with Elroy being "intact", there's a high likelihood that he drips "smegma" from his penis and it lands on his rear feet, then Elroy commences to enthusiastically clean his feet. I've never noticed Elroy dropping anything other than when he pees, but that probably the only time I'm looking there. I'll watch for it.
The good news is that he is nearly 100% sure it isn't allergies. Puts a lot of concerns to rest. He gave me an anti-itch spray to apply once or twice daily. Before going to bed being one of the times. Other time is optional.
He said washing his feet, being certain to thoroughly rinse, and shaving his feet to reduce the retained moisture are both good things to do.
He commented on how healthy and fit Elroy is as well. Hope his licking the feet goes away for good, but either way, I'm glad to hear it's nothing terribly concerning.
Hand Liquid Bottle Fluid Finger

Hand Liquid Bottle Fluid Plastic bottle
 

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Phoebe Duck, TKN. Frannie Jane pitt mix
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Could it be stress from you being gone fishing? (You did go fishing with your dad, right?) Frannie will compulsively lick when stressed. If really, really stressed she escalates to chewing. It can be something as simple as being told "NO!" and she starts in. Also... I had a dog that had to be bathed in pramoxine and oatmeal shampoo for years. Very good stuff. Soothed her skin like nothing else could.
 

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Did it start after a grooming? Peggy had one grooming experience that wreaked havoc on her poor feet.

I would also be leaning toward the swimming pool as at least a contributing factor. I’m guessing it’s highly chlorinated. Even if the effects don’t last, once dogs start chewing, it becomes a cycle, I think.
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The swimming pool is very lightly chlorinated. No where near like a humans pool. The facility is a well established dog training facility and uses their pools for AKC competition dock diving, so this makes me believe they treat the water properly for canine use. It doesn't mean it couldn't be a problem, but I think it low probably. My vet didn't dig into the nature of his swimming when I mentioned it. It didn't raise any concerns with him.
Swimming is over for the season, so starting last Wednesday, that'll be out of the picture.
He was groomed on Sept 1st, so it did start up in a time frame that could suggest a relationship. I didn't notice any razor burn on his feet or elsewhere. I didn't ask, but I doubt she changed any bathing products. I personally don't think it's related to his grooming, but I could be wrong.
Stress could exasperate it, but it's been happening since before my recent fishing trip when I left him for 1½ days. He definitely stresses a little when I'm gone because he doesn't eat on his normal schedule. He basically doesn't eat anything for the first 24 hrs, after that he gets hungry and starts eating (a little). He starts eating normally after I've been back for a half day.
 
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