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Canine Behavior/dog chewing on feet occasionally


I have a 7 year old female Brittany Spaniel. I've noticed her chewing on her back feet and front feet/wrists in the past. She recently started doing it again. I'm assuming her feet are bothering her, I feel like she's in pain maybe its arthritis? She runs around and stuff like usual, she's very happy and playful but she is getting old. Maybe it's allergies so her feet itch? Her vet gave me cortisoothe shampoo a few years ago for allergy in her skin but it's expired now. Is that something I should purchase again? I will be taking her to the vet sometime in May.

It does sound like she is reacting to pain of some sort and arthritis is not an uncommon problem for the breed.  I suggest you find a veterinary orthopedist ASAP.  The veterinary college in your area can suggest one to you that will hopefully not be too far from your home.

I would not use cortisone on a dog without strict veterinary prescription.  Dogs can also develop obsessional licking/chewing of feet as a result of boredom and stress.  At age 7, she's a bit young for age related cognitive failure, but it's always a remote possibility.

While you wait for her vet visit, be sure her feet are free of residual salt from heavy winter snows, and other possibly harmful things she can pick up outside.  Just keep a box of baby wipes (hypo allergenic) and use them to gently (very gently) wipe her feet when she comes indoors.

Once she has been seen by the vet, if there is no diagnosis of orthopedic issues (and I would be surprised, there is medication the Vet will prescribe for her discomfort), then repost using followup feature and we will work on disrupting/extinguishing this developing behavior.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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