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Question
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 want her to be as healthy and happy as possible so if she's in pain I want to help her. I will be taking her to the vet sometime in May.

Answer
Well, I don't consider a 7-year-old dog to be old; I reserve that label for when a dog gets into the double digits<G>

Your dog's problem could be just about anything, and will most likely require your vet to put a label on the cause.

It could be due to what you are feeding your dog (either due to allergies or just causing itching because it is a poor diet), and she would need to be put on a restrictive diet with gradual introduction of possible allergens to see if she is having an allergic reaction. This is often a one-protein diet. If that special shampoo seemed to help before, it might help again.

Yes, it could be arthritis. A (canine chewable) glucosamine/chondroitin supplement might be helpful for her if it is. Low-dose (81mg) or baby aspirin can be used on occasion if you truly think the dog is sore, but it must be used in moderation.

You might try spraying something nasty-tasting like Bitter Apple on her feet to stop her from chewing on them, and it usually will work except that there are always a handful of dogs who think it tastes good<G> Most dogs do dislike it, however, and for a very good reason; it has a horrible taste.

If your dog did this behavior before and then quit... and now is doing it again... think about what changed before, and what has changed now. Be sure to mention this to your vet when you see him/her in a few weeks.  

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Karen Brittan

Expertise

I have been showing miniature schnauzers in conformation, obedience, and earthdog for forty years, and am a professional dog groomer. I am not a veterinarian and cannot answer questions of a veterinary nature. However, I can give my opinion or share some experiences on some health issues. Everyone should remember that this is a volunteer service, and few of us are up late into the night. Medical emergencies require a veterinary visit, or at least a telephone call... not an internet question which might not be viewed and answered until hours later. If your dog is sick or injured, it should be seen by a licensed professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Experience

I have taught obedience classes and have taught people how to groom for many years.

Learn more about me and my dogs: http://britmorschnauzers.com

Organizations
Member of: American Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Obedience Training Club; Elk River Kennel Club; Minnesota Professional Pet Groomers Association; Greater Twin Cities Earthdog Club.

Education/Credentials
Fifty-one years of living with, observing, and training dogs, along with numerous seminars during that time.

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