Pet insurance policies are underwritten by Markel American Insurance Company.
Follow Us
Foot Licking May Be Sign Of Dog Allergies | Figo Pet Insurance

Allergies may cause foot licking in dogs

Q: Octavian, my 8-year-old Jugg (Jack Russell/pug mix), licks his front paws so relentlessly that he doesn’t have much fur left there. Could he have a nervous tic or obsessive-compulsive disorder? Is it just a bad habit? How do I get him to stop?

A: Octavian’s licking could be behavioral, but it sounds more like he may have atopic dermatitis or a related type of allergic skin disease. Many breeds, including Jack Russell terriers, are predisposed to atopic dermatitis, which is caused by allergy to such environmental triggers as pollens, molds, grass and dust mites.

A dog with allergic skin disease has itchy paws, belly, armpits, anus and/or ears. Some have recurrent ear infections. Fortunately, new treatments are available that are effective and safe.

One is an anti-allergy tablet called Apoquel, given twice daily for the first two weeks and, thereafter, once daily. Another option is an injection called Cytopoint, administered at the animal hospital every four to eight weeks.

If Octavian’s paw licking worsens after he plays in the grass or leaves, wash his paws when he comes indoors to remove the debris that may be causing the itchiness.

Make an appointment to have your veterinarian evaluate Octavian. Your vet will do tests to rule out or identify other causes of itchy paws, including mites, bacterial infection, and overgrowth of yeast.

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at

5 Common Dog Health Problems | Figo Pet Insurance

As dog lovers, we all want to provide the...

More From Figo Blog
Drama Cats: Kitties That Should Receive An Oscar For Their Performances | Figo Pet Insurance

It’s the time of year to recognize the...

Scarf'd: Irish Mint Shakes (Shamrock Shakes) for dogs | Figo Pet Insurance

We’re about all things green (well,...

Therapy dog visiting patient in the hospital

Just as not every human has the “calling” to...

Getting To Know The English Springer Spaniel | Figo Pet Insurance

The Spaniels are among the most long-...

Westie eyeing macaroons on the kitchen counter

Q: Our dogs, Stiller and...

Cleft palate most common in flat-faced breeds: Boxer puppy laying in bed

Q: I’m thinking about buying...

Husky making a comical scowling face

Having a Siberian Husky is like having a 2-...

Girl and dog watching fireworks over lake

Q: Clyde, our 5-year-old Pit...