Why is dog my dog chewing it’s feet?
My neighbor said, “It’s allergic to corn?!”
Fall brings cooler weather, change in leaves, and frequently it is the season we find our pets licking or chewing at their feet, rubbing their face, or even shaking their head. Why is your pet doing this? If you live in Rock Hill or Fort Mill area, most likely they are showing signs of an allergy!
The big question is… Allergic to what? “Dr. Google” and your neighbor claim to have the answer. We commonly hear everything from gluten to grass is to blame for your dog’s frustrating habits. Are they right? Unfortunately stopping your dog from licking is more complicated than just feeding a gluten free diet, and don’t rush off to pave your back yard!
Diagnosing what your pet may be allergic to requires a trip to the veterinarian. Depending on the age of your pet, seasonality of the problem, and location of the lesion, your veterinarian will recommend specific tests to get to the answer.
Seasonal Allergy-“my dog hates to walk on wet grass….”
Dog’s that seem to lick, shake, or scratch at certain times of the year may have a seasonal allergy also known as Atopy. Atopic dogs can be allergic to grass, pollen, and mold, and many other things; not too different from the causes of “hay fever” signs in people. Traditionally the gold standard in making this diagnosis has been a skin test where these allergens are injected under the skin to look for a reaction. Recently, blood tests have shown some promise. To minimize our pooches’ allergy miseries, veterinarians will commonly treat secondary infections as well as prescribe injectable, topical and/or oral anti-inflammatories.
Food Allergy- “my neighbor says it’s a corn allergy…”
Dogs do have food allergies. However, unlike people who may be allergic to one protein like peanuts and the reaction immediate, dogs are usually not allergic to just one food and the reaction does not occur suddenly. Food allergies in dogs are usually due to multiple proteins that they have been eating all along. These allergies are to both plant and animal proteins including but not limited to chicken, beef, corn, wheat, etc. Because dogs react to multiple allergens, simply feeding a food that does not have corn, chicken etc will not usually be successful. After a thorough physical exam and tests to rule out infection, your veterinarian will best be able to direct you to the appropriate food.
-Dr. John Mazur
Catawba Animal Clinic
Rock Hill, SC 29732