Hey St Lucia Community, does your pet lick or chew their paws? Do they lick SO MUCH they now have brown discolouration on their paws?  

You’re not alone. For a lot of pets in St Lucia, licking their paws is an obsession! And for owners, it’s a constant source of frustration (is it just me or does it always happen late at night when you’re trying to sleep and it’s all you can hear). 

So why do they do it? 

Many people think it’s from #1 ANXIETY or obsessive compulsive disorder like when people chew their nails. But for pets, it is rarely a behavioural problem. Infact, it’s often for a completely different reason! 

The correct answer is usually #2 ALLERGIES. Those little feet get irritated and itchy from allergies and when your pet licks (and licks and licks) it’s an attempt to alleviate this itchy feeling. This is especially true in southeast Queensland, with our hot weather and humidity. For some pets, we find this problem flares up in summer with pollen and allergens come out. 

So how do we stop it?  

In our allergic pets, the immune system is overreacting after exposure to a certain stimuli. For example, grass pollen or protein in food. Did you know, in dogs the most common food allergy is to beef followed by chicken (yes, it’s in everything WE KNOW). 

The way to stop this is to identify the underlying cause. We need put our detective hat on and find out what is causing the problem in order to fix it. At Vets in the Village St Lucia, this starts with a skin consultation where we ask you specific questions to help us collecting the information & perhaps run some tests on your pets skin.  

And after we find the problem, we can treat it! Treatment ranges from topical shampoos, allergy injections and even antibiotics depending on the problem. In severe cases, you pet may require a referral to a veterinary dermatology specialists (yes, dogs have specialist doctors too!) 

If your pet is a licker, grab your furry friend and book an appointment today to get ahead of the dreaded itch this summer! We offer skin specific consultations are Vets in the Village.