Sure, some of us bite our nails all the time. But when your Morkie bites his nails or licks his paws obsessively, it’s not just a habit. It’s likely a form of allergy and can be a hard habit to stop.
The vicious cycle: Atopy or “Dog Hay Fever”
If your Morkie is suffering from a common canine allergy called Atopy, he probably has other signs like a running nose, skin problems, wet eyes and general wheeziness.
When it comes to his paws, they’re itchy, so he licks at them for relief.
Now his paws are wet with saliva – the perfect breeding ground for fungal and bacterial growth. The result is an allergy PLUS a secondary paw problem.
What causes Atopy in dogs?
Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory chronic skin disease brought on by allergies. Most experts agree there are a number of culprits including food, the environment, seasonal changes, grass, pollen, dust mites, mold, rugs, and even chemicals can all cause allergic reactions.
Your Vet may treat your Morkie with any number of antihistamine products, perhaps even Benadryl. Cortisone medications and antihistamines can help reduce itching.
If the allergies are bad enough, your dog might benefit from a series of allergy shots like person does. These are injections of small amounts of the allergen so that over time, he builds up his own, natural immunity.
Another culprit: yeast overgrowth
Another reason dogs will lick their feet incessantly is a yeast infection. Other symptoms of yeast infection include overweight, stinky ears and sometimes skin. The is caused by a diet that has too many grains or carbs, the fillers in some popular dog foods. If your Morkie’s feet are turning pinkish brown, it’s very likely he has a yeast problem, which also changes the PH level in his body.
One clear sign that your Morkie has yeasty fungus problems: “Frito feet” or stinky feet that smell like that oddly popular snack, Fritos. While the most common place for a yeast infection is your dog’s ears, feet are another hot spot for these infections.
Although allergies and yeast overgrowth are the two most common reasons for obsessive paw licking and chewing, there are other causes. However once the problem behind it is solved, the biting and licking usually disappear too:
- a broken nail
- nails that are far too long
- something stuck in the paw in between the pads
- an insect bite on tender feet
And a (thankfully) rare disease
One more reason your dog might be biting at his paws is truly horrible: Symmetrical lupoid onychodystrophy, known as SLO. This is an immune system issue, where the nails are attacked and will eventually lift from the bed and fall off. The good news? This is quite rare, and it can be quickly curbed thanks to medication.