When limited to his paws, it may be due to a contact trigger. If so, it is much easier to identify and treat; if you can remove the irritant, the licking behavior should cease (once paws are healed, more ahead).
How to Treat This at Home
- If this is due to simple contact allergies,
that are causing an acute issue, you can try to fix this at home as long as there are no other signs of concern. If your Shih Tzu does have other symptoms or if the skin has broken open to the point of bleeding, you will want to have a veterinarian examine the paws. There may be an infection and also a need for prescribed medications and testing to determine an allergy
. For acute issues, if the paws have minimal sores and there is minimal to moderate hair loss, and you suspect a contact allergy it can help to remove the trigger.
In the spring, summer and fall, it is not uncommon for a Shih Tzu to lick at his paws or chew at his feet after being outside. Irritants in the grass and on the ground surfaces can attach to the paws and be tracked back into the home. In addition, if you have recently obtained new carpeting or have started to use a new carpet deodorizer or floor cleaner, it may be causing a reaction. In the winter, ice melt chemicals can cause intense itching and chemical burns to a dog’s paws. Even if you do not use these at your home, they are often used in other areas and cars can easily track them into your own neighborhood.
It can help to:
• Thoroughly rinse off the paws before entering back into the house. For Shih Tzu with paw issues that are related to outdoor contaminants, wiping with a canine wipe or wet rag is not sufficient. Rinse the paws under running water.
• All people in the household should remove shoes before entering into the living areas.
• Floors should be vacuumed using a HEPA certified vacuum cleaner. These remove 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 micrometers - these are the irritants that you cannot see but may be the source of intense itching and subsequent licking or chewing for your Shih Tzu.
• Use products to offer relief and healing (more ahead)