For a few months now (since around late August), my pitbull is obsessed with licking her paws. It is to the point where she almost cannot stop unless she is sleeping or closely supervised. It's so much that she leaves behind large puddles of saliva on whatever furniture she is on from all the licking, and her paws are really starting to get beat up from it (tearing in her pads, small cuts).
Our regular vet isn't quite sure what to do for her. We asked if it could be yeast, but the vet doesn't think so, and pretty much recommends we handle this with her special allergist vet. We know she has bad allergies to nearly everything outdoors. She has been allergy tested and we found that she is allergic to many grasses, weeds, trees, and other things. The allergist said it's some of the most severe allergies in a dog they have seen. But even with all these allergies, I'm not sure that that is the root cause of her licking, since only recently has she been this bad. In the past, she certainly licked her paws some, but nowhere near to the degree it is now.
Things I've tried to help her include:
- Bathing her using a 4% chlorhexidine gluconate shampoo, which our vet recommends to eliminate any kind of bacterial issues
- Soaking her feet in an epsom salt water bath
- A "natural" cream to rub on her paws (natural in the sense that it's made from only natural ingredients)
- A prescribed steroidal spray
- A prescribed antihistamine (Hydroxyzine Hydrochloride) and OTC ones
- A prescription for Gabapentin
- Apoquel (which she's been on for a good portion of her life)
All of these don't seem to provide relief.
I am suspecting something else is at play here. I am beginning to wonder if it's more of a nervous thing for her that she somehow developed into. Environmentally, nothing has really changed, so if it is a nervous issue, I'm unsure what it could be.
Here are some images of her front left paw (click the image to enlarge):
What else could be causing my dog to lick her paws all the time?