Welcome to the peak of Licky Season. That time when feet, bellies and everything in between gets the licking and scratching treatment. Here’s why it happens and how to help…
Prepare to be shocked. The most common reason for all that foot licking isn’t anxiety. Or boredom. It’s often not their equivalent of chewing our fingernails. You see, while they can be at least partly to blame, the answer is most likely something more related this time of year. It’s actually allergies…
Yes, that obsessive licking between the toes (and on the belly) is in response to the intense itch that contact with grasses and weeds causes at the end of summer and early autumn. The combination of these plants being in flower and seed means a much higher level of pollens and other irritants. Combine that with lots of recent rain that dissolves the allergens and those nasties now have the perfect way to find their way through the skin to set off an allergic reaction that causes that licking and scratching.
DID YOU KNOW? An orange/brown discolouration of the fur between the toes or on the belly is a big sign they’ve been licking all around the clock. It’s actually a ‘rust stain’ from when their dried saliva oxidises due to the iron it contains.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
First of all, avoid wet grass. It sounds strange but there’s no doubt wet grass causes a much more intense response. Stick to the path on wet days or at the very least, wash their feet and belly clean with water when you return from your walk. For the best protection, you can even create a foot bath for them to stand in. A squirt of soothing (or even anti-fungal and anti-bacterial) will supercharge the protection.
If the licking and scratching is intense and leaving their skin red, inflamed or even pimply, speak to your vet about some anti-histamines, anti-inflammatories and even antibiotics. Boosting their diet with omega 3 fish oils that act as both a barrier to allergens and as a natural anti-inflammatory is a huge part of that defence against the itchy, scratching and endless licking. My Daily Boosters treats are all about helping your skin’s natural defence so are rich in omega 3 fish oils.
Dogs and cats aren’t meant to obsessively scratch. We just see them doing it so much that’s almost accepted as normal. But add these techniques to your care routine and you can have this licky and tricky problem sorted and an itch free autumn ahead of you. What a relief!