For years, Josie licked her back, right paw. And her tail (really her butt, but for the purpose of this story, we’ll go with tail). And I couldn’t stop her, no matter what I did. And it was obvious to any pet owner: her fur had turned brown or just completely worn away where she would lick. And lick. And lick.
I don’t know if it was allergies. Or just OCD. Nothing I tried worked to correct the behavior: grain-free food, collar of shame, asking nicely, demanding she stop. Nothing.
Prednisone. When she started prednisone, the licking stopped. Her tail and paw have healed – no more signs of obsessive licking.
Before we found Josie’s miracle cure, Bear had a trip to the old country vet. He had these two round spots on both his back legs – in almost the same spots. I thought they were spider bites – they looked nasty. Turns out – they were lick granulomas – caused by his obsessive licking. WTF? I have a dog with obsessive licking and this had never happened. But apparently, Bear found a way to take it up a notch. The vet prescribed prednisone, an antibiotic and recommended a sock to prevent future licking.
A sock! I had never thought to try a simple sock!
But how to prevent the sock from coming off? You almost need suspenders for the socks. A quick google search and I found an answer (click here for the video). Using elastic bands and kid’s socks, I rigged up some socks for Bear. Even though only his back legs needed to be covered, his front legs needed socks in order to keep the back socks from coming off inadvertently. He was less than thrilled with this idea.
Despite his discomfort, it worked – he stopped licking his legs and the lick granulomas healed very nicely. And shortly after this, Josie was put on prednisone full time and stopped her obsessive licking. I didn’t even have a chance to try this out on her.
She licks her front legs a lot. I mentioned it to her new vet, Dr. K, at our first appointment – and she acknowledged it is probably from the arthritis Josie has in her legs. So I thought nothing of it – especially since she would be on an anti-inflammatory.
She also licks her legs a lot when she has a bloody and/or snotty nose – a lot of it lands on her legs and she is determined to clean it all up.
For the most part, this hasn’t caused any problems other than the sound of incessant licking.
About two weeks ago, that changed. I started to notice it: the staining on her front right leg. It started turning brown. At first I thought it was dried blood she hadn’t cleaned up yet. But then I realized it wasn’t from her nosebleed – it was from her licking. She had stained it from her obsessive licking. She’s reached the point where she licks her leg so much, whether from the bloody residue or from arthritis pain, she has stained it.
But now I have a plan. I know how to tackle this.
I rigged up some socks for Josie – just on her front paws. They are working like a charm. And if she has a bit of a nosebleed, they get dirty instead of her legs, and I can wash them easily. She isn’t too thrilled with the idea – especially since they give her little traction on the floor. But her leg is slowly returning to white. I’ll take the small victory.
And she isn’t the only one – I noticed Bear chewing his leg today – obsessively. I checked. He is starting to give himself another lick granuloma. He’s now socked too.
All these dogs wearing socks – suddenly my house has gone quiet – no more sound of nails on floor – I could get use this.
(Or I could just trim their nails on a regular basis to keep them nice a short – I think they’ll like this solution better).