Why does my dog constantly chew on her feet and hind legs?

Chewing on the feet and hind legs is a classic sign of allergies in dogs, much like itchy eyes and a runny nose in humans. Dogs have the same allergy-sensitive cells people have in their eyes and nose, but they are located in dogs’ skin and ears. Therefore, dogs with allergies show signs of itchy feet, itchy skin, and ear infections.

Finding out what your dog is allergic to can sometimes be challenging. Dogs can be allergic to all kinds of things in their environments or diets. The most common allergy dogs experience is a reaction to flea bites, called flea allergy dermatitis. Even if your dog is protected against flea by a collar or treatment, one flea can secrete enough saliva in a bite to cause itching and discomfort. Dogs can also be allergic to ingredients in their food or the shampoo they’re bathed with. They can even have reactions to some of the same things that cause human hayfever: pollen, dust, mold, and grasses.

Your veterinarian can help you determine which of these allergies is bothering your dog. If it is a food allergy, you may be able to simply change your dog’s diet. Do not buy food from any other source other than a veterinarian. Other allergies can be treated with an antihistamine or steroid prescription. Consult your veterinarian about the best way to make your dog more comfortable.

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