Why Is My Dog Constantly Licking His Paws?

Why Is My Dog Constantly Licking His Paws?

Obsessive paw licking is always a sign of trouble. There are four common reasons that your dog may be doing this – all of them require your attention. The first two are behavioral, while the second two are environmental.

Injuries & Infections

If you see your dog suddenly licking or chewing one foot in particular, check for injuries or signs of infection. There are many injuries of the pad that may cause your dog to lick and chew it, including:

* Puncture wounds

* Cuts and scraps

* Burns (from hot asphalt for example)

* Corns

* Foreign bodies stuck in the pads, fur, or between toes. Things like burrs, seeds, thorns, and ticks are common.

* Cysts

* Bone fractures in the toes or nails

* Torn toenail

If you notice anything unusual, use your best judgement if you need to take your dog to the vet. Some of these you can treat at home, others need veterinary attention.

A cut or wound that is left untreated can become infected, which can also cause licking and chewing, even if your dog wasn’t doing it before. Small objects can get lodged inside your dog’s skin, causing infections as well. Seeds can even work themselves into your dog’s bone (foxtail is a big culprit), so it’s important see a vet if you suspect something is lodged where you cannot see.

Allergies

Paw licking and chewing from allergies seems to be the most common – with food and grass allergies being the biggest culprits of inflamed feet. Then, your dog’s constant licking and chewing causes a secondary yeast infection, furthering his discomfort.

If your dog has light fur or paw pads, then you can easily see the inflammation – they will have bright pink to rusty red discoloration on the paws and fur. Your dog will obsessively lick and chew, mostly likely all his feet (whereas with an injury it will just be the one affected foot). If he has been doing it for a while, he will lose the hair around his mouth and nose. If it gets really bad, your dog may even limp from the discomfort they are feeling.

If you suspect allergies (your dog may also be itchy all over and constantly scratching themselves), a good thing to cut out first is grains. Grains are notorious for causing allergy responses in dogs. It’s why we don’t put them in our Stay Loyal dog foods. Switching to Stay Loyal Grain Free has helped many dogs stop foot chewing and licking.

Stress & Anxiety

Some dogs start licking and chewing on their pads out of stress or anxiety. Many dogs in shelters will exhibit this behavior. If you have already ruled out injuries, infection, and allergies, it’s time to think about whether or not your dog is stressed.

Pay attention to when your dog is licking. This may give you a clue as to what is causing the stress so you can change the situation. If you get stuck, consult a dog trainer.

Boredom & OCD

If your dog is not stressed, they could be bored – another way paw licking and chewing is exhibited, often in shelter dogs. Sometimes, paw licking that started out as an injury or infection, becomes an obsessive compulsive disorder. Like chasing their tail, dogs begin to lick and chew and just can’t stop themselves.

Giving your dog something to do, such as a bone to chew on or a food toy can help stop this behavior if it’s due to boredom and sometimes help with OCD. Also make sure they are getting plenty of exercise. Again, if you get stuck, consult a dog trainer.

5 Amazing Health Benefits Of Dog Companionship!

5 Amazing Health Benefits Of Dog Companionship!

Dog lovers have always known there was something special about sharing their life with one. Recently, researchers, scientists, doctors and therapists have become increasingly interested in this phenomenon. As stories come to light about how dogs have helped people in incredible ways. If you thought man’s best friend was great before, wait until you learn about these amazing benefits of having a dog companion.

1 – Dogs are stellar confidantes!

People are judgmental and often not good listeners. Dogs not only love unconditionally, but they seem to have no problem listening to their owners talk and talk. A newly published University of Cambridge study showed that children, particularly girls, disclose intimate details with their pets, more so than even their own siblings.

2 – Dogs keep you calm!

A study conducted in 2002 showed that having a dog (or cat) around can keep people calmer, even in a stressful situation. They found that people with a dog or cat had lower resting heart rates and blood pressure and also had smaller spikes in both, when put in a stressful situation. Another study found that dogs lowered blood pressure better than an ACE inhibitor when stressed!

3 – Dogs keep you mobile!

Because your dog wants to be active, he makes you more active. Studies on the elderly have found that those owning dogs are more mobile and better able to perform daily living tasks, such as climbing stairs, bending, kneeling, stopping, bathing, dressing, and even taking medication and preparing meals.

4 – Dogs make you happier!

A recent study showed that when our dogs look at us, oxytocin is released in both dog and owner. This is the same hormone that is released when parents look at their own infants. So, just gazing into your dog’s eyes can make you happier. Several studies have also shown that dog owners are less likely to be depressed.

5 – Keeping your dog healthy might keep you healthy!

People 65 or older that own pets make 30 percent less doctor visits than those that don’t own a dog or a cat. If all of the above was not enough, a new study that is currently being done by Lincoln Memorial University with a grant from The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) is out to prove that people with healthy dogs are healthier and less likely to have things such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and lack of physical activity.

Your dog is keeping you healthy in so many ways, be sure you are returning the favor by keeping him heathy as well! That starts with a good diet, like our Grain Free line of Stay Loyal dog food.

Grain free dog food

Are all Grain-Free Dog Foods Created Equal? 

Are all Grain-Free Dog Foods Created Equal? 

When comparing grain-free dog foods you need to compare more than just the price!

Grain free dog foods are becoming all the rage, but are they all the same? Basically… NO!

In this article, I am comparing two grain free dog food products. One from the top of the price range and the other from the bottom of the price range.

I won’t mention the name of the products just yet but let’s have a look at the main ingredients.

A-Ingredients, Top of the price range– Chicken Meal, Lamb Meal, Chicken fat, Potato, Tapioca, Peas, Beans, Natural Chicken Flavouring, Sugar Beet Pulp, Fish meal, Marine Fish oil, Fruit and Berries, Vegetables, Green tea, Rosemary, Garlic, Inulin, Vitamins and minerals, Natural antioxidants, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Yucca and Taurine.

B- Ingredients, Bottom of the price range- Meat and Meat meals (chicken, beef, lamb and/or pork), Vegetables and Vegetable proteins and/or canola meal, Tapioca starch, Animal fats, Beet pulp; Vitamins, Minerals and Amino acids, Natural flavours.

Whenever you see nondescript ingredients you need to pay attention. 

The meat protein source in A is very descript, Chicken meal and Lamb meal. Whereas B, Meat and Meat meal is non-descript and they even say it could be a combination of any of these 4 (chicken, beef, lamb and/or pork). It looks like sometimes they put pork and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it could be mostly chicken with a little bit of beef and lamb and other times it could be mostly beef with tiny amounts of chicken and lamb. Basically, whatever they have at the time available and cheap, they put in the food. This can be a real problem if your dog has allergies, because one time your dog could be fine with the combination they used and then they change it and your dog starts breaking out in hotspots and  you don’t suspect the food because it’s been fine in the past on that food.

Now let’s look at the fats.

“A” has Chicken fat and Marine Fish oil and B has Animal fats. Again, B is very non-descript animal fats could be anything from Beef, chicken, Lamb or even Fish. Essentially, they can put in whatever is the cheapest at the time. Product “A” has clear fat sources providing the same amount of Omega- 6 and omega-3 every time.  This is important because the correct omega ratio is critical to a healthy immune system and to decrease inflammation. If they change the fat source you could see changes in your dog’s health.

Now for the carbohydrate sources. “B” has more non-descript ingredients, Vegetables and Vegetable proteins and/or canola meal. I find this section concerning because not only do they not describe what vegetables they use they also quote vegetable proteins and Canola meal, which is another high protein food source. This is a worry because dogs do better with animal source proteins and my concern is that a lot of the protein in this product is from Canola meal and Vegetable proteins, not animal source.

When looking at the guaranteed analysis for both products we also see differences.

Guaranteed Analysis For A– Protein 32%, Fat 18%, fibre 3%, Salt 0.75%, Omega-3 0.5%, Omega-6 2.5%, Vitamin E 400IU/kg, Vitamin C 100mg/kg

Guaranteed Analysis For B– Protein 28%, Fat 14%, fibre 4.5%, Omega Fatty Acids 1.4%.

Because “A” has more animal source protein and fats than “B” you can say that you need less of product “A” to get a similar effect of product “B”. Or if you feed the same amount, “A” will be providing more nutrition than “B”

This is a very simplistic way to look at it but it has its merits.

A more complete way to look at this is that “A” has 32% protein from known animal sources and “B” has 28% protein from a combination of UNKNOWN ratios of animal and plant sources. Now if its only 1% protein from plants then that’s ok. But if its 10% from plants then that means your dog will only be getting 18% protein from animal sources which is quite low, and could cause issues long term.

Fats are super important in dog food they supply double the energy of Carbohydrates and are easier for dogs to utilise. So looking at the fat contents of both products, “A” not only has more fat it has better quality fats.

“A” also shows the amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6. These two essential fatty acids are important to appear in the right ratios. Product B does have a figure for the Omega Fatty Acids however it doesn’t mention if they are Omega-6 or Omega-3 or even Omega-9 so you really don’t know what you are getting here. Considering having the right ratio Of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is critical just on this alone I would advise against this product.

Finally, product “A” has botanicals and anti-oxidants including Vitamins E & C, that help fight against pollution and other free radicals.

So I hope I have helped you understand it’s not all about price or even the brand name it’s about quality ingredients that are suited to dogs and are also in the right ratios to promote a happier healthier life.

I think the customers of product A says it best-

I have a black lab called Ruby and a Cavoodle (Cavalier/Toy poodle cross) called Lucy. We had a couple of months where we used some other “brand” dog kibbles that were also low carb and grain free, along with fresh meat. Our dogs itching and flaky skin problems returned over that period and within a few weeks of being back on the Stay Loyal, it was gone.
So very happy with the product.

Aaron McCracken
Scarborough, Perth WA

I’ve recently changed over to StayLoyal for my three border collies (2x 5yrs old, 1x 10 yrs old). My 5 yo boy has a very sensitive stomach and I was very happy to see there were absolutely no issues with changing him over. Another big difference was their coats. I didn’t even realise how dull their coats were until they became so dark and shiny after changing to StayLoyal. Also, their poos became super small and perfectly formed. I’ve been feeding them other grain free diets for a while now so didn’t expect to see the level of change that I saw with the StayLoyal.

I’ve been telling everyone I know how incredible I think your food is.

Liz Simkus

Eagle Farm, QLD

3 Tips To Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean

3 Tips To Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean

You may think that “doggie breath” is just part of a dog being a dog. But that bad breath is probably a sign that your dog’s teeth need some attention. Letting bad breath go is a good way to end up with a very expensive veterinary bill. Did you know your best friend can actually die from untreated dental issues? Periodontal Disease (which affects eighty percent of dogs over the age of three-years-old) can lead to infections. Infections in the teeth can then spread through the blood stream to the kidneys, liver, heart and other organs. In the heart, it causes Bacterial Endocarditis – a blood infection in the heart valves – that can be fatal. As you can see, good dental health is very important. The following are a few tips to help keep your dog’s teeth pearly white and infection free.

1. Let Them Chew

Yup, you read that right. We want your dog to chew on things. Chewing is a dog’s natural way of cleaning those teeth. What your dog is chewing on does matter, however. Choose toys that floss (rope bones), massage the gums (rubber toys with nubs or rounded edges), or break up tarter (harder plastic than rubber, but not so hard there is a risk of teeth breaking). Edible dental chews can be good, but read the ingredient list first – a lot of them are full of fillers and junk that your dog should not be getting. For edible chews, the we recommend meaty bones. All-natural (unlike those processed chews), they clean the dog’s teeth while providing a healthy supplement to their meal. Meaty, fatty, frozen bones are best. I recommend chicken necks for small dogs and frozen beef brisket for large dogs. With anything your dog is chewing, be sure to supervise as things can get stuck, but dogs must chew. It’s how nature intended your dog to clean their teeth.

2. Feed Good Food

How do we get cavities? By eating sugary junk food. Well, your dog is the same way. Feeding junk kibble that is full of sugars and starches will cause the same damage in your own dog’s mouth. Feeding a natural, high quality food will help keep those teeth healthier. Adding in fresh vegetables like carrots give you two benefits – they give your dog essential vitamins and are a wonderful hard, healthy chew for their teeth. You can freeze the carrots for bigger dogs or those with powerful jaws, or as a cool treat when it’s hot outside.

3. Give Him Herbs

There are a few herbs that help with different dental problems, including bad breath. These are not a substitute for going to the veterinarian, but a compliment that can help prevent or treat issues along with your vet prescribed treatment. For fresh breath, try peppermint, parsley, fennel and dill. These are easy to feed, just sprinkle a teaspoon on your dog’s food once a day every day.

What should you do if your dog’s breath really does stink?

If you notice, even with the good food and the routine chewing, that your dog’s breath is really bad, you may already be dealing with an infection. If your dog lets you, check their teeth and see if you can see

any obvious problems – tartar build-up, bleeding, swollen gums, cracked teeth – the same things you would look for in your own mouth. If you see anything or suspect there may be something going on that you can’t see, a vet visit is the best course of action.