Lick sores in dogs are common. A lick sore is also called a Lick Granuloma or Acral Lick Dermatitis. It is a sore on dogs that is located on the lower foreleg, paw or hind leg. It is seen in large breed dogs such as Retrievers, Great Danes, German Shepherds, Dobermans and Labradors. The dog constantly licks his paws and legs until a dog sore develops. It is caused by boredom and lack of exercise. The hair is lost over the affected area. If left untreated, the skin sores will become firm, thick and will ulcerate. It is common in middle aged dogs that are less active.
The skin becomes thicker due to constant pressure from licking. It usually happens to the skin over the bony pressure points on the dogs outside elbow, hock or paw. You may see a thickened, gray, wrinkled and hairless area. It is seen in large or obese dogs or those that spend a lot of time lying on hard surfaces, such as cement or wood.
Why dogs lick? Dogs lick to reduce pain and irritation. The dog also licks to relieve itching and to keep wounds clean.
Since boredom seems to be the major factor, more companionship and exercise may help. Take the dog for a walk every day or get another dog for companionship. Bitter Apple can be used to discourage a dog licking sores on feet. Unless a dog skin infection develops, or the skin lesions become large, no treatment is necessary. Cortisone injections may be used to help relieve the itching and inflammation. If an infection occurs, an antibiotic may be prescribed by your vet.
Separation anxiety in dogs can cause excessive canine licking and skin disorders. If this occurs, your vet may have to prescribe an anti-anxiety drug to help eliminate the licking and calm the dog.
Encourage your dog to lie on a soft surface to prevent nodules and canine sores. Foam rubber pads or a blanket can help prevent further damage to the affected area.