Sugi’s itchy feet

  • Lesson from Sugi: allergies sometimes show up on dogs as a rashy inflammation on their feet. This can be managed by avoiding the allergen and keeping the feet soothed with calendula and hypericum.
  • Sugi says, “My feet feel better!”


story: In early February we noticed that Sugi was obsessively licking his front paw. He also seemed to have a bit of a limp. We examined it and saw that there was red, inflamed skin around his toe nails and between his toes. On a back foot that he was also licking, the area between the pads was red and inflamed. He must have been licking these for a few days because they were quite sore and bruised.

Because the front foot was raw and had broken skin, we first treated it with polysporin. We washed the area, dried it and applied the polysporin, and then wrapped his foot in self-adhesive gauze and cloth tape. Whenever we would take him outside, we had to remove this bandage and then clean, reapply and rebandage when he got home. We did this for 2 days. We then tried a few herbal tinctures , including lavendar and goldenseal, on the effected areas. These did not have a lasting effect and he would just get itchy again after a few hours.

We finally started using a herbal calendula ointment. This worked wonders! In addition we put baby socks taped at the ankles on his feet instead of the costly  bandage. We did this for about 5 days until his feet cleared up completely.

During this period, especially at night, he would lick the bandages as though he was still itchy or sore. When it was really bothering him, I would give him homeopathic hypericum and he calmed right down and stopped licking. It must have been a big relief because he would often roll on his back in bliss! We could see that he was much calmer.

Trying to find the problematic allergens, we eliminated a high-lignan flax oil from his diet which was something I had recently changed from his usual flax oil. However, we had also heard that dogs can have a skin reaction from an environmental allergen. Two weeks before we noticed Sugi’s foot problem, we had a flood in the main floor of our suite. All the rugs had been soaked and the water had seeped under the floor boards. We had vacuumed out all the water and dried the soaked areas. We dried all the rugs but maybe they contained some nastey stuff from the flood. After we noticed Sugi’s foot problem we had all the rugs professionally cleaned.

His feet cleared up when we removed these two allergen sources and treated the itch!

I’m still not completely sure what caused his foot rash. I will re-introduce the more refined flax oil with him in a couple of weeks and see what happens.