Dear Dr. Brown,
This is a question about putting my dog on a grain-free diet.
We adopted a little senior Shih Tzu named Panda, who we adore. From the beginning, he licked his front legs (especially the left), which resulted in staining of the fur. I initially thought that this was a habit that he developed as a result of stress.
I did try to take him to a veterinarian to have this evaluated (as well as for a corn that he had on a paw pad) and the vet that I took him to would only have the vet tech look briefly at his legs. (For some reason, the vet did not want to meet with me personally about it.) The vet tech did not have any decisive answer about the licking. She said that it might be an allergy, but I should make another appointment to meet with the vet about it. (I was pretty annoyed by this, because that was supposed to have been the appointment with the vet.)
A different vet who I brought Panda to initially said that Panda might just do it out of habit and when he is really working on the foot/leg I should spray bitter apple on the foot to get him to stop. This only works temporarily.
A third vet said that sometimes a dog just starts licking a foot or leg and there isn’t anything there, it might have developed initially at his previous home because he was bored or stressed there.
Here is the question—-I am wondering if I should put my dog on a grain-free diet to see if the licking stops. Is that the only way to determine whether the licking is a from a grain allergy?
Panda is on a super-premium organic food (Castor and Pollux Organix Dry with a dollop of C & P’s natural stew style food), he gets a daily multivitamin, as well as an omega-3 pill everyday.
Should the switch to Grain Free food be only done under a vet’s care? Or is it OK if I switch him to the grain free to see if he stops licking?
Also, if he goes grain free, does this mean that he can’t have his treats that have organic quinoa and peanut butter? I guess quinoa is considered a grain?
Any advice that you could provide would be appreciated.
Thank you very much,
Michelle, Panda’s Dog Mom