Ask an expert

04 May 2004

Jack Russell biting back paws
Dear CyberVet,

We have an 11 month old female Jack Russell. She was constantly scratching herself - so much that her two top nipples would bleed. We also noticed that she was biting her right back paw - it looked raw and very, very sore. We took her to the vet and he gave her two injections, saying that at this time of year there is a lot of things in the air that could cause allergies. That is why she was itching and biting her paw. He also gave us some Prenine ointment to put on her paw.

She has now stopped scratching (which is wonderful), but she is still biting her paw. We really don't know what to do about it. When we see her biting, we tell her "no" and try to distract her. But during the day, she is alone at home. We have thought about putting a bandage on her foot, but knowing her - she is very determined - she would spend the whole day trying to take it off and she would succeed. Please, please can you give us some advice? We just want our puppy to be happy and healthy.

Kind regards and thank you for answering all my previous questions!!

Answer 411 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi Sarah
This kind of obsessive biting, which may have started as something like an allergy or infection, may now be caused or exacerbated by anxiety, like chewing nails in humans. Jack Russells are extremely active and clever little dogs and you may find she needs more exercise and/or stimulation such as training, playing or toys to chew. Separation anxiety and attention-seeking are also considerations. A proper consultation with an accredited Animal Behaviour Consultant is important to try to determine the underlying causes of the problem and to work out a program to follow. See for a consultant in your area.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.