luck yet.

Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. This is probably due to a severe allergy, although it could also be fleas or mites.

First of all, in order to rule out skin parasites, you will need to treat her with a high quality flea treatment (e.g. advocate or advantage), then get her to the vet to perform a skin scrape – this might revile an infection or a mite infestation.

If all of those came back negative, the next step is to treat the allergy symptomatically and try discovering the cause of the allergy.

Some medications can be given by the vet in order to stop the chewing and repair the skin lesions (steroids and antibiotics). simultaneously you should start her on a prescription hypoallergenic diet for at least 2 months.

There is also a nice topical spray available if the problem remains on the paws or another specific location only, it’s called Cortavance and you can get it at the vets.

Hopefully you will see some results after all this, if not you and your vet should consider putting her on a long term allergy treatment (Atopica or Apoquel).

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

German Shepherds may lick to show submission or respect, to clean themselves and their owners, and even as a form of self-soothing. German Shepherds also seem especially enthusiastic about licking because they`re highly social animals that crave human contact.
As with other dog behaviors, there can be several reasons that lead dogs to lick or chew their paws. These include injuries; skin problems; environmental, parasite, or food allergies; and boredom or anxiety.
Hot spots get their name from the warmth generated by inflammation. Technically called moist dermatitis, hot spots are most common in dogs with long or thick coats, such as Newfoundlands, German Shepherd Dogs and Golden Retrievers. Dogs with drop ears or a hairy coat are most likely to develop this condition.
For dogs that are intent on licking, chewing, or biting at themselves, while there are many reasons for this behavior, most of them include grooming, boredom, dry skin, or allergies. Sometimes it is environmentally or food based.
A dog`s excessive licking of surfaces is most likely a result of a medical condition leading to nausea or gastrointestinal distress. It may occasionally be a result of anxiety or conflict leading to displacement behaviors and eventually an actual compulsive disorder.
Some ideas include using bitter sprays to discourage licking, having your dog wear a special collar to prevent access to hot spots, or keeping your dog close by your side when you`re home. Addressing anxiety or boredom.
“If your dog has suddenly begun licking themselves a lot then you may want to talk to your vet and get them checked out. Repeatedly licking their paws can be a sign that they are stressed or anxious, or could suggest that they are in pain, feeling nauseous, uncomfortable or itchy.
Unfortunately, the German Shepherd is a high-risk breed for skin allergies like canine atopic dermatitis (CAD). Environmental causes, mainly parasitic, and food hypersensitivity are predispositions that any German Shepherd pet parent should expect to encounter.
In German Shepherds, food allergies are most commonly triggered by sources of animal protein, such as beef or chicken. They may also develop an intolerance over time to other food sources such as wheat, eggs, soy or milk.
There is nothing in a dog`s saliva that can make wounds heal faster. They don`t heal their wounds by licking; they simply keep them clean to prevent infection. It is important to remember that dogs in the wild can easily succumb to infected wounds – and they often do.
It`s gratifying to know that you want to help your dog`s skin issues by applying Vaseline to their cuts, scrapes, and wounds, but it`s a completely synthetic material, and it`s no good for them.
Vaseline does not have any antibacterial, soothing or healing properties. If you`re in a pinch it won`t hurt, but in the long term, there are more beneficial products formulated specifically for dogs that are safer to use.
Clean the skin with a mild, water-based antiseptic spray or wipe (like Douxo Chlorhexidine 3% PS pads) or an antibacterial shampoo. Apply a veterinary-recommended hot spot treatment spray that is safe if ingested. One example is Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Pet Hot Spot Spray.
Vaginitis. Both intact and spayed female dogs can suffer from inflammation of the vagina or urogenital tract, which will make the vaginal area red and swollen. Vaginitis that occurs before puberty will often clear up after the first heat cycle, otherwise treatment will depend on the cause.
Alternatives to the “cone of shame” are inflatable collars, soft E-collars and neck brace collars. Try covering the wound with soft fabric secured by medical tape to prevent licking. Keep pets busy with other fun things to distract them from licking wounds.
Allergies are often pointed to as the number one cause of excessive licking in dogs. If you notice your dog licking between their paws, on their legs, or on the inner thighs, these are signs that allergies are likely the culprit.
Foot Infections

These can be fungal (yeast) or bacterial, and are fairly common: Yeast infections (yeast dermatitis) often affect the skin between a dog`s toes and other skin folds, as seen in itching, redness, a greasy discharge, and occasionally a brown discoloration of the dog`s toenails.

German Shepherds are prone to a variety of skin problems because of flea or insect allergies, food allergies, inhalant allergies, and skin contact allergies. Some GSDs are also itchy because of medicine allergies (either over the counter or prescribed and even genetic allergies).
Symptoms of Chicken Allergy in Dogs

Symptoms could include red or itchy skin (especially on the paws, abdomen, groin, face, and ears), rashes, fur loss, or hives. Skin and ear infections commonly occur. And wounds or “hot spots” may develop due to trauma from a dog repeatedly licking or chewing their skin.

Contrary to popular belief, GSDs are extremely sensitive, emotional dogs and most stress easily. They are all about being with you. GSD puppies are a full time job, and they are puppies until they are two years old.
Grooming may be painful so your dog may need to be sedated. The lesion should be disinfected with a chlorhexidine solution that kills bacteria. Topical antibiotics, desiccating sprays, and soothing reagents will be more effective when applied to a clipped, clean skin surface.
Apply an antibacterial ointment to the wound. Triple antibiotic ointments containing bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin B are widely available. AVOID any product that contains a corticosteroid like hydrocortisone.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. My german Shepard will lick herself raw in a different spot off and on throughout the year. After a wash, we use apple spray or bagh balm no luck yet.
ANSWER : A. This is probably due to a severe allergy, although it could also be fleas or mites.

First of all, in order to rule out skin parasites, you will need to treat her with a high quality flea treatment (e.g. advocate or advantage), then get her to the vet to perform a skin scrape – this might revile an infection or a mite infestation.

If all of those came back negative, the next step is to treat the allergy symptomatically and try discovering the cause of the allergy.

Some medications can be given by the vet in order to stop the chewing and repair the skin lesions (steroids and antibiotics). simultaneously you should start her on a prescription hypoallergenic diet for at least 2 months.

There is also a nice topical spray available if the problem remains on the paws or another specific location only, it’s called Cortavance and you can get it at the vets.

Hopefully you will see some results after all this, if not you and your vet should consider putting her on a long term allergy treatment (Atopica or Apoquel).

Q. Which flea and tick drops are the best and why?
ANSWER : A. Your question is a good one, and unfortunately the answers are going to differ based on who you ask. Many vets are seeing resistance to Frontline, which has been the go-to product for many of us for many years. It contains the active ingredient Fipronil, which is very safe and typically extremely effective. I use it on my dogs and never see fleas or ticks. However other vets will tell you in their areas, for whatever reason, they are seeing fleas and ticks on dogs and cats on which this product was used.

Another reason opinions differ is that some people like to give an oral product, and some like to put a topical product directly on the skin. That’s a matter of personal preference mostly. Bravecto, as mentioned below, is one of those products. Most people find it safe and effective. It uses a different process that Frontline to kill fleas and ticks.

In general the products you buy over-the-counter are likely going to be less expensive and less effective than what you get from a vet. I think the reason is that the more expensive products contain newer insecticides, and likely less resistance to these products has built up in the flea and tick population but also they are maybe less “proven”, so it’s important for a vet to be involved in the use of the product in order to ensure that there won’t be a negative reaction to using it.

If I lived in an area where there was Lyme disease (in the US that’s the northeast and upper midwest) I’d most definitely add a tick collar to my standard oral or topical flea and tick prevention. AND I’d search both of my dogs everyday for ticks. It’s because nothing you buy will be 100% effective, and Lyme disease can be a very serious problem.

If you want to talk further and talk more specifically about where you live and what products you’re considering, I’d be happy to do a consult with you. Nobody here is paid to recommend products, but we do develop preferences based on what we use on our own pets and in our practices.

Q. My dog has no fleas, but is scratching and licking continually. He has been through a round of prednisone and it hasn’t helped. What can I do?
ANSWER : A. Itching can be caused by more than just external parasites, and if your dog is already on a flea medication, then it is possibly not the case. Itching can indicate anything from allergies to even minor skin infections causing problems. If your dog has been treated with prednisone (a steroid that inhibits the immune system) and it did not help, then looking at other options may help.

Food allergies are very common in dogs and can present with itching and licking all over the body rather than on just one spot. Common food allergens include ingredients such as wheat, corn and soy products, however dogs can be allergic to almost anything! Starting a food trial of an allergen-friendly diet from your vet or pet store that avoids these common ingredients may help. The food should be switched over a period of 7-9 days and then given about a month to decide if it is helping.

Small skin infections or yeast in the skin can also cause itching, however this itching is often more specific to a certain area of the body (such as the toes, or base of the tail). Your vet can perform a skin scraping of the area to be cultured at a lab to look for any yeast or bacteria. If they are present, a medication given either orally or placed on the affected area can clear up the infection.

In some cases, licking and chewing can actually be due to a boredom or anxiety behavior. Dogs may lick one spot obsessively to the point of creating sores or wounds in the area. Stopping your dog from licking and chewing either through the use of dog booties, no lick strips, T-shirts or even Elizabethan collars can break the habit and give the area time to heal. Licking and chewing can also cause the spread of bacterial infections so should be deterred even if not behaviorally caused.

Q. Why does my pup lick everything?
ANSWER : A. Puppies are very much like babies and young toddlers, and will explore the world with their mouths. This may include chewing objects, or licking them. Puppies and other more submissive dogs may also lick people as a way to “appease” them and try to gain favor. If your dog is licking objects, then using something such as a no-lick spray and providing appropriate other toys to explore can help curb the behavior. If you are the one being licked, then ignoring your dog or getting up and moving away when the licking begins can help stop the behavior. Be sure, however, to still give your pup lots of praise when NOT licking!

Q. My Bulldog puppy growls, barks and even tries to bite me when I say “no” to him. What can I do?
ANSWER : A. First, avoid scolding him and acting aggressively towards him if you don’t want him to be acting aggressively towards you. There are other methods you can use to communicate to your dog that you don’t want him to continue doing what he is doing. I recommend you stop telling him “no”, scolding him, or raising your voice at him. Everything coming from you should be 100% positive and 100% calm.

Try to figure out ways to clearly communicate what you want to your dog. If you want your dog to leave something or someone alone, I strongly suggest teaching your dog commands like “leave it”. Here is a link to a video in which I explain how to do it:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1TS5nA7z5Q

Another thing I suggest you use is a no-reward marker. This clearly communicates when your dog has done something wrong. No-reward markers have to be introduced during your training sessions. You should be doing at least three training sessions per day, that are something like 3-10 minutes long (working on different things each training session). If you are teaching your dog something BRAND NEW, do not use the no-reward marker, as you do not want to discourage your dog from performing behaviors for you. Use the no-reward marker for known behaviors only. Here is another helpful video about this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdU5a6fXKlg

Lure each new behavior (as shown in the video) using high value treats. Let’s say you’re working on “down” which is a behavior your dog knows fairly well. Present the treat to your dog. Ask your dog to “down” (only ask once). If he does not go “down” immediately, say, “uh-oh” or “eh-eh” in a gentle tone, and then place the treat behind your back. This communicates to your dog that they did something to make the treat go away.

After you place the treat behind your back to show your pup “that was wrong” you need to communicate to your pup “let’s try again” by getting your pup to walk around for a second, and then start the behavior all over again. If your puppy is very young, chances are you haven’t taught him a solid “down” behavior yet. So, as I said, do not use this method until you have lured each new behavior as shown in the video.

This is the order in which you should teach behaviors: Lure using a high value treat as shown in the video. After a few successful food lures, lure with an empty hand. If the pup is successful with the empty hand lure, reward with lots of treats. If the pup is unsuccessful, then go back to food-luring a couple more times. After a few successful empty-hand lures, you can begin to add the cue. Say “sit”, then lure with an empty hand, and then reward. Once your pup understands the cue, begin to work on the no-reward marker.

Q. My cat will not stop going to the toilet on my carpet, bed, washing pile etc.. Also uses its litter box occasionally? I don’t understand why this is?
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.
If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.
The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. Why is my son’s cat continually licking her belly to the point the hair is falling out and a sore has developed? She is 12 yrs old inside cat.
ANSWER : A. Many things can cause this such as allergies, auto immune disease,etc. However it could be as simple as your cat is bored or stressed out. Have you had any enviromental changes lately that couild be stressing your feline friend out? Outdoor cats are accustomed to chasing, hunting, and playing with all sorts of critters. Sometimes indoor kitties need added stimulation to keep them “sane”. Try gsetting your cat some toys to play with. A laser pointer can be a great interaction toy for the two of you to play with. You can also try getting your fury friend a scratching post or a cat tower that will allow him/her to sit and look out the window. A good product for stressed out kitties is Feliway. Feliway is a pheremoene that mimics pheromones produced by recent mothers to kittens. This product comes in a plug-in diffuser or a spray and is available over the counter at most animal hospitals. The spray form of Feliway can be particularly usefull to calm kitties who get stressed when put in a cat carrier. Simply spray Feliway in your carrier before you load your cat up. If none of the above has worked it sounds like it is time to use this technique to get yourcat into the carrier and to the vet. There they can perform diagnostics such as skin cytologies, allergy testing, skin scrapes to determine what the problem is.
One thing i forgot to mention at the beginning is you certainly need to rule out fleas as the cause. If a cat has a flea allergy just one flea bite can drive them crazy and cause them to lick thier belly raw and hairless. Revolution is a great monthly topicall product for fleas,heartworms, and intestinal parasites. Even indoor cats need flea protection. Good luck!

Q. Does an indoor cat need to be vaccinated every year?
ANSWER : A. In practice, I recommend a feline combo vaccine every year, but will generally start administering every 3 years once they have had their kitten vaccines and 2 additional yearly vaccines. Rabies, is required yearly by law, and if kept up to date can be good for up to three years also. Based on the age of your cat I would give a yearly feline combo and rabies, and then boost the combo again next year.