Skip to content
Previous article
Now Reading:
Why I strongly disagree with a veterinary specialist

Why I strongly disagree with a veterinary specialist

What you need to know about paw licking in dogs

Just this past weekend, I had a great go at clearing up my e-mail inbox. Feeling relaxed and caught up with other tasks, I decided to tackle the endless stream of e-mails, which one could also call the endless stream of inspiration.

One email that caught my eye was from a veterinary specialist in dermatology, who was responding to my article on paw licking published in Animal Wellness Magazine. See a screenshot of the email below:

To summarize, Dr. Gimmler says I was making “a gigantic error in judgment” because I wrote that most dogs who lick their paws do not have allergies. She also suggested that I am leading people “down ridiculous rabbit holes”  by saying most dogs that lick their paws do not have allergies. Dr. Gimmler was upset by our difference of opinion and suggested dog guardians with dogs who lick their paws excessively see a veterinary specialist.

While some may find my colleagues comments upsetting, I see them as an opportunity to break the ice and open up a conversation. Comments like these do not upset me because I am used to some of my conventionally-minded colleagues calling my treatment methods ridiculous. Ultimately, I am here for dogs and am not out to win a popularity or approval contest.

I even agree with a few of Dr. Gimmler’s points!

  1. I agree that steroids and antibiotics often do not work for paw licking.
  2. Many dogs suffer from heavy growth of Malassezia yeast on the affected paws.

The part that we seem to differ over is that Dr. Gimmler likes to treat yeast with antifungals and I believe that yeast overgrowth is always secondary to underlying causes. I also disagree that neuropathy is “a minute part of the problem” because I have seen many dogs responding very well by addressing this issue.

In my opinion, yeast grows in areas where the skin is compromised by licking and where there are blood and neurological flow restrictions. Dogs often lick their paws because of neck and collar injuries that cause abnormal nerve sensation in their paws. Licking causes skin trauma and traumatized skin is much more prone to Malassezia yeast overgrowth. Antifungals will help temporarily, but they are toxic and will not address the underlying causes. In other words, in most dogs, these conditions will reoccur as soon as antifungals are stopped. 

How do I know? I have had the opportunity to observe and treat many dogs during my 28 years in clinical practice.  

When I see a dog who licks his or her paws, I adjust their diet, take them off kibble, eliminate nutritional deficiencies, give them all-natural supplements and also work with an experienced chiropractor, physical therapist, rehabilitation expert and a massage therapist to correct cervical misalignment and injuries.

I also suggest using a shock-absorbing leash and a Perfect Fit Harness to reduce the likelihood of injury.

I accept that Dr. Gimmler does not agree with me, however, it is not a good reason to call my opinion a giant mistake and accuse me of leading my clients down a ridiculous rabbit hole.

I understand that it is sometimes hard to look at problems from a different perspective, especially when one spends years studying to become an expert or specialist in dermatology. However, we all know that not all skin problems originate in the skin and that they can also be related to the rest of the body. 

I am also concerned many dogs will suffer unnecessarily because of a dogmatic approach to medicine and lack of flexibility that makes us miss viable and effective solutions.

In the past, I followed the conventional approach to paw licking and it did not work for me. I had to search for another answer and found a solution that has helped many chronically ill dogs.

I hope that Dr. Gimmler will respond to my invitation for further respectful conversation. In many ways, I am grateful for her comments because they make me even more passionate and eager to share what I have learned. Ultimately, I am not here for the establishment – I am here for you and your dog!

P.S. If you have experience with paw licking and your dog, please share your experience. If your dog licks his or her paws, click here to read the article on paw licking.

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

Most Popular

  • Flying with dogs
    In my article, I share the personal story of how I'm able to fly with my dog, Pax, thanks to overcoming challenges with sleepwalking and night terrors. This unique experience not only allowed me to travel with my service dog but also serves as a reminder that even difficult situations can have positive outcomes.
  • dog and pony
    Successful communication is essential for building healthier and more fulfilling relationships and happier lives. In this article, I'll share with you 8 communication hacks to help you avoid unnecessary drama, prioritize active listening and address conflicts effectively.
  • Dalmatian eating fruit
    Can dogs eat bananas, apples, strawberries and other fruit? What about grapes? Find out what fruits are safe, toxic, and healthy for dogs. Learn about the potential health benefits and risks of feeding fruit to your canine companion, and get tips on the ideal time to feed it.
  • Illustration of the anatomy of a heart
    As dog lovers, we all want our beloved pups to live long and healthy lives. Protecting your dog's heart from potential health issues is important, and in this blog Dr. Dobias shares some key points that you might not yet be aware of, read on to find out what you can do to keep your dog's heart safe. 

Dog Health

  • Husky lying on blanket with heart toy
    Dogs have our hearts and that is why we need to protect their heart. Dog’s as they age often face muscle problems and spinal misalignment and you might be surprised to know how that can hurt their heart. Learn how to protect your dog’s spine and by extension their heart.
  • The secret ingredient for a perfect No. 2
    Dogs and humans have evolved side-by-side but they are still quite different when it comes to their digestive tracts and dietary habits. We have studied their original environments such as the soils of the African savanna and consulted with top experts in the field of probiotics and microbiology to come up with a combination that reflects healthy bacterial flora of canines.
  • Man being pointed at
    Criticism can hurt a brand, but constructive feedback can help it grow. In this blog Dr. Dobias talks about the differences between these approaches, and how to handle the power of influence and opinion with care. 
  • Broccoli with vitamins and minerals
    Are you worried that your and your dog's diet is missing something? Maybe you're worried about toxin levels in food, the environment, or flea and tick products. Let's face it; we can't remove ourselves entirely from our toxin-filled world, but we can do things to reduce our exposure to harmful substances. 

Human health

  • Dr. Dobias with Pax
    How do you navigate the seas of life? How do you deal with disappointment? Whatever life throws at us, we can always rely on our dogs to bring joy into our days. In this blog I share my thoughts on the support our dogs provide during the difficult moments in life. 
  • Why 1 in 4 Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    Learn more about the alarming prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affecting 1 in 4 Americans. Discover its main risk factors, diagnosis methods, and treatment options to better manage or prevent this silent yet severe condition. 
  • A new perspective on brain health, memory loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia in people and dogs
    The Science of DHA and the Brain: Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily DHA, are the unsung heroes of brain health. They play crucial roles in brain physiology and biological activities, with exciting links between Omega-3 levels and cognitive function. Higher DHA levels have been shown to preserve the integrity of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), your brain's security system
  • Dr. Dobias and Pax
    It appears that most of the world is ready for change, but whenever I think about the solutions to any of the problems that plague our world, I can’t prevent myself from thinking that we humans are acting like little toddlers who have broken a toy and do not know how to fix it. Despite my generally optimistic attitude, I have had a hard time staying positive at times because I know how complex this all is. Read here for some tools that make me feel good about the world, which I would like to share with you.

News, stories and good life

  • Dr. Peter Dobias with his dog Pax on his lap
    Do you have trouble staying positive during difficult times? These days we are surrounded by a lot of negative messaging, and it's easy to let that get you down. Here are some of my tips for remaining positive, and don't forget to share your tips with me!
  • Man raising fist on a mountain
    Most of us have been exposed to panic-inducing information about the virus spread, however, I have noticed the general absence of one piece of information, how to make your immune system stronger and body more resilient. (It will definitely not happen by stockpiling toilet paper!) I have always loved immunology and the current situation has prompted me to put together two simple lists on how to increase your dog’s and your own immunity.
  • Man with dog wearing a collar
    Does your dog have ear problems, nasal or oral tumors, reverse sneezing or an  itchy head or hair loss on their head? Learn how you can address some of these problems and save thousands in vet care costs.
  • Terrier eating raw food
    Now there is no need to guess if there is something missing in your dogs diet.  The HairQ Test is a highly accurate test for mineral deficiencies, toxins and heavy metals in dogs to finely tune your dog’s diet and supplement schedule.

Cart

Close

Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping
Close