We brought our Newfie home around Easter in 2014. It wasn’t until a month or two later that we sensed a problem. After coming in from doing his business, our dog would sneak off to sit under the dining room table and lick the pads of his paws. Sometimes he’d even use his teeth to gnaw on them! We had no idea what was going on, and would often tell him “NO!” He’d stop for a while but go back to licking.
A trip to the vet revealed that our dog had a grass allergy. Yup, our big 120 lb dog was allergic to grass. We didn’t notice at first because there wasn’t much grass for him to touch in the first several weeks he was home, but once it was back and we started cutting it, he reacted with itchy paws.
We even found a small sore between his toes. Thankfully, his thick undercoat protected the rest of his skin from reacting, so we only needed to worry about his feet. By taking several fairly simple steps, we learned to control his grass allergy and give some relief for his poor itchy paws.
Avoid Freshly Cut Grass
The worst of our dog’s reactions seemed to take place in the spring, and on freshly mowed lawns. When we were out for a walk, we’d scoot right past the cut patches and let him do his business on established higher grass. We mowed our front lawn in chunks so that he always had a place to pee that wasn’t freshly mowed. In the height of summer, this got slightly complicated, but it worked out.
We also spent more time away from manicured lawns in general. Our dog loved the dog park, but the whole thing was grass. During the spring, he’d start the licking and chewing even before we’d gotten back in the car to go home. The summer saw us taking more hikes in the woods and jaunts to the dog beach to avoid the grass completely.
Wipe His Paws
During the “grass season” or after an especially long walk, we would use baby wipes to clean our dog’s paws. There wasn’t a special brand or type, although the ones with aloe seemed to work the best. The added bonus was that they made his paws taste nasty, cutting down on the licking and chewing. Our vet recommended a medicated wipe as well, but for us, the baby wipes worked and was cheaper, too.
Anti Itch Spray
The vet gave us a prescription for anti-itch spray. If, after wiping his paws, our dog still seemed uncomfortable, we could spray the pads of his feet to help relieve the itching. We also used a small amount of regular first aid cream on any sores that came up, but we had to watch him carefully so he wouldn’t lick it off.
According to WebMD, other treatments for dog grass allergies include allergy shots, medicated shampoos, and replacing the type of grass you have on your own lawn. Thankfully we never had to resort to anything as drastic as re-sodding our property. It also helps to feed your dog a diet rich in omega-3 and omega-6. These fatty acids keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy, which helps them resist and fight allergic reactions.