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View Full Version : Leg Biting / Chewing?



nameBrandon
16th November 2011, 02:29 PM
Hey everyone! Sasha is on day 5 of being home and doing really well (just crossed into 15 weeks old..), only about 3 accidents so far, and she's even (sort-of) sitting by the door and scratching at the shoe basket when she wants to go outside! She's got a frozen washcloth / rag to chew on, as well as a 'piggy ear' bone that she really likes (bacon flavor!) and a plastic chew n' clean bone, so she's got lots of stuff to chew, and she uses them all pretty regularly. My wife was home with her yesterday and noticed that every so often, she'll start biting / chewing her rear leg(s).. it doesn't look like it hurts her, and she does alternate between the two rear legs, so I know it's not a problem with one specific leg being cut or anything. She doesn't do this continuously, usually just if she's on the couch, or in a curled up position. Maybe 10-15 seconds at a time, 3-4 times a day (that I've seen).

Is this normal behavior, maybe due to teething? A quick google search pulled up quite a bit of discussion, but I thought I'd check with you all and see if any Cavalier owners have noticed similar behavior? I saw the whole SM/CM thing, and I'm not about to rush her to the vet or anything, but now it's in the back of my mind..

Thanks!

Brandon

Reptigirl
16th November 2011, 02:51 PM
Leg chewing could be a lot of different things. Could be an itch due to flea bite, mites, dry itchy skin, allergies (maybe from a change in food?), or it could be CM/SM. I'm sure there are other things that cause chewing on there skin.

My pup came home at 12 weeks showing CM/SM symptoms and chewing on his hindlegs was one of them. He had been MRI scanned and was on medication by 6 months. But don't just into the CM/SM route just yet. With my pup we saw a LOT of other symptoms that steadily increased pretty rapidly (but every dog is different). Some of the other symptoms he had was excessive scratching at his neck/collar, excessively rubbing his head on the floor, chewing his legs, excessively licking (until he had soaked the whole area), occasional yelping, and a variety of other minor symptoms.

I would have a vet checkup done to rule out mites (mange). If the vet doesn't find anything I would give it a little time and see what happens. With my puppy you could very clearly see the symptoms increasing. If you don't have insurance I would HIGHLY recommend getting your puppy enrolled ASAP. Just due to there likelyhood of eventually dealing with some kinda of illness I feel it is worth it.

Don't stress too much and enjoy your puppy! I can't stress that enough!!! I feel we lost most of our "puppyhood" due to the severity of my pups condition. They grow up so fast!

nameBrandon
16th November 2011, 03:00 PM
Thanks!! She does scratch her neck quite a bit, but 99% of the time it's just because she's wearing her collar, which she just got a few days ago.. If I take it off, she doesn't usually scratch at all.. no head rubbing or excessive licking, so I'm not too worried at this point.. she was just at the vet on Saturday, but started biting the legs yesterday.. I'll keep an eye on it and see what develops.

Thanks!

Reptigirl
16th November 2011, 03:24 PM
Most puppies will fuss about wearing a collar for the 1st time. But if the scratching at the collar continues for more then a week I would get a little nervous. The collar scratching should go away pretty quickly. Our pup was triggered by his collar in the begining. I tried several different kinds of collars and eventually a harness. They would all trigger scratching. After a few weeks he had a bald spot from the scratching. That's kinda when we found out about CM/SM.

I would try a harness. I'm always more comfortable with a harness because if using a leash a collar can put a lot of stress/pressure on the neck. You may find your pup just doesn't like the weight of the collar and does better with a harness.

JessieAndMe
16th November 2011, 07:19 PM
Our little guy scratched at his collar too, up until recently when we bought him his big boy collar, and the scratching is almost non
existent now. His puppy collar was nylon with a thick reflective stitch and I think it just irritated him. He's scratched so much when he
first began wearing one, that the nylon had become fuzzy.

Could it have anything to do with her anal glands? Jessie would often lick at his back leg in an attempt to reach his bottom, usually
either before or after needing to go to the potty. We took him along to the vet, and he needed to have an anal gland expressed at
12 weeks old. The vet mentioned that licking close to the area and the scooting along the carpet is normally an attempt to
stimulate the gland. I'm by no means an expert, but just sharing our experience. I don't think there is any reason to be alarmed unless
the symptoms worsen or he develops more.

nameBrandon
16th November 2011, 07:29 PM
Thanks JessieAndMe!

I really do think the scratching is collar related.. it is a thicker one we picked up from Target, I think.. We might try a thinner one, or a different material.. It's really not that often, and I did watch some of those CM/SM videos and I haven't seen any behavior that intense. She has done the butt scoot every now and then, but that was on hard-wood, when we had her 'sit' and then she was backing up a little bit after we'd put food in front of her.. I think she was just getting a better angle on it. And she hasn't butt scooted on the rugs at all.

When she does chew on her leg it does seem light, and not for more than 10-15 seconds at a time.. she's not gnawing at it.

I'm not too worried about it, I think a lot of the behavior could be explained by normal puppy behavior, but it is something I want to keep an eye on.

Thanks for the response!

BrooklynMom
16th November 2011, 09:55 PM
Brooklyn does this. We are in SM investigations at the moment, but also allergies and general behaviour. Sometimes these things can just be a behavioural thing at first (adjusting to a new home or something) and then it can become a habit. If you rule out a bacteria infection (that is what started Brooklyns, then it got into a habit) and you have rules out mites, etc. then the best thing to do it to try to break any habit forming behaviors. Try to just put your hand in the way or stop her by distraction and then giving her something else to chew (like a chew toy or a bully stick). Also, you can try spraying a bitter spray on the parts of her leg where she bites a bit too.

It is important (if you have ruled out other causes) to stop the biting if it is behavioural because by biting the leg, even a little, she can give herself a bacterial infection if she breaks the skin.

So, rule out medical, and in the mean time, try to stop the behaviour before it becomes habit :)

nameBrandon
16th November 2011, 10:44 PM
Thanks for that info, BM!

When she "chews" her leg, is it agressive? I've seen some youtube videos about paw/leg chewing and SM/CM, and they appear to be almost attacking their own paw/leg.. Sasha is just kind of lightly chewing as her leg is still, usually when she's curled up in a ball, and not for more than 5-10 seconds.. we do try and stop it, but just noticed it, so we'll be watching it more closely. I'll look up info on mites, etc.. but there doesn't appear to be any physical signs of her chewing.

Calandra
25th November 2011, 08:36 PM
I noticed that Chloe Louise does the butt scootch and also occasionally tries licking or biting down there. I examined her (AFTER her vet appointment :() and saw that she has a little irritation in the fold down by her little protruding puppy part. I don't know what it is, but it isn't going away. She has her boosters next Saturday, so I was hoping to hold out until then, but I might take her in sooner since it doesn't seem to be getting better. The vet mentioned something about dogs needing the anal gland expressed, but that Chloe was too young to worry about that (?) now I wonder... but I have no idea what could've irritated one side of her little area down there.


Our little guy scratched at his collar too, up until recently when we bought him his big boy collar, and the scratching is almost non
existent now. His puppy collar was nylon with a thick reflective stitch and I think it just irritated him. He's scratched so much when he
first began wearing one, that the nylon had become fuzzy.

Could it have anything to do with her anal glands? Jessie would often lick at his back leg in an attempt to reach his bottom, usually
either before or after needing to go to the potty. We took him along to the vet, and he needed to have an anal gland expressed at
12 weeks old. The vet mentioned that licking close to the area and the scooting along the carpet is normally an attempt to
stimulate the gland. I'm by no means an expert, but just sharing our experience. I don't think there is any reason to be alarmed unless
the symptoms worsen or he develops more.