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What To Feed A Dog Who Can’t Stop Licking Their Paws

I moderate a Boston Terrier Group on Facebook and recently someone reached out for help regarding their dog.

I will provide my recommendations in the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine Food Therapy and leveraging food energetics to bring the dog’s body back into h armony.

The recommendations are tailored to this particular dog. If you want to book a call with me for your own dog you can do so HERE.

Dog’s Signs and Symptoms

Dealing with allergies for two years. The dog licks his paws constantly as opposed to seasonally causing interdigital cysts. His feet sweat a good bit especially when he is extremely active and they smell like fritos The dog has solid stools. The dog doesn’t itch their coat and the owner says the coat is normal. The dog gets up at least once at night for potty breaks. The dog is also deaf, and a loner but very sweet.

The dog has been receiving Cytopoint shots every 4 to 6 weeks but it isn’t working.

The dog currently eats Fromm Sweet Potato and Duck.

Salmon oil is added.

Summary Recommendation:

1. Stop Feeding Kibble and switch to real food.

  • Viva Raw PURE Beef weeks 1, 2, 4, 5
  • Viva Raw Turkey weeks 3, 6
  • After that the dog can switch to alternating the two proteins and even adding others but red meat should be fed more frequently than white meat.

2. Drain Dampness in the body by adding vegetables that will bring him back in harmony.

3. Tonify the Liver by adding dark, green leafy vegetables

The Five Elements

I lean on Chinese Nutrition as a framework to understand where the “imbalance” could be.

Chinese Nutrition is an ancient healing wisdom passed on for thousands of years under the umbrella of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Instead of making a diagnosis, we look at what the body is telling us and then look to bring balance back into the areas that are in need of it.

Everything starts off with the concept of Yin (internal/cooling) and Yang (external/warm). From that, there are elements that the person (or in this case the dog) is, the meridians through that Qi (energy) flows, and then the five elements of the organs.

Patterns Of Imbalance

There isn’t any complaints about digestion. Nor are their complaints about the skin.

This rules out that the Metal or Lungs are affected. Whenever there is itch, there is Wind, and these issues will point to the skin and fur. Since he is not itchy this element isn’t a concern.

There also isn’t an imbalance in the Earth element since there are no constant issues with digestion. Stools are good.

What appears to be out of balance is the Wood element or the Liver.

The paw licking (tendons) points to a liver imbalance.

The middle of the night potty breaks also point to the liver

The yeast and smell that is building up in the ears indicate we could also look at the Water element or kidneys.

What Led the Dog To This Condition?

This dog’s body is starting to show that the dry kibble is causing the liver to be out of balance.

A poultry diet lacking in red meat also has caused the “Blood” to be low.

The Liver governs the free flow of Qi, stores blood, and governs the sinews.

Liver Qi has become stagnant, circulation is poor, which is why the dog won’t stop licking his paws.

The dog also has a Liver Damp condition, which is why the yeast is presenting itself.

The Liver is having a hard time processing the dry food and pulling on the kidneys to help and moisture is building up.

What’s The Problem With Dry Dog Food

Dry dog food or kibble lacks cytosol.

Cytosol is the liquid found inside of cells. It is the water-based solution in which organelles, proteins, and other cell structures float. The cytosol of any cell has life energy, or Qi and is a complex solution, whose properties allow the functions of life to take place. Cytosol contains proteins, amino acids, mRNA, ribosomes, sugars, ions, messenger molecules, and more!

The video below explains cytosol:

And while some people might say “just add water to kibble” to me that’s not enough. Water is just H2O where Cytosol has DNA, mRAN, proteins, amino acids etc which provide nutritional life energy to the dog.

When dogs eat dry dog food their body has to go into overdrive to process it.

And yes, while kibble is complete and balanced and scientifically proven to keep a dog alive, it’s not the best food in my book.

Switching To Real Food

The biggest fear dog owners have when switching off kibble is that raw food won’t be balanced.

That’s no longer the case because raw food companies have started to formulate their recipes so that they are “complete and balanced” (make sure you read the label to check) and when it’s not complete and balanced, it’s easy enough to add the food and supplements to ensure that it is.

The other fear is that the bacteria levels will make a dog sick.

Unfortunately, there are very few clinical studies to alleviate this fear simply because raw dog food companies have not invested in these studies.

Anecdotally there are vets, nutritionists and other pet parents safely feeding raw.

But that said – if you want to cook the food, with something like Viva Raw you can. The bone is milled fine enough so that it literally feels as find as sand you would find on the beach.

The initial fear for “cooked bones” was to prevent dog parents from feeding cooked poultry bones which can break into shards and puncture the stomach.

When the bone is ground fine, then that risk is removed from the table.

Note: Some links in this article are affiliate links (Amazon Associates or other programs I participate in). At no charge to you, as an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  

Viva Raw Feeding Instructions

Order via this LINK which has my code DAILYDOGFOOD embedded to get 20% off your first order.

For this particular dog’s weight and activity, the dog can eat 486 calories per day.

The food recommendations are to make it easier for the dog owner. Alternatively, a complete and balanced DIY recipe can be formulated for your own dog by booking a call HERE.

Beef – 1 meal, assuming dog eats twice a day

  • Feed 180 grams Viva Raw PURE beef
  • 15 grams turnip
  • 15 grams of dandelion greens
  • 15 grams of salmon
  • 1 drop of Manganese  drop
  • 1 drop of Vitamin E 
  • 1 TAD of ground Flaxseed
  • 1 TAD of Sunflower oil
  • 1 DROP of Kelp 
  • 1 SMIDGEN of salt (white or pink not kosher)

Measurements in CAPS means you use these Measuring spoons 


  • Always pair an above-ground vegetable with a below-ground vegetable in a one-to-one ratio. If stools are too soft, add more below ground and visa versa.
  • Vegetables should be cooked as dogs cannot process them raw (unless it’s cucumbers).
  • Chop it up into small pieces, place them in a pan with a little water and cook it until it softens, deepens in color and water is evaporated and veggies are cooked but not soggy.
  • Root veggies can be peeled, cubed, boiled and mashed or you can cook them in the oven, 425 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. Peel them and mash them before feeding.
  • There is flexibility when it comes to the veggies. The vegetable is where we harness and leverage food energetics to bring balance back to the body. Feel free to rotate vegetables to any of the recipes above.

A sample of what this might look like:

Week 1: Dandelion greens + turnips

Week 2: asparagus + sweet potatoes

Week 3: Collard greens + yams

Week 4: Dandelion greens + pumpkin

Week 5: kale + Carrots

Repeat cycle

If you don’t have time to make the vegetables, then I recommend Swell Gelato’s Gourmet Food Toppers in place of the vegetables above. You can find it in the west coast and southeast. Visit her website to find the closest pet store that carries it.

Turkey – 1 meal, assuming dog eats twice a day

  • Same as the beef except for the Viva Raw PURE Turkey that is fed is 190 grams
  • Add 1/2 tablet of Zinc 

Monitor The Dog’s Body Condition Score,

The dog’s weight should be monitored. If they gain weight, decrease the food and if they lose weight, increase the food.

Herbal Supplements

I have herbal supplements that I recommend through one on one consultations.

Alternatively, ou can also try nettle tea. You can find this at most grocery stores. Open up the teabag and add 1/4 teaspoon of the dried tea herbs to each of his meals. This has given relief to itchy dogs but results can vary from dog to dog.

Digestive Supplements

Probiotic – Feed this to support the transition from kibble to cooked food. Feed it at 1/4 the suggested dosage for 3 weeks, and then every other day for the 4th weeks, to every 3rd day for the 5th week to once a week on the 6th week.

In Case There is a Tummy Upset

Runs Be Done – a great digestive aid to have in your pantry for diarrhea 

The alternative is Perfect Form.

If your dog has watery poop check out this article.

Ideal Food Temperature

The spleen likes it when food is fed at room temperature or warmer.

This means when you take out their food, you can add a splash of hot water to it “to cut the cold) or let it sit out for 15 minutes before feeding or my preference… you can gently warm it in a pan for no more than 20 to 30 seconds on each side.

It doesn’t have to be “warm” it just can’t be cold from the fridge.

Avoid the microwave as it alters the cellular structure of the food.

What Other Foods or Supplements Are Beneficial

Today we have more options available and it can get confusing as to what we should be feeding.

It is of my opinion that if the “effect” we are looking for can be provided by food from the land and the sea is preferred.

Antioxidants – Add any from the list below. You don’t have to do ALL of them at the same time. Pick one at a time. Ideally, this is the food you eat as well that you are sharing.

  • Feed berries (blueberries,, raspberries, and blackberries). They don’t need a lot, just between 2 to 4 berries a few times a week.
  • Parsley – a few raw sprigs chopped up
  • Cilantro – a few raw sprigs chopped up
  • Mint – one or two leaves

Fruit – one or two slices chopped up

  • Pear
  • Papaya

Omega 3

Fresh fish is always ideal and I only focus on two – salmon or mackerel as they also have Vitamin D.

If you are not feeding fish 2 to 3 times a week then I recommend you add an Omega 3 supplement. I avoid the fish oils as they can be rancid and feed Omega 3 in the form of powder. Omega 3 powder is one I feed my own dogs and recommend to other clients. If there is only ONE supplement to add to the diet you already feed this would be it.


  • Mushrooms. Any mushrooms – even the white button mushrooms can be shared. Cook them in a little water, no spices

Gut Healing

  • Bone broth – preferably one that doesn’t have apple cider vinegar

Longevity Supplements

  • Turkey Tail and Reishi are the two top mushrooms to feed. They are hard to find – typically only seen at farmer’s markets. As an alternative, you can look for “tinctures” of these mushrooms (again at the farmer’s markets). They don’t have to be a dog version it can be one fed to humans. Typically it would be a drop or two from the tincture.
  • Milk Thistle (only after antibiotics for three weeks). I don’t have any brand recommendations. I use this supplement myself and rotate between brands and use the same one for the dogs.

Joint Supplements

  • Pawsomely Healthy has a joint supplement for dogs of all life stages. You can order direct or via Amazon.

Dog Treats

  • Stick to Single Ingredient protein treats – preferably red meat and if “spleen” can be found then that would be the first choice. Farm Hounds carries spleen treats. A small piece the size of a quarter is all this dog needs per day

Interdigital Cysts

Keeping them moist and the dog away from them is key.

You can try Nu Stock to help soak up the moisture and deter him from licking (it smells pretty bad).

Address Topical Yeast Through Shampoos

When yeast starts to grow (wax between the toes, smelly paws) you will need to address it topically.

The type of yeast that is on your dog’s skin is called “Malassezia pachdermitis” and it lives on your dog’s skin.

Yes, we can look at a diet and feeding plan to heal the gut and strengthen the immune system but at the same time we also have to address the external problem of yeast.

There is no getting around it, your dog will need an antibacterial and antifungal to get rid of the yeast growing on their skin.

Here are the products I recommend:

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic and Antifungal Spray/Shampoo for Dogs and Cats

Helps relieve symptoms including yeast, redness, malodorous discharge from lesions, itchiness, pustules, hair loss, greasiness and scaly skin caused by wounds, endocrine diseases, allergies, short coats, skin folds, or ringworm.

Active Ingredients:

  • Benzethonium chloride: fights against bacteria and fungi (antibacterial)
  • Ketoconazole: Helps treat fungus and yeast infections and it’s also effective against ringworm (antifungal)
  • Aloe vera: soothing and healing
  • Lanolin: moisturizing

Application: Use this shampoo two to three times a week for 3 weeks. Let it sit three to five (if your dog will sit still that long) minutes over the areas that are affected.

If this is not available there – look for a shampoo that has the ingredients above. Use the search phrase antibacterial, antifungal dog shampoo.

The other ingredient that kills yeast is Chlorhexidine.


Pet MD Hot Spot Treatment for Dogs – Medicated Spray for Dogs, Cats, and Horses with Chlorhexidine, Ketoconazole, Essential Fatty Acids, Aloe and Vitamin E

Perfect for use in between baths or to spot treat problem areas related to yeast or hot spots. You can spray this on the paws to spot treat bacteria that is growing.

Active Ingredients:

  • Chlorhexidine Gluconate 2%
  • Ketoconazole 1%

I will also use this on any tear stains if that is an issue, by spraying a small amount to a cotton pad and then wiping the affected tear stains – be careful not to get the solution into their eyes.

I also spray waxy areas between the paw pads and wipe off with a baby wipe.


Baby Powder

A light dusting of baby powder can help keep the moisture off at night if the armpits or belly are sweaty. You can buy it on Amazon. Any cornstarch brand is great.

Desired Outcome

  • Dampness in the body should decrease
  • Licking should decrease
  • Restless nights and middle of the night potty breaks should decrease

How Long Does It Take To Heal?

It will take up to as long to heal 100% as it took to get to the imbalance. This dog has been exhibiting allergy issues for two years, and while each month the symptoms will trend better, it can take up to two years before they are 100% perfect.

Hopefully, it doesn’t take that long, and we see the dog in harmony in half of that time.

What If The Dog Is Still Licking Their Paws?

I recommend a follow up in six weeks to evaluate and adjust the diet as needed.

If the dog still has allergy symptoms the diet and herbs can be adjusted as well as a Leaky Gut Protocol.


A TCVM Vet can help when you have hit a wall with your regular vet.

I use Dr. Thomas and his information is below.

Dr. Dennis Thomas

Holistic Health Care for Pets
1707 E. 11th Ave, Spokane WA 99202
Call: 509-214-2676

If you would like to contact him via email: DrThomasHolisticvet@yahoo.com

I use him for my own dogs, and refer clients to him when a TCVM vet isn’t available in your city.


It’s disheartening to see your dog suffer from allergies.

Nothing will ever replace a skilled veterinarian’s guidance and face to face diagnosis.

What I offer is a different perspective in how food can be used to heal.

Each recommendation I share is personalized to the dog. If you want to book a call for your own dog, then BOOK A PACKAGE HERE.

Until then, I wish you and your dog to be well!

Author Biography

Hannah Zulueta obtained her Certificate in Canine Nutrition from CASI Institute. She is also studying to get her Doctorate in Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Herbalism from the esteemed Pacific College of Health and Medicine.

She resides in San Diego with her three dogs, Maggie, Orbit, and Mr. Higgins.

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