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Shih Tzu with skin discoloration
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Shih Tzu with skin discoloration

Hi there, I have an 8 month old shih tzu who seems to have developed "birthmarks" on her belly. I first noticed a 1 tiny spot about 2 months ago. At her check-up I asked the vet about it and was told that dogs sometimes developed skin discoloration. Over the past couple of months I've noticed more spots developing. When I was giving her a bath today I noticed she had a few spots on her hind legs and fornt paws and I can't remember if they were there before. These spots are on her skin and are not inflammed or red ~ more like grayish birthmarks. Are these spots normal? They don't seem to bother her.

I should mention she has food allergies so we've eliminated certain foods and only feed her natural pet food w/o perservatives. These spots developed before we switch food though. She still scratches from time to time but lately she's been licking her front paws alot and I'm wondering if these spots have anything to do with her excessive scratching and licking. Thank you so much for your help.
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In my unprofessional opinion, I don't think the spots are anything to worry about.  Like people, dogs can develop differently pigmented areas on their skin, and it's just the way they were meant to be and entirely normal.  Since you're concerned, bring it up with your vet on her next checkup.

As for the paw licking, she may be doing that out of simple boredom.  When dogs don't get enough exercise, one thing they do to relieve the boredom of living the unnatural life of a couch potato is begin obsessively licking one part of the body.  Over time, a bald spot develops that is commonly referred to as kennel callus.  Frequent licking of the paws keeps them constantly wet, and that can develop into a yeast/ fungal infection that is very itchy and uncomfortable - just like athlete's foot in a human.  Yeast infections are easily treated with preparations you can get from your vet, but you'll need to find a way to stop the licking so it doesn't return.  If you aren't already walking at least once a day, it's time to start.  :-)
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