What you are describing is commonly known as 'dew poisoning'. If you can avoid her walking in the grass when there is dew on it, that will greatly reduce her irritation. I know that's hard, but you might try to alter where you walk her of a morning, so that the grass is as dry as possible. The baby wipes should help, or you could just rinse her feet off as soon as she comes inside if she will tolerate it. I had a beagle that suffered from this years ago, back when vets still put them on prednisone for it. Took care of the itching, but created all sorts of worse side effects. Have you tried giving benadryl orally for it? One 25 mg tablet is the normal dosage for a corgi sized dog. It usually really helps.
Agree with Chris. I've had a number of dogs with this problem. You can also try using dog boots. Corgis can be funny about their feet, so it's a shot in the dark. But, if you can use them, they help. I keep a plunge bucket at the back door. That way I can clean feet well. It took a while for them to like it. Also, if your Meatball can reach back feet, the cone isn't wide enough. One of the biggest mistakes folks make is buying the cone by neck size only. It has to be long enough that they cannot reach around it. You can also try putting baby socks on to keep Meatball from chewing.
Have you tried benadryl or claritin/zyrtec? We also had some success with Genesis spray which I believe is a low dose topical steroid spray. Luke had a lot of irritation on his paws from running through the field at the dog park last year, and that really seemed to help his itching.
Dew poisoning is a type of allergy. Basically they are having an allergic reaction to the dew on the grass.
Unfortunately best thing to do for allergies this severe is steriods. Your vet can prescribe either temaril-p or prednisone. Give a short course and once the itching is under control you can start giving benadryl two or three times a day. Benadryl dose is 1 mg/pound. Human antihistamines tend to not work as well in dogs though so won't help her severe allergies, it will help however once you get them under control to prevent them from getting really bad again.
Foot baths and/or booties are a great idea, again though, you have to get control of this current issue. Some vets will write prescriptions in the record so you can call and get a refill without having to take her in since this is a known condition. Most of the time infections are due to yeast when they are licking their paws so maybe they have a good anti-yeast shampoo or antii-yeast wipes that you can use once the hair on her feet starts looking red and developing a weird smell.
In her case since its so severe it may be worth doing allergy testing to see EXACTLY what she is allergic to. Maybe it is something simple that you can control (i.e. a specific plant in your yard) to prevent further outbreaks.
Didi has seasonal allergies that make her eyes run. A LOT.
When it's time, and I know it's time because it's when I wake up with the sniffles, I give her a benadryl. It works pretty well and doesn't cause her any problems.
I'd ask for a referral to a dermatologist/allergist. Expensive, but worth it. We went through this with Mishka and our regular vet last year - she is a great vet, just not a specialist. We kept treating for yeast infections and it felt like he was in a cone for the entire spring, summer, and fall. And his feet were still raw and awful, even though we never gave him access to them.
When we finally went to the dermatologist she busted out slides and the microscope (no yeast) and the 40-shot allergy test and was able to identify what the problems were (grasses, mold, dust mites, mustard....). Now we have a long-term plan (immunotherapy shots) and a short-term plan to manage his symptoms until the shots start being effective (antihistamines + a topical powder). It is SO GREAT to have him out of the cone and playing again instead of itchy and miserable all the time. In hindsight, I wish we had seen the specialist sooner.
Check to see if there is alcohol in the baby wipes you're using. That can sting. As for the timing of the allergy showing up, grass pollen has its own season, which is over by late summer. So if it is grass, that's why it didn't show up before. If your vet mentioned grass pollen, he probably made the diagnosis based on the timing of it. If it lasts longer than late summer, there's probably other allergens involved.
Thank you everyone for your input and good advice! We just got back from the Vet. So Meatball is now on temaril-P and antibiotics to first get her condition under control. We will stick with the baby wipes (no alcohol). We will also experiment with benadryl, booties, and oatmeal bath. If things go well, hopefully we won't have to go to a specialist and we can just keep her comfortable with benadryl. But if not, we'll definitely go to the dermatologist.
Again, thank you for all your advice! Much appreciated! =)