Problems with your dog’s paws are more common and prevalent than you might realise. Dogs are known for their playful and active nature, often engaging in activities that put their paws at risk, such as running, jumping, and digging.
The fact is their paws are susceptible to various problems due to the constant wear and tear they endure. In this article, we will explore some of the most common dog paw problems, their causes, and effective solutions to keep your dog’s paws in good condition.
Common Dog Paw Problems
- Causes: Cracked pads can occur due to dry weather, excessive exercise, or walking on rough surfaces.
- Solutions: Apply a pet-safe paw balm or coconut oil to keep the pads moisturised. Limit strenuous activity during extreme weather conditions.
- Causes: Allergies to pollen, grass, or certain cleaning products can lead to itchy and irritated paws.
- Solutions: Identify and eliminate allergens from your dog’s environment. Consult your veterinarian for antihistamines or other allergy treatments.
- Causes: If your dog’s nails are not trimmed regularly, they can grow into the paw pad, causing pain and discomfort.
- Solutions: Trim your dog’s nails regularly or seek the help of a professional groomer if you’re unsure how to do it safely.
Bacterial or Fungal Infections
- Causes: Moist environments can foster the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi.
- Solutions: Keep your dog’s paws clean and dry. Consult a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment if an infection occurs.
Cuts and Abrasions
- Causes: Sharp objects, glass shards, or rough terrain can cause cuts and abrasions on your dog’s paws.
- Solutions: Inspect your dog’s paws after walks and remove any foreign objects. Clean and disinfect any wounds and use a protective bootie for added safety during walks.
Hot Pavement Burns
- Causes: Walking on hot pavement can lead to burns and blisters on the paw pads.
- Solutions: Check the pavement temperature with the back of your hand before walking your dog, if it’s too hot for you then it’s too hot for their paws. Opt for early morning or evening walks during hot weather.
Foreign Object Trapped Between Toes
- Causes: Small debris like twigs, rocks, or burrs can become lodged between your dog’s toes.
- Solutions: Regularly check between your dog’s toes and remove any foreign objects. Keep your dog’s fur trimmed to reduce the risk of items getting caught.
Preventing Common Dog Paw Problems
As we always say – Prevention is better than cure! Here is a list of actions you can take to maintain your dog’s paw health:
Regular paw inspections: Make a habit of routinely inspecting your dog’s paws. This can help you identify issues early, preventing them from escalating into more severe problems.
Proper paw hygiene: Keeping your dog’s paws clean and dry is essential. After walks in muddy or wet conditions, wipe their paws with a clean, damp cloth to remove dirt and debris.
Nail care: Regular nail trimming is vital to prevent ingrown nails and discomfort. Consult your vet or a professional groomer if you are unsure how to do this safely.
Paw-friendly footwear: In extreme weather conditions, consider using protective dog booties to shield your dog’s paws from hot pavement or icy surfaces.
Paw balms and moisturisers: Use pet-safe paw balms or coconut oil to keep paw pads moisturised, especially in dry weather.
Early intervention can prevent minor issues from becoming more severe
Proper exercise: Exercise your dog appropriately, considering their breed, age, and physical condition. Overexertion can lead to paw injuries.
Training and socialisation: Teaching your dog to walk on a leash and stay away from harmful objects or substances on the ground can prevent many paw issues.
Nutrition and supplements: A balanced diet with essential nutrients can contribute to overall paw health. Supplements such as PetWell THRIVE Immune Support provide nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties that can help the health of your dog’s paws. Read more about a balanced diet.
Regular Veterinary check-ups: Scheduled veterinary visits are essential for monitoring your dog’s health and addressing any emerging concerns, including those related to their paws.
First aid kit: Keep a basic first-aid kit for your dog that includes items for cleaning and dressing minor paw injuries. See our blog about First Aid
Paw-friendly environment: Create a safe environment for your dog by removing sharp objects, toxic substances, and potential hazards from their living space.
By being proactive you can help ensure your dog’s paw health and provide them with the best possible care. The well-being of your fur family depends on your attention and care, and a healthy set of paws is an important part of that.
Recognising the Symptoms of Common Dog Paw Problems
Recognising the symptoms of paw issues in your dog is crucial for early detection and timely intervention. Here are common symptoms to look out for:
Limping or favouring one paw – If your dog is consistently favouring one paw while walking or showing signs of lameness, it may indicate pain or discomfort.
Excessive licking or chewing – Dogs may excessively lick or chew at their paws if they’re experiencing irritation, pain, or itching.
Swelling or redness – Swollen or red paw pads can be a sign of inflammation, infection, or injury.
Cuts, sores, or open wounds – Visible cuts, sores, or open wounds on the paw pads are clear indicators of injury or potential infections.
Bleeding – Any unexplained bleeding from the paws should be a cause for concern and requires immediate attention.
Cracked or dry paws – Dry, cracked, or peeling paw pads can lead to discomfort and pain, and they may be prone to injury.
The well-being of your fur family depends on your attention and care, and a healthy set of paws is an important part of that.
Lameness or reluctance to walk – If your dog hesitates to put weight on one or more paws or shows signs of lameness, it’s a clear sign of a problem.
Paw odour – Foul-smelling paws can indicate bacterial or fungal infections.
Visible objects or debris – Check between your dog’s toes for foreign objects, such as thorns, burrs, or small rocks.
Excessive paw biting – If your dog is constantly biting or gnawing at their paws, it may be a sign of discomfort or allergies.
Licking or chewing at the nails – If your dog is excessively biting or licking their nails, it could be due to ingrown nails or other nail-related issues.
Paw discolouration – Unusual discolouration, such as a darkening or change in colour, may indicate various paw problems.
Always keep an eye on your dog’s paws during regular grooming and after walks. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s advisable to consult with a veterinarian promptly.
Read more for Top Tips to Keep Your Dog Healthy
Your dog’s paws are essential to their overall well-being, and addressing common dog paw problems is crucial for their comfort and happiness.
Regular paw care, including grooming, cleaning, and providing protection, when necessary, can go a long way in preventing and addressing these issues. If you notice persistent or severe problems with your dog’s paws, consult your veterinarian for professional guidance. A little extra care can make a significant difference in your dog’s quality of life.
The entire contents of this email and website are not to be taken as medical advice. PetWell encourages you to make your own pet healthcare decisions based on your research and in partnership with a qualified pet healthcare professional.