How to Handle Common Dog Paw Issues

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Dogs are prone to a variety of dog paw issues, just like we are with our feet.

Here, we will discuss the most common dog paw injuries and how to tell if your dog's paws are hurt.

We'll also provide information on how to treat these injuries and prevent them from happening in the first place. Keep reading to learn more.


Common dog paw issues


If your dog's paw pads are injured, you'll likely notice bleeding, swelling, or pain.

But that's not all that can potentially happen, your dog could also have other issues.

Common symptoms of a dog's common paw issues

  • Lesions and pus discharge
  • Cuts or tears
  • Dry or cracked
  • Inflamed or swollen pads
  • Bleeding
  • Foul smelling
  • Broken nails
  • Not putting weight on that particular paw
  • Lots of licking and biting at the paw
  • Parasites or worms in their paws
  • Dog's paws sensitive to touch
  • Growth on dog paw pad

Dogs are prone to a variety of paw issues, just like we are with our feet.

Here, we will discuss the most common dog paw injuries and how to tell if your dog's paws are hurt.

We'll also provide information on how to treat these injuries and prevent them from happening in the first place. Keep reading to learn more.

If your dog's paw pads are injured, you'll likely notice bleeding, swelling, or pain.

But that's not all that can potentially happen, your dog could also have other issues.


General color of a dog's paw pads


As a side note, a dog's normal paw color is supposed to be black (for adults) and pink (for puppies) - see below.

It's also common that some dogs retain the pink paws in their adult lives, or even develop spotted paw pads!

Any other colors aside from either pink, black or very dark brown can indicate some issues.

Puppy's paw (usually pink only)

Adult dog's paw (usually black with possible pink, or a mix)


Causes of dog paw and paw pad issues in dogs


There are many potential causes of dog paw and paw pad issues, some of which are:


Contact with skin irritants


Skin irritants, like such as pesticides, fertilizers, or cleaning chemicals can easily cause your dog's paw to be very itchy, and start licking or scratching at it.

When irritated your dog's paws can turn very pink, or even red with inflammation. (source)


Allergens

Similar to humans, dogs can also be allergic to pollen, grasses, or dust mites.

These can cause inflammation and itchiness on your dog's paw.


Trauma and physical injury


Stepping on sharp objects can happen fairly often in cities.

For example, loose glass can cause a severe cut on your dog's paws, or a thorn from a cactus can also cause injuries and possible infections.


Foreign objects


As with the above, sometimes a thorn can get lodged inside their paws. this burr in dogs' paws often lead to infection, swelling and pain for your dog.


Infections from cuts and bruises


Leading up from the above sharp objects, they can cause your dog's paws to be inflamed and even eventually filled with pus, or have a foul odor from them.


Getting in a fight with another animal


This can happen anywhere, especially if your dog chances across a wild animal in the city, or in the bushes near your home.

Or just a neighbor's cat that doesn't like your dog.


Frostbite or burns if your dog walks on hot pavement or sand


There's a reason why some dog owners wear boots for their dog when it's very hot or cold out, and it's precisely to prevent issues like this from happening.

This is especially so for dogs that are not meant for either hot or cold environments.

This can also happen if you walk your dogs on asphalt or concrete in the summer.


Fungal or yeast infections in between dog paws


The space in between your dog's toes can sometimes be warm and moist; perfect for any fungus to grow, especially if they love wandering around mossy, wooded areas.

Parasites and worms could also potentially burrow their way into your dog's paws, as well.


Long untrimmed nails


Commonly overlooked by many dog owners, it's also one of the chief causes of dog paw issues.

When their nails are too long they have a harder time walking, and also makes the nail extremely easy to break or tear off if they run around.

And if you're wondering if dogs can get ingrown toenails, the answer is YES, they actually can.

Trim your dog's nails regularly, and this common dog paw issue goes away easily.


Sickness


If your dog's paw pad is turning yellow, BRING YOUR DOG TO THE VET IMMEDIATELY.

This is a potential sign that your dog has jaundice, or possibly even Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA).

DROP EVERYTHING, AND BRING YOUR DOG TO THE VET IMMEDIATELY.


How to treat your dog's paw pad wounds


NOTE: This treatment is only for the simple abrasions, cuts and tears. Anything beyond that, we definitely recommend bringing your dog to the vet, especially if your dog refuses to put weight on that paw!


For the simple cuts and abrasions, go ahead and have a bit of warm water and a cloth and gently wipe down the area. If it's an open cut, you can apply an antiseptic solution onto the wound.

If the cut is a little larger (but not large enough to need stitches), you may need to wrap that part of your dog's paw to prevent him from biting and licking while it heals.


If you notice any larger cuts, swelling, pain, pus discharge etc. on your dog's paws pads seek veterinary help right away.

If heavily bleeding, you'll need to quickly staunch the bleeding and bring your dog to the vet as soon as possible!


What should you do if your dog starts licking or chewing at his paws excessively?


If your dog is licking or chewing at his paws excessively, there's a good chance he has a yeast infection.

Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of fungus on the skin, and they often cause extreme itchiness and inflammation.


Yeast infections can be treated with topical antifungal medications prescribed by your veterinarian.

It's important to treat the infection as soon as possible, as it can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.

Thankfully, it can't spread to other dogs or humans - although in rare cases, it CAN spread to immunocompromised people (i.e. people undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy)


How can you prevent dog paw issues from happening in the first place?


Obviously, prevention is far better than needing a cure, so we have a few ways to help prevent your dog from getting injured in the first place.


Always check your dog's paws after they've been outside playing to ensure there are no injuries.


An important way to to help keep your dog's paws healthy is to make sure they are groomed regularly.

This includes trimming their nails and hair around the pads of their feet.

You should also check their paws for debris or anything else that could potentially cause an issue.



Another prevention method is to use booties when taking your dog outside in extreme weather conditions.

This will help keep their paws from getting too cold or hot, and also protects them from potential irritants on the ground.

As an added bonus, the boots will also prevent any moldy or sharp objects from hurting your dog in the cities in any climate.

Or, if you rather your dog not wear booties outside, be sure to wipe their paws off dry when they come inside to prevent them from getting ice or sand buildup.


Regularly washing your dog's feet with warm water and soap is a good way to prevent any bacterial or fungal infections from forming on their paws pads.

Yeast infections can be treated with topical antifungal medications prescribed by your veterinarian.

And finally, always walk your dog on paved surfaces as much as possible - this can help avoid injuries and also keeps their nails trimmed naturally!

They can also benefit from basic dog training skills - especially recalling them if you feel an area may potentially be unsafe for your dog.


When is it necessary to see a veterinarian about a dog's paws?


If you're unsure how to properly treat a dog paw injury, it's best to consult with your veterinarian.

In some cases, dog owners may also need to give their pet antibiotics if the wound becomes infected.


Another common problem that can affect dogs' paws is yeast infection.

Normally yeast infections go away pretty easily with the antibiotics your vet prescribes your dog.

However, if after giving them the full course and you still see your dog bite and lick the paw a lot, it's better to revisit the vet again.


Of course, finally - If you see any signs of injury beyond your ability to help, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible for treatment!



about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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