When your dog starts licking a paw or limping, it’s a sure bet there’s something going on with his or her paw pads. The following are some common causes behind your dog’s paw pad pain and how to treat the cause:
1. Nail Issues
Sometimes paw pad irritation can be caused by issues with your dog’s toenails:
● Long Toenails
When a dog’s nails get too long, it can make it hard to walk. The counterpressure from the ground pushes the nail back into the nail bed– causing pain in toe joints and creating a risk of nail injury. This is why it’s important to trim nails.
● Ingrown Nails
When nails aren’t trimmed well or don’t wear down naturally, this can cause painful ingrown nails.
● Torn/Fractured Nails
Torn or fractured nails can happen if your dog catches a nail on something. They can be very painful, sometimes bleed, and are best treated by a veterinarian.
2. Dry & Cracked Paw Pads
Your dog’s paw pads are supposed to be fairly rough– this is so they can get traction on smooth surfaces like hardwood or tile floors. But dry and cracked paw pads can be caused by extreme environments like hot surfaces, icy surfaces, chemicals, and rough terrain.
Like with dry and cracked human hands and feet, dry and cracked paw pads can be very tender and susceptible to infection. It’s important to moisturize your dog’s paw pads with safe pet moisturizer to keep them healthy.
3. Bacterial & Fungal Infections
There’s normally a cornucopia of bacteria and fungi species taking up residence on the pads of your dog’s paws. It’s only when these organisms occasionally overpopulate and cause an infection. Typical signs that your dog’s paws have been infected are redness, swelling, itching, pain, and drainage.
The most common fungi culprits for infecting dogs are yeast and ringworm. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose and treat the infection with topical creams, wipes, and washes.
Just like humans, our pets can also suffer from allergies. Allergic reactions typically occur more in the ears, skin, or in their glands, but sometimes they will affect the paws. Similar to a fungal or bacterial infection, your dog will be itchy and lick or chew on their paws to relieve the itching.
If your dog is chronically licking their paws, ask your veterinarian to evaluate them for allergies.
5. Burns & Blisters
Hot pavement can cause burns and blisters. The rule of thumb is: if you can’t hold your palm on hot pavement comfortably for 10 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
If your dog does suffer from a burn on their paw pads, they will look red, swollen, and possibly blister. This is a very serious issue that you should treat with first aid at home and immediately contact the veterinarian for proper medical attention.
6. Cuts & Abrasions
When dogs run and play on rough terrains, cuts and abrasions can happen from time to time. Sometimes foreign objects can become lodged in your dog’s paw pads– like little rocks, sticks, broken glass, and debris. These can either cause cuts or lacerations or even exacerbate existing cuts.
Be sure to check the bottoms of your dog’s paws when you suspect an injury and treat with first aid if you find a wound. Similar to a burn, this injury calls for a vet’s medical attention.
If your dog has been spending time out in forests or hiking, they can sometimes pick up ticks. Ticks are infamous for hiding in between pets’ toes and those can be difficult to spot. However, if they go without being discovered for long, they can cause a lot of problems.
It’s best to have your vet deal with removing the tick, but if that’s not possible, use a lighter to heat the tip of a needle, lightly poke the tick with the needle until it releases, and use tweezers to pluck the tick away.
Mites are also common parasites in dog paws which can cause swelling, scaly skin, and hair loss. Your vet needs to run tests to diagnose and treat mites.
8. Cysts & Growths
Skin growths like cysts or lumps sometimes crop up on paws or in between toes. Consult your vet if you find one so they can treat it and remove it if necessary.
Try to keep your dog’s paws healthy by checking them regularly, moisturizing, and ensuring they are well protected. Do you have a senior or special needs dog? Pawfriction can provide your pet with needed traction for their paw pads. Check out Pawfriction for your pet today.