Common Dog Paw Problems

The dog paw pads are a physical barrier between the foot and the ground. It has two purposes, protection, and absorption of shock. When your dog is walking or running, they are putting a lot of pressure on their paws. The paw pads have hundreds of nerve endings with thousands of receptors in them that allow them to sense pain and temperature.

How can I tell if something is wrong with my dog’s paw?

If you notice any of the following signs, it’s time to talk to a vet:

  • Redness or swelling of your dog’s paws
  • Sores or scabs on your dog’s paws
  • Signs of pain when walking (the way they move, their posture)
  • Limping when walking
  • Licking at their paws often, particularly if they show no other signs of illness (your vet will tell you what these are)

If you notice any redness around the wound or spot where there may have been an injury recently, don’t worry. This is perfectly normal. As long as there aren’t other symptoms like pain or limping and nothing about the color seems abnormal for your dog—for example, if it looks more like blood than just redness—you probably don’t need to worry about anything serious going on here.

It is important that you know what to look for when it comes to your dogs paw problems

In order to properly diagnose and treat your dog’s paw problems, you will want to be able to identify the main signs of distress. By observing a dog’s paws when they are healthy, injured, infected and/or swollen you can determine if your pet is experiencing any pain or discomfort.

Healthy paws are pinkish in color with a smooth surface that does not appear red or irritated. When looking at an unhealthy paw you will notice that it may be inflamed or swollen due to skin irritations such as hot spots. If there has been an injury recently sustained on your pet’s foot pads then there could also be some blood visible which would indicate that there was some sort of trauma caused by stepping on something sharp or toxic materials being on their paws (such as antifreeze).

Paw pad injury

Paw pad injuries are common in dogs. They happen when your dog’s nail gets caught on something and tears some of the skin off his paw pad, leaving him with a bloody mess. The most common cause of paw pad injury is an improperly trimmed or split nail. If your dog runs around on rough surfaces or you tend to leave his nails long, this could cause him to get them caught in something and rip off some of the skin.

If you notice that one or more of your dog’s nails has torn off part of his paw pad, there are several things you can do:

  • Clean out any debris from under the nail bed (the pinkish part) by gently pressing down on it with a clean cloth wrapped around a Q-tip or cotton ball until no more blood comes out.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment over each wound immediately after cleaning it out so that any dirt doesn’t get into an open cut and make an infection worse than it already is; then wrap gauze around each one individually before putting socks on him for about two days so he doesn’t scratch them open again while they heal up properly.
  • Make sure to keep checking back every few days as well; if redness persists longer than expected, take him into see a vet because there may be more serious damage under there that needs treatment!


Infections in the paw can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. They are usually caused by a foreign body such as a thorn or splinter, an injury to the paw or puncture wound.

Infections of the outer skin can cause redness and swelling around the area of injury or infection. The skin may also appear rough and dry with hair loss around the affected area. Infections that affect deeper layers of tissue may cause redness and/or swelling over an extended area of your dog’s paw depending on how bad it is.


Parasites are a common cause of problems for dogs, and they can be harmful to your pet. The most common types of parasites are worms, ticks and fleas.

You may notice that your dog has diarrhea or is vomiting if they have an infestation of worms or other parasites in their body. You may also see that they lose weight rapidly because the parasites might be absorbing nutrients from their food before it gets digested properly by your dog’s digestive system.


An abscess is a fluid-filled pocket of pus. It can form as a result of an infection or foreign body, usually in the nail bed. If your dog’s paw is swollen and painful, there’s a good chance it’s an abscess.

Common causes include:

  • A bite or puncture wound that results in bacteria entering the skin (commonly found on dogs with dew claws)
  • Foreign bodies such as splinters, thorns or glass shards piercing into their paws
  • Abnormalities in their paws (like callouses) rubbing together or against certain surfaces

Ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails are a common problem for dogs and cats, especially when their nails are trimmed too short or incorrectly. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is the edge of the nail growing into the skin around it instead of toward the back of the nail. This causes pain and inflammation in your pet’s paw pads and can lead to infection if left untreated, so it’s important that you treat this injury right away!

If your dog has an ingrown nail:

  • Check out his paws every day. If you notice any lumps or bumps on his toes or between them, take him in for an exam at your local vet clinic right away—it could be an infected ingrown nail!
  • Try treating with over-the-counter medication such as [some brand name cream]. If this doesn’t work, talk with your vet about prescription medications like [some other brand name cream].


Frostbite is a very common winter ailment, especially in places that get cold winters. It occurs when the skin and tissues of your dog’s paws become frozen. This can happen when they are outside in the cold for too long or if they are not wearing appropriate clothing to keep them warm.

Your first indication that frostbite has occurred will be a loss of feeling or tingling sensation in the dog’s paws, which means there is damage to their nerves that control sensation. Frostbitten skin may look white or grayish and feel hard and stiff but does not necessarily hurt at this stage: it’s only later as it thaws out that pain appears. If you suspect your dog has been exposed to this condition, go straight to see a vet because left untreated it can lead to serious complications such as gangrene!

Burns and Blisters

If your dog has a burn or blister, you can use a cold compress to help reduce the pain. A paw wax is also helpful in keeping paws clean and moisturized, which may prevent future injuries.

Cuts and Abrasions

Cuts and abrasions are common injuries for dogs, especially if you have a dog who likes to dig or run through thorny bushes. They can be treated with an antiseptic wash, but it’s important to watch your dog for signs of infection (redness, swelling, increased pain).

If you suspect your dog has a cut or abrasion:

  • Clean the area with warm soapy water and let dry completely.
  • Apply an antiseptic wash like Neosporin or Triple Antibiotic Ointment until the skin is completely covered with ointment/medication.

Dog Paw Care and Prevention

Dog paws are delicate, sensitive parts of your dog’s body. If you take care of them properly, they can last a very long time and keep your pet happy and healthy. This means that you should:

  • Clean your dog’s paws regularly. You should clean both the front and back paws on a weekly basis. This is important because it prevents dirt build-up around any cuts or wounds that may be present in their tiny feet.
  • Check your dog’s paws regularly for potential problems such as cuts or infections. You can do this by gently lifting each paw so that you can see if there is anything wrong with it; if there is something wrong with one leg but not another, then this could mean that something like an insect bite has appeared since last time!
  • Keep them dry at all times by keeping him/her away from water whenever possible (especially after baths), using an absorbent towel when drying off after playtime outside (this will help prevent infection) and avoiding walking through puddles whenever possible – especially during winter!

Consider Weather Conditions

If your dog lives in an area that experiences winter weather, make sure to keep them away from extreme temperatures. Dog paw pads can freeze in the cold and dogs can get frostbite. In addition to this, dogs can also suffer from hypothermia and heatstroke if they’re outdoors for too long during hot or cold temperatures.

It’s important to remember that these are just some of the many common dog paw problems out there! There are a lot more we didn’t cover here but we hope this article has helped you understand why it’s important to take care of your pup’s paws


You are now equipped with the knowledge of some common dog paw problems. You know the symptoms and the causes, now it is up to you to keep an eye on your dog’s paws. If you ever see any signs take them immediately to a vet before things get worse.