"A swollen dog paw is the result of any one
of a number of things that dogs get up to and into, ranging from an
insect bite to a broken toe. Causes of paw irritation include
irritation after walking on gravel,
allergies to grasses, broken nails, wounds, spider, wasp, bee stings,
snake bites or a broken toe.
The key is to differentiate between an
injury where you should see your vet or one that you may manage at
Some quick treatments for a dog with paw swelling includes aspirin (1
adult aspirin for 30 pounds), benedryl (25mg for small dog, more for a
larger dog), neosporin ointment or cortisone ointment to take down the
swelling and pain.
Wounds and other problems could cause the dog to lick the paws, causing
them to lick the feet raw. Itch from allergy will also cause them to
lick the feet in an attempt to relieve any itch."
Video on Swollen Dog Paws
jumping, crawling, exploring, tripping or stepping on something such as
a sharp rock, nail, glass or even a bee or other stinging insect can
result in dog paw swelling. It’s
a busy life when you’re a dog with so many things to see and do and
places to go. While many a swollen dog paw is the result of a minor
injury, and will likely not require a trip to the vet, you do need to
know some basic first aid skills if you need them.
The first thing you need to know about a swollen dog paw is how to
assess whether or not you
are dealing with something serious. This isn’t as difficult as it may
sound. Simply start by observing how your dog reacts to the injury.
Different reactions will indicate to you what you may be dealing with.
For instance, if you try to touch the injured paw and your dog yelps in
pain and won’t walk on it, you might want to get x-rays done to check
for a fracture or break. On the other hand, let’s say your dog tries to
bear weight, but is limping. This is likely “not” a broken toe or foot,
but may be a strain or sprain.
Swollen Dog Paw
(Pus filled skin
reaction) a on Dog Paw
Photo Credit: Washington State University, Dr.
Candace Sousa, DABVP,
Senior Veterinary Specialist, Veterinary Specialist Team
You can certainly treat sprains and strains at home with ice packs,
Reiki (if you are trained in this form of energy healing, because it
reduces swelling) and rest. Some people think it’s a good idea to give
your dog aspirin. Honestly, we suggest you do not. Here is why. If they
are in pain, they will stay off their foot and help themselves heal. If
they are on drugs that stop the pain entirely, they run the risk of
making their injuries worse.
Ask the vet for a middle of the road dose; one that helps dull the
pain, but does not completely stop it, unless the injury is so severe
that your dog needs a healthy dose of painkillers to even rest
comfortably. Just remember, that if you get a certain dose of aspirin,
or something else prescribed, “only” use the dose as recommended, and
“not” more. More is not better, and may seriously harm or kill your
dog. Typically, for a swollen dog paw, a canine patient is
prescribed a dose of 5 to 10 mg
per pound, 2x per day. Note that children's aspirin is 81 mg.
(check the label). Only use after checking with your
veterinarian. Your vet is in the best position to judge the
length of treatment and dosage requirements for your dog.
pachdermatis (fungal yeast
infection) Is The Cause of This Dog Paw Swelling
Most Common Causes of Swollen Dog Paw
A swollen dog paw may result from:
Landing awkwardly after a jump
Getting it caught in something, like barbed wire or a car
Having something dropped on it, such as a rock
Stepping on something, such as glass or a nail
Being bitten by something like an insect or even another dog
Age and arthritis
Young puppies that were stepped on or dropped (swelling due
a fracture of the metacarpal bones)
Dog Paw Bacterial Dermatosis
Swollen Dog Paw
Related to Bacterial
Skin Infection and Inflammation
Photo Credit: Washington State University
Typically, you will feel the swelling in the paw, see your
dog limping, yelping, holding it in the air, not walking on it or
licking or worrying the paw, by biting or nipping at it. It’s not
always easy to see swelling on black pads. If your dog has pink pads,
you may be able to detect swelling faster. On pink pads, you may also
see redness that may accompany swelling, depending on the cause of the
swollen dog paw.
A swollen dog paw alone, if it is the result of a sting or other bug
typically subsides in about 24 hours. There is usually no infection to
detect. If however there is infection, pus, tissue necrosis (dead
tissue), and the paw just doesn’t look right, it’s a good idea to call
your vet for help.
On the other hand, if there is a puncture wound in your dog’s paw, as
the result of stepping on a sharp object or even being bitten by
another dog, this type of a wound does tend to get infected. If you are
able to wash the wound thoroughly and carefully apply hydrogen peroxide
to disinfect it; that is a good start to keeping infection at bay.
Monitor the paw carefully and call your vet if you see something that
doesn’t look right. Untreated infections can spread like wildfire.
Your veterinarian just needs to look at your dogs pad to see if there
is a problem and what that may be. If you already have an idea of what
happened, it is a good idea to let the vet know right away so they can
determine what might be needed to help your dog.
For example: if your dog stepped on a rusty nail, the vet may wish to
administer a tetanus shot. Or if your dog stepped on glass, it may need
to be extracted. If your dog was in a fight and got bitten, s/he may
well need stitches and antibiotics, based on what the swollen paw
diagnosis happens to be.
Dog Paw Pyoderma
Dermatosis On Dog Paw
Photo Credit: Dr. Candace Sousa, DABVP, DACVD;
There are a number of treatments you may try, depending on the type of
injury sustained by your dog. More minimal injuries, try thoroughly
cleaning the visible wound with warm, soapy water and/or hydrogen
peroxide. Dry thoroughly and apply something like Polysporin, Aloe Vera
cream or gel, or other antiseptic cream. Cover with a baby sock and vet
wrap, to keep your dog from chewing it off.
Some people prefer to soak the paw with warm water and Epsom salts.
This works well, but does need to be done three times a day for the
first few days to ensure there is no infection. If, after about three
days or so, you don’t see any improvement, your dog should see the vet
and have the paw checked.
If you are dealing with stings or bugs bites, you may try cold
compresses or ice packs. Five minutes on and five minutes off, at least
twice an hour. This may be a challenge, as most dogs don’t like this.
Don’t apply this compress/ice pack directly to their pad, instead,
provide a thin barrier to prevent a freeze burn. If they are in enough
pain, they may oblige and sit still for at least three minutes. If that
is all you can get them to sit for, that’s good enough. You’re aiming
for a reduction in swelling and anything longer than a minute will
If the injury appears to be a sprain or strain, some people recommend
using cold packs and following them with hot packs. Personally
speaking, if you are dealing with inflammation, meaning swelling, you
don’t want to put heat on it. Ice it. It you are dealing with tight
muscles, meaning there isn’t always a lot of swelling, heat usually
helps loosen them up. You just need to know which route to take before
maybe making things worse. Also, light massage of the injured paw may
help, if your dog will tolerate it.
If your dog has been badly bitten by another dog on the paw or appears
to have a broken toe or foot, there is not much you can do to treat
this at home, other than rest and pain medications. For this type of
injury, you really need to see your vet, as the dog may require surgery
or even a cast or splint.
Dogs recover well from this type of treatment.
Repairs such as ligament tears are more complicated and
difficult to perform.
Dog Paw Pads
Dog Paw Pad's Should be kept Clean To
Avoid Problems related to Debris that Get Caught in the Inter digital
hair (hair between the pads). Hair between the pads tends to mat,
making it uncomfortable when the dog walks.
Inter digital Cysts
Inter digital cysts in the form of nodules or lumps can form in between
the paw pads. One type, cutaneous horns are formed with hard tissue
that are 1/2" to 2" in size. These growths need to be surgically
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