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What are Bleeding Paws?

While it is not unusual for dogs to have a bloody paw, it is important to understand where the blood is coming from as you try and determine whether the injury is minor or more serious. Bleeding will often happen in the pads of your dog’s paws. The pads on the bottom of your dog’s paws are thick and feel rubbery; their role is to cushion your dog’s steps and give his paws traction. In addition, your dog’s foot pads will protect his bones and joints by providing shock absorption during running and walking. Foot pads also offer insulation to your dog’s foot from very hot and very cold weather.

If your dog’s paw is bleeding, it may be due to an injury to one or more of his foot pads. As walking on the injured foot can reopen the wound, foot pad injuries can be challenging to resolve. If your dog experiences damage to his nails or nail beds, it can also be problematic. Your dog’s toenails have a blood vessel running through them; this means that if a nail break is higher than the location of the vessel, significant bleeding can occur.

Bleeding can occur in the foot pad of a dog or from the paw itself, as a result of a slice or puncture, as well as from a broken nail.

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Symptoms of Bleeding Paws in Dogs

In addition to the blood, you may notice a slice or puncture in one or more of your dog’s foot pads. Whether the damage is to the footpad or the skin or nails of the dog, you may notice your dog limping, not using his injured paw and flinching when you reach for the paw to examine it.

Types 

Your dog’s paw may be bleeding due to the following:

Laceration - This is a cut or tear in the skin or food pads of your dog; these may or may not be deep and a foreign object may be found in the skin or pad upon further examination 

Abrasion - A part of the skin or foot pad has been scraped or worn away

Other injuries or issues that can occur in the paw or footpad include: 

  • Burns (the result of heat or chemical reactions)
  • Frostbite
  • An allergic reaction
  • Infection

Paws may bleed minimally, moderately or severely.

Causes of Bleeding Paws in Dogs

Your dog’s foot pad or paw itself can bleed as a result of a laceration, puncture or abrasion. Bleeding can also occur as a result of a cracked or broken toenail. Conditions that your dog is exposed to can influence the state of his paws and how resistant they are to injury. For example, exposure to road salt, hot asphalt or sharp, rocky terrain can all compromise the health of the foot pad.

Diagnosis of Bleeding Paws in Dogs

First, you will want to see if you can determine the source of the blood. Should the bleeding be severe, you will want to try and temporarily slow or stop the bleeding and get your dog to the veterinarian right away. If there is minimal bleeding, you can stop the bleeding and clean your dog’s wound with a mixture of half hydrogen peroxide and half water. As injuries to your dog’s foot pads can be challenging to resolve, a visit to the veterinarian may be a good idea for even minor injuries. 

Your veterinarian will conduct an examination of your dog’s paw and if you observed the injury, ask you for information about what happened. You may also be asked about any other symptoms you observed as well as what you may have provided as far as first aid. During the examination, your veterinarian will look closely at your dog’s injured foot pad to determine the extent of any puncture or laceration, as well as to determine if there is anything lodged in it.

Treatment of Bleeding Paws in Dogs

Depending on the injury, you may have conducted some first aid at home before bringing your dog to the veterinarian. Should you notice bleeding in your dog’s paw or foot pad, after stopping the bleeding by applying pressure to his wound, you can clean the foot pad or place where the injury has occurred, looking for foreign objects like glass or metal. If it is something that you can remove with tweezers easily go ahead and do so. If the item is in the paw or foot pad deeply, it is best to leave it alone and have your veterinarian remove it. 

Once your veterinarian has looked closely at your dog’s paw, should there be something in his paw or foot pad that needs to be extracted, he may choose to sedate your dog prior to removing the item. Any flaps of skin that are present will also likely be removed and if there is damage that is more than superficial, dead tissue in the surrounding area may be removed to promote healthy tissue growth. The paw will be treated, possibly with acemannan-containing hydrogel, neomycin-bacitracin-polymyxin or silver sulfadiazine cream. The paw will be bandaged, and in some cases, a splint applied to minimize pressure on the foot pad. This is important because pressure can cause the wound to reopen and that would increase the chance of infection.

If the cause of your dog’s bloody paw is a broken or cracked nail, it may require that the blood vessels be cauterized in order for the bleeding to be stopped.

Recovery of Bleeding Paws in Dogs

The recovery from a bleeding paw or footpad will depend upon the injury. You will want to follow the recommendations of your veterinarian and attend follow up appointments as requested. 

It is a good idea to keep your eye on your dog’s paw. If you notice that his toes become swollen or you observe a foul smell or a discharge, you will want to contact your veterinarian as these can be signs of infection or a circulation problem. 

To best avoid injuries to your dog’s paw or footpad in the future, keep an eye on the areas where your dog walks and plays. Any pieces of glass, metal or other sharp objects should be removed, so that your dog does not accidentally step on them and injure himself.

Bleeding Paws Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Luna
Japanese Spitz
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding in-between her back paws

Hi! My dog has been bleeding since yesterday, the bleeding is coming from in-between her back paws, and she has a bad habit of scraping/biting her paws with her teeth to remove the dirt, but I don't know if this could be the reason why, or if this is just because of the heat. Although, I do live in a pretty arid climate, but she lives inside so it should be fine, right?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
There are many reasons for the paws to be bleeding which may be due to self induced trauma, other injuries (stepping on something etc…), tumours among other causes; if Luna like to bite at her paws you should place a cone on her, bathe the paws twice per day with dilute chlorhexidine and apply Neosporin. If there is no improvement or the paw(s) is bleeding badly you should visit a Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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sam
lebrador
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

paws are bleeding

my dog condition is mild and is his paws blood is coming it is coming in all legs.he can not walk properly.and their is wound between his paws.he always lick his paws.by his wound he also can not sleep at night

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
If Sam’s paws are bleeding, it may be due to a few different issues which may include excessive licking, pulling when walking on a lead, walking on rocks, walking on hot surfaces among other issues which may be primary or secondary causes. You should keep Sam rested indoors and stop him from licking the paws (a cone would be best), regular bathing of the paws with a dilute antiseptic and applying an antibiotic ointment to them would be best in the short term. If you see no improvement, you should visit your Veterinarian for a more in depth examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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German Shepherd
German Shepherd
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding paw

Hello, my German Shepherd injured his paw while playing fetch today. At first, there was a lot of blood! It was a Sunday and out vet is not open, so I rinsed his wound with water and applied gauze. After sitting with a compress, the bleeding slowed and nearly stopped. I do not see any debris in his pad and he is not limping. Throughout the afternoon, there was just some light bleeding so I tried to keep him still. In the evening he became more active and the blood began to pour out again! I have kept his foot bandaged, but I am worried about blood loss. I am checking his gums to make sure they stay pink, not white. I am trying to keep him still now, and my hunch is that it will heal on it's own. However, I do not want to be complacent if this is serious. I could find a 24/hour vet if I drive to a city nearby. What are your thoughts on this? Is there anything else I could do?

Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/condition/bleeding-paws

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
If you can keep light pressure on the wound and keep him quiet until you can get your dog in to see your veterinarian, he should be fine until then. If the bleeding is not stopping even with light pressure, then he should be seen at a 24 hour clinic as soon as possible. Be careful if you leave that bandage on that it is not too tight.

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Angel
Labrador
1 Year
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Blood from nails

My dog has blood coming out of his nails after I take her for a walk. I can also see that the nails are getting consumed very easily as the edge gets white (its as if I have filed her nails with a nail-file?

This happens only while walking on the street?

Can you please help?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without looking at Angel's nails, it is difficult for me to comment on what might be going on with them. It may be normal if she pulls or runs very actively on the pavement, but she may have an underlying problem with her nails and they are weaker than normal. It would be best to have her examined by your veterinarian, as they can look at her nails, determine if she has a problem or is just a very active dog, and give you advice on treatments, if needed.

Thanks so much for your prompt reply. Very much appreciated :)

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Axel
Boxer pitbull sharpei
1 Year
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

redness and bleeding
Redness
Bleeding

After a couple hours at the dog park we noticed that our dog was bleeding from his bottom pads of his paws. He started to lick the pads to clean the blood. Our dogs paws were not bleeding much, but very red and sensitive. It looks like a layer of his pads is scraped off and swollen. After a couple hours he is doing better and can walk,t but pulls away if we go near his paws. Is this something that will heal its self or should we take him into the vet?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Since those paws are always on the ground getting dirty, it would be best to see your veterinarian for possible antibiotics and pain medications. Typically, the pads will heal eventually, but sometimes need bandages or medications to help the process. I hope that Axel is okay.

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Belle
Golden Retriever
5 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding front paw pads

My dog's front pads bleed when I take her for walks or runs. How can I prevent that from happening while mainting her level of exercise? There's not a cut or anything stuck in the pad but just gets worn down and rubbed raw.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Some dogs rub their pads so much when walking on a lead when they are trying to get away (more common in smaller dogs) and it may occur when dogs slow down by stopping their feet from moving (especially on stony terrain on walking paths - think Fred Flintstone stopping his car). Try to exercise Belle on a nice grassy area for a few weeks (give her a week to recovery from this) to see if there is any difference in her foot pads. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Milo
English Bulldog
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Sore paws
Redness
Biting
Itching

The other day I noticed three small bumps on my English bulldog (3 yrs old), which I assume are bites. He is extremely itchy, red, and is continuously biting his paws. They are now so sore that he is struggling to walk on them. I have bathed him, and given him Benadryl. It has only been two days since he has broken out, but I am extremely worried. In the past he has had episodes like this as he is extremely sensitive to foods, I am just unsure whether he was allergic to whatever but him or it stems from something else. Do you have any recommendations on what I should do?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Bulldogs are prone to skin infections, allergies, and problems with their feet, specifically. Since this seems so painful for Milo, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can look at him and make any recommendations for treatment.

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Candy
Shih Tzu
9 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

No symp

Been noticing lately that the fur around my dogs paws are getting brown almost like the color of dirty blood , looked at her nails and pads but couldn't see where it would be coming from . Was wondering what could be causing this

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
A common cause for discoloration of the hair on dogs' feet is when they are licking them, as saliva will stain the hair a brownish red color. Candy may have a bacterial or fungal disease that is causing this, or she may have allergies. It would be best to make an appointment with a veterinarian and have her examined, as they can determine what the cause may be and help resolve it for her.

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Miranda
Walker
4 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

My dog is a walker hound and hunts on the weekends but we have kept her from running because her paws are bleeding. For no reason. We have wrapped them and put salve on them and nothing has helped. What other illnesses could cause something like that internally?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. There are many reasons that Miranda's paws may be bleeding, including trauma, a systemic disease, parasites, an immune condition, or a skin condition. It would be best to have her seen by your veterinarian to assess her paws, and her pads, and make sure that nothing more serious is going on that may need treatment.

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Ruffles
Saint Bernard
13 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Sores bleeding

Hello,
I have a 13 year old dog who has started developing sores on her legs. The sores bleed periodically and have spread from her back paws to the front paws in the past few days. I have been treating them with neosporin and wrapped them to stop the bleeding, but they don't heal. They also don't look infected. She has 6 sores in total on her back and front paws and one scabby looking one next to her anus.she does not lick them, but we think they might be hurting because she flinches if we touch her paws (which she does not do normally).
Thank you in advance for your help

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Without seeing Ruffles, I can't say what might be causing these sores that she is developing, but it may be a bacterial infection, a parasite, or cancer. It would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, as they can look at her, determine what might be going on, and recommend any treatment that might be needed to help her. I hope that she is okay.

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Sula
Mixed
1.5 years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Limping and slight bleeding

My dog has damaged a claw on her left foot. There is minimal blood, but she is clearly in pain as she is limping and won't let me look at it properly. What could it be?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Sula may have caught her nail on something which may have caused it to come apart from the nail bed, you really need to see it and you should have your Veterinarian take a look as it may need to be removed along with some antibiotics to prevent or treat any secondary infection. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Biggie
French Bulldog
2 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Nail
Bleeding

After returning from a walk today I noticed blood throughout the house. When I examined Biggie she had blood coming only from the nail it’s self. She is an avid leash puller and very hyper so I assumed it was from her dragging her back paws against the concrete. Just looking for advise on how to treat and prevent, this from happening. She’s not really suffering from any discomfort.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
If Biggie is still bleeding, she should be seen by a veterinarian to have that nail examined. She may have torn the nail, and it may need to be removed by a veterinarian. If the bleeding has stopped and she seems comfortable, you may be able to monitor it and make sure that everything looks normal, but if it does seem sensitive or the nail looks strange, she should be seen.

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Mila
Australian Shepherd
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

I believe my dog may have had frost bite on her paw pads over Christmas. The pads were raw, red and at times bloody. I thought they had since healed however today my dog was running in a tennis court and when she came home all four paws were bleed. There is no obvious raw parts and the blood seems to be coming from in between the big paw pad and the smaller ones on all four paws. Any suggestions as to what might be causing this? Could is still be from the frost bite?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. It could be ongoing damage from frostbite, yes. It could also be a bacterial infection, a parasite, or an immune condition. It would be best to have her examined by your veterinarian, as they can see her feet, examine the pads, and determine what might be going on with her, and what the best course of treatment might be. I hope that everything goes well for her.

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Roman
Pit bull
4 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

Hi,
My pit just got back from a walk, and he's bleeding in the spot between the "dewclaw" and its pad. Both dewclaws seem rough, but not cracked, and at a reasonable length. My mother put calcium algenate on the bleeding part, and wrapped it up. We don't think the claw is broken, but we're not sure what happened.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without seeing Roman, I" not sure what happened or how extensive the damage is. If he continues bleeding, the area looks infected, or he isn't putting weight on it, he should be seen by a veterinarian to be examined and determine what might be going on and how best to treat it. Make sure his bandage isn't too tight or his foot will loose circulation - it would probably be best to leave the wrap off, just in case. I hope that all goes well with him.

Hello, I walked my daughters dog to the park 1 mile their and 1 mile back. Didn't notice that the dogs paws were bleeding until we got home cause my floors are white. Does this toughen up the paws or is it bad for her?

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Seven
Pit bull
4 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Hello I have a pit bull his paws bleed the vet told me it was due to the summer and hot grounds I did the course of antibiotics but I feel like it hasn't resolved can I put neosporin on it and wrap it or should I try shoes I feel as though if he doesn't have direct contact with the ground it will heal please help my fur baby

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Putting Neosporin on the paws will do no harm, but use dog boots as I always get nervous when owners try to bandage paws/limbs/anything themselves because I’ve seen too many complications. Paws may also bleed due to wear, if Seven pulls on the lead during walks or runs around on tarmac or concrete stopping suddenly, this may also explain bleeding paws. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Pablo
Chiweenie
9 Weeks
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

When I came home today from work i saw my puppy was covered in runny dark brown stool with tan pieces of liquid in it . After giving him a bath I noticed that his paws were bleeding and raw at the bottom. He is experiencing a lot of discomfort and can barely walk. Please help

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
There are various causes of bleeding paws which may include infections, excessive licking or biting, walking on hot surfaces, walking and running on uneven terrain among other causes; the diarrhoea may also be caused by various causes. You should keep the paws clean with a dilute antiseptic and place a cone on Pablo to stop him licking; you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination to determine the overall underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Our new rescue dog has a bit of rubbing and abrasion between two toes that has started bleeding in the snow. He doesn't lick them much at all, but I know it hurts because I've seen him favoring that paw. We aren't sure why. We figured out he was allergic to chicken a couple days ago, could it be a reaction to that?

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Achilles
German Shepherd
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

Took my dog on a run yesterday and now his paw pads are raw and bleeding. It was about 8 miles on asphalt and gravel, with some trail running (dirt) mixed in. We cleaned them out and put ointment on them and he seemed ok, but he is still limping and raw the next day. He has been trying to lick his pads, which we have stopped him from doing when possible.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
It is possible that Achilles has just worn away his paw pads, especially given the type of terrain you may have been running on and if he was pulling on a lead. Keep the paw pads clean and apply an ointment, it may be best to put a cone on him just to stop him from licking his paws. Check for improvement daily but if there is no improvement you should visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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