Jump to section

What are Inflammation of the Paws?

Pododermatitis, or the inflammation of the paw and pad, can become painful and debilitating if it is left untreated. The diseases and disorders that can instigate this kind of swelling are many and the treatment plans may vary depending on what the cause of the discomfort is diagnosed as.

Mild cases may have fewer symptoms, although excessive grooming and licking of the paws are relatively standard regardless of the cause of the disorder, however more severe cases may escalate to bleeding, sloughing of paw pads, and reluctance to stand or walk. Swollen feet should be evaluated by a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause.

Inflammation of the paws, also known as pododermatitis, can be quite irritating and often painful to the canine. As pododermatitis has multiple triggers, treatment is usually focussed on the underlying cause of the swollen feet.

CBD Oil Relief for Dogs

Cannanine.com

Buy now
advertisement image

Symptoms of Inflammation of the Paws in Dogs

Dogs of any age, sex, or breed may develop pododermatitis. The dog’s feet are likely to be tender to the touch, and they may be reluctant to stand or walk. Other signs of swollen paws include:

  • Biting nails
  • Bleeding from paws
  • Cracking of the paw pad
  • Excessive foot licking
  • Foul odor
  • Lameness
  • Lumps on foot
  • Redness
  • Sloughing paw pads
  • Warmth from feet

Types

Although dogs of any breed or gender can develop inflamed paws for a number of reasons, some breeds of dog may be more likely to develop diseases or disorders that lead to inflamed paws. Some examples of paw disorders that result in swelling and are breed specific include:

Familial Footpad Hyperkeratosis

  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Golden Retriever
  • Irish Terrier
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Labrador Retriever

Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma of the Feet

  • Boxer
  • Collie
  • Dachshund
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • English Bulldog
  • Golden Retriever
  • Great Dane
  • Weimaraner

Zinc-Responsive Skin Disorder

  • Siberian Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Inflammation of the Paws in Dogs

Several different circumstances can lead to paws becoming swollen. Some of these may well include:

  • Allergies - Allergies of all sorts, environmental, contact, and food allergies, tend to show up on the skin for most canines, and one of the first areas they can affect are the paws

  • Bacterial and Fungal Infections - This type of disorder often presents with feet that are swollen, itchy, and often smelly
  • Environmental - Dogs may also get swollen feet by burning them on hot pavement, injuring them with caustic materials, or by stings or bites by insects

  • Immune-Mediated Disorders - Autoimmune disorders such as Pemphigus Foliaceous regularly induce painful hyperkeratosis of the pad of the paw
  • Tumors - In some cases, the swelling may be due to a tumor or tumors that have grown on the patient’s paw or paws

arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Inflammation of the Paws in Dogs

As many conditions can affect the state of the paws, there are many techniques and tests that may be utilized to determine the origin of the pain and swelling. Your veterinarian will typically start a thorough physical examination with a focus on the condition of the paws. Hairs from the edge of the area of the hair loss may be examined microscopically to determine if there is any thinning or weakness in the structure of the hair itself. 

The examining vet will also typically examine a skin sample taken from the affected paw or paws under the microscope, a technique known as cutaneous cytology. Cutaneous cytology may allow the technician get visual confirmation of fungal, parasitic, or bacterial infestation that may be present on the surface of the skin. Standard diagnostic tests such as a biochemical profile, urinalysis, and a complete blood count will be evaluated to assess the hormonal balance and to check for infections or indications that the immune system was being overactive.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Inflammation of the Paws in Dogs

Treatment of pododermatitis will be dependent on treating any underlying disease or disorder that is responsible for the pain and discomfort. If the cause is related to any sort of substance, such as ice melt or cleaning solution, the feet should be thoroughly washed and cleaned and medications such as antibiotics or antifungals may be employed to defeat bacterial or fungal infections. Corticosteroids or anti-inflammatories may also be administered either orally or by injection to reduce swelling and inflammation or medications to adjust for imbalances in the patient’s blood chemistry levels. Dogs with tumors or pustules on the feet may even require surgery to remove the growths before the pain and swelling will be eliminated. 

Many of these methods of treatment take days or weeks before the underlying illness is eradicated and the animal may be reluctant to stand or walk, and excessive discomfort in the feet may be further treated with topical anti-inflammatory and corticosteroid drugs. It is crucial to follow a veterinary professional’s instructions on all medications that are administered in order to be certain that the different specific drugs that are provided do not interfere with one another, and that no overdoses occur due to treatment with various forms of similar medications.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Inflammation of the Paws in Dogs

The prognosis for dogs who are exhibiting painful or swollen paws will depend on the ability to treat the underlying disorder. Some disorders may be managed in a relatively short amount of time and without a great deal of trouble, but others complaints may be more stubborn and take weeks or months to be fully eliminated. 

Additional support measures may need to be utilized until the paw pad is healed as compromised paws can be particularly susceptible to environmental hazards. In order to properly care for the damaged paws, they should be cleaned, inspected, and moisturized regularly, and socks or shoes designed to protect a dog’s paws may be recommended to protect the healing tissues.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Inflammation of the Paws Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Miniature Schnauzer

dog-age-icon

Eight Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Foot Pad

One of his rear foot pads seems maybe a bit swollen as it feels tougher than his other one. He does not yelp or try to bite when I touch it and does not obsessively lick the area. When he is standing he does hold the foot in the air but he will walk around normally. Could this kind of thing be due to an insect bite of sorts? Can I ice it to help reduce the assumed swelling?

Sept. 7, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. What you're describing could be caused by an insect bite, possibly. It is difficult to say without seeing him, but you can try putting ice on the area, you can also try soaking me foot in an Epsom salt bath for 10 minutes twice a day. Make sure that he does not drink the Epsom salt water, but that may help to draw out a knee inflammation. If it is not improving over the next day or two, then it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian. They would be able to look at the foot and see what is causing the problem. I hope that everything goes well for him and he feels better soon.

Sept. 7, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Pit Bull, Lab

dog-age-icon

Seven Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Back Paw And Ankle Swollen

Her back paw and ankle are swollen. Allows me to touch/massage area but will not bare weight on it.

Aug. 28, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If she will not put weight on the leg, it is probably painful. If it is swollen and painful, it needs to be seen by a veterinarian. She could have a sprain, a strain, or a break. It would be best to have her seen as soon as possible, as they can evaluate her, see what might be going on, and recommend any treatment for her. I hope that all goes well.

Aug. 29, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Pit and hound

dog-age-icon

2.5 years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Paw

Hello I woke up and noticed that one of my dogs paw was very swollen. She normally does paw every morning to help put on harness and that’s when I felt that one was slightly heavier than the other. What should I do?

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If she is not putting weight on the Paw or it is not getting better, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. She may have a strain or sprain, or an infection, and she may need medication so that she is comfortable and the swelling improves. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 6, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Pit bill/ Boxer mix

dog-age-icon

Ten Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Inflamed Paws/ Blisters ( Bleeding)

He was diagnosed with a paw disorder that apparently the hair is breaking off below the skin. Causing inflammation and bleeding . He cannot take Aporquel because it seems to cause flair ups. I am tired of seeing my otherwise active dog in pain.

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Gina U. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello Thank you for the pictures. I'm sorry your pup is going through this. If you think he is painful, talk to your veterinarian about starting pain medication or an anti-inflammatory. Hope he gets to feeling better soon.

Aug. 5, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Mix - German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

Twelve Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Limp Swelling

Woke up and found my dogs right front paw outer toe swollen and he is favoring it. I can't find anything wrong with it. No insect mark, no bleeding, no scabs, no puss, no redness, nail seems to be fine (looks exactly like all the others). Hid behavior hasn't changed other than he is limping when he walks. Is this something I need to see my vet for? Or would something OTC like benedryl help me. It does bother him if I squeeze his toe/put pressure on it, but he is not aggressive. Just whines a bit and trust to take his paw from me. His skin is dark.

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Jessica N. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello- I do think based on the swelling that this warrants a visit to your veterinarian. They can examine the foot and toe and may want to take an x-ray to make sure there is no bony involvement, and it is just soft tissue swelling. Dogs can get growths associated with the bone of the toes. If all looks normal they can provide him with a safe anti-inflammatory for you to give him to help with his pain. I hope he feels better soon.

Aug. 4, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Ariel

dog-breed-icon

Mini Australian Shepterrier

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling
Pain
Limping

I took my dog running on a hot day. Some of it was on pavement. The next day she was limping. I thought she had a blister. The next day she was limping more so I took her to the vet to see if it was something other than a blister. The vet took x-rays and did a thorough exam but could not see anything. They prescribed pain medication. Two days later one of the toe pads was swollen to about three times the size it should be. Again, I took her to the vet. Still, no idea what is wrong. They prescribed an antibiotic and pain medication. Something is wrong and no one seems to know what it is! She just keeps getting worse.

dog-name-icon

Xena

dog-breed-icon

Labradoodle

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Feet, Rash, Licking,

My 1 1/2 year old labradoodle has suffered since we got her at 4months old with a rash on her feet, back worse than front...I am able to treat locally and clear up most of the time but recently the rash covered her spine and stomach. Vet said staff and put her on 3 weeks of antibiotics. We finished those and the next day her feet started again.. I’m at a loss

dog-name-icon

Cookie

dog-breed-icon

Mixed large breed not sure exactly

dog-age-icon

16 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Swollen Paws
Chapped Lips

My dog has inflammation between her toes one of her front paws and one back paw look worse and redness that almost seem as if it's bleeding, she seems tired and is keeping off them !

dog-name-icon

Piper

dog-breed-icon

Australian Shepherd (Standard, Toy or Miniature)

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Pad
Swollen Pad Limping

My 12.5 year old mini aussie shepherd, Piper, has a severely swollen pad with lameness. We are pretty certain of what is causing the issue, just not how to fix it. She lost a toe in an accident about 6 years ago. The toe was partially torn off. The vet cleaned it up and closed the wound, and after a time it healed and she seemed ok. She has always had lots of problems with her legs, as she had 3 luxating patella surgeries as a puppy, causing arthritis. So, when she began limping on her front leg, we thought it was the same type of thing. The limping only began recently, 6 years after the toe amputation. She now licks it constantly until it is swollen and has sores. It had gotten so bad that we took her to an emergency vet a few weekends ago because she wouldn't walk on it at all. Our regular vet has looked at it several times, but no one can give us any answers. The emergency vet biopsied the area, which then got infected, and she ended up in the vet hospital for 3 nights, as she was becoming septic. It has been a nightmare. She had to have a bandage for several weeks, with multiple bandage changes, heavy antibiotics, carrying her up and down the stairs, etc. Now, the biopsied area has healed (she is cancer free, no other infections), the bandage is off, and she is back to licking it. I know a cone would stop that, but that still doesn't solve the problem of why she is licking it, and she can't live in a cone forever. One of the vets at the emergency place thinks that she is in pain from a little piece of the toe bone that was not removed. We decided not to remove that now because she is an old dog and has endured so many surgeries. She is a super smart, loving dog, and I feel so bad for her. We just don't know where else to turn. The only options given to us were surgery (again, like her 7th)or an orthotic maybe to pull the other toes in and take pressure off the pad. We ordered an orthotic but couldn't get a good fit via an online company. I have researched animal orthotics, but none are in my area. And she refused to walk with it on. Any advice or ideas or out of the box thinking would be greatly appreciated. We have probably spent close to $10,000 on medical care for her during her lifetime, but will do what it takes to fix her.

dog-name-icon

Rocky

dog-breed-icon

Pit bull

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

Last August (2017) my dog got an abscess in between his toes and was on prednisone. It went away until this August, same thing. They put him on prednisone and it has been on going. He got another abscess and then it turned into nothing but a disaster. He has no hair on the outsides of his toes and has been bleeding from his feet for months. I get it to stop by soaking his feet in Epsom Salt and peroxide but it starts all over again. I have salves, sulfodene, socks, medimitts, anything to help him and I am at a loss still. We have had a shot that is supposed to last 6-8 weeks, but it did not help. We are on our way back to the very because I cannot have him living this way.

CBD Oil Relief for Dogs

Cannanine.com

Buy now
advertisement image
How can we help your pet?