Issues with your dog’s paw(s) can occur for a number of reasons. Dogs can suffer wounds, issues with their nails, or be chewing on their feet and cause trauma themselves.
Continue reading for eight of the most common dog paw problems, what these problems look like, and what you can do.
The 8 Common Dog Paw Problems
1. Chewing the Paws
Dogs chewing, licking, or “grooming” their paws are one of the most common complaints veterinarians hear. Many owners believe that their dog is licking and/or chewing their paws due to anxiety, or that they are just grooming themselves like a cat. However, most of the time, dogs are chewing and licking their paws because they’re itchy!
Itchy paws and lower legs are one of the common things we see with environmental allergies. Think about it—your dog is touching all of that pollen, grass, different weeds, and dust with their feet all day long. The allergens in the environment that cause us humans to have a stuffy nose, cause your dog’s feet to itch like crazy.
2. Yeast & Bacterial Infections
If your dog is suffering from allergies and chewing their paws, as discussed above, they are at risk for getting infections on their paws. Paw infections occur most commonly from self-trauma, from your dog licking and chewing their feet. However, some dogs, such as bulldog breeds, may suffer from paw infections from having excessive skin folds and other underlying skin issues.
3. Broken Nails
You know the drill—your dog is running like a banshee in the backyard and they acutely scream and pick up a paw, for you to find one of your dog’s toenails is now dangling. We commonly see broken nails in dogs who are hyperactive and constantly scratching at kennels, doors, floors, and digging in the dirt as well.
4. Overgrown Nails
Older dogs who are fairly sedentary, and/or who don’t like their feet touched, may be prone to suffering overgrown nails. Keep in mind that nails will continue to grow throughout a dog’s lifetime. No matter how old they are, their nails need to be regularly monitored and trimmed.
Paws can be susceptible to many different types of wounds, especially if your dog regularly walks or hikes in nature. Their paws may get cuts, scrapes, burs stuck in them, burns, and irritation. Always be mindful of the environment you are walking your dog in.
6. Toe Injury
Similar to paw wounds, we can see dogs start to limp suddenly if they have hurt one or multiple toes. This is fairly common with dogs who may have jumped off of a height, or who were playing or running and ran into something.
Lumps, bumps, and masses are common on the feet of your dog. These can be as small as a pinhead, or as large as a lemon.
8. Matted Hair
Long haired dogs can be especially susceptible to matted hair anywhere on their body. Unfortunately, many owners may overlook their feet as an area for hair issues.
Dog paw problems are very common. Issues can range from matted hair, to nail problems, to wounds and itching. Each problem can be completely different from one another. With any type of paw problem, the best thing you can do is immediately stop your dog’s activity, make them rest, and look at their feet. Often, a trip to the veterinarian is your best bet, as they will have the medications and tools to treat the problem the best.
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Featured Image Credit: Ivan Babydov, Pexels