Dog Paw Infection - Common Paw Problems + How to Treat Them
If you have a dog, you know that they’re super adorable, cuddly, and fun to have as a pet. But there are also some drawbacks, like the fact that they shed a lot and they tend to get minor nagging foot odor problems. You can read more about the common paw problems that dogs can get below.
What is Pododermatitis?
Pododermatitis is a term used for any inflammation of the foot pads in dogs. This inflammation can result from a variety of causes. These causes include allergies, poor paw pad hygiene, bacterial/fungal infections, cuts and abrasions, and even certain medical conditions.
Symptoms & Causes of Paw Infections & Irritation
If your dog has a foul odor coming from its paws or your dog’s feet are excessively red, swollen, and warm, they might have an infected paw or irritation.
Allergic reactions are quite common in dogs, with approximately 10-20% of all dogs showing some level of allergy. Most dogs with this kind of allergy are allergic to multiple things, such as pollen, dust, food allergies, or other things that can make them itch. Dogs can also have seasonal allergies, just like humans.
The most common areas where allergies occur in dogs are the ears, face, and paws. The most common cause of allergic reactions in dogs is an allergic reaction to fleas or mites. If you notice an odor coming from your dog’s paws, or if the affected foot seems extra warm and sweaty, it might be because your dog has had an allergic reaction.
Fungal and Bacterial Infections
Fungal and bacterial infections are more common in dogs compared to humans. One of the main reasons for this is that dogs tend to walk barefoot more often than humans.
The main symptoms of bacterial and fungal infections are a bad odor, excessive redness of the foot pads, excessive sweating, and a high-pitched whining noise while they lick or chew on their feet. If you have a dog exhibiting these symptoms, they might have a fungal or bacterial infection.
If your dog has nails that are too long and are curling under, too sharp or are broken, they might have a nail issue. Or, if you notice that your dog’s nails have a yellowish-brown color, it might be a nail issue. Ensure that your dog doesn't have an injured nail, torn nail, nail folds, or ingrown nails, and that your dog's nails are being appropriately trimmed to prevent an infected paw.
Burns and Blisters
If you notice a burn or blister on your dog's feet, it is likely due to a cut or abrasion, which can cause an infected paw.
Dry and Cracked Paw Pads
If your dog’s paw pads are dry and cracked, it is likely due to an infection or poor paw pad hygiene.
Cuts and Abrasions
If you notice a cut or abrasion on your pet's paw pads, it is likely due to a nail issue. This may cause excessive licking and require an antibiotic treatment plan.
If your dog has a large amount of red or brown stool, or if you notice that your dog has a bad odor coming from their feet, it may be because they have a parasite. Vet clinics can help provide the proper treatment.
Cysts and Growths
If you notice that your dog has a large bump or growth on its foot, it is likely due to a cyst or a wart, which can lead to an infected paw.
Dog Paw Care
How is pododermatitis treated?
Depending on the severity of the condition, your veterinarian may prescribe an oral medication to treat the condition. If the condition is severe and not responding to medication, your veterinarian may recommend sedation to help clean the infected paw to promote healing.
At the Vet
If your dog has pododermatitis, you should take them to see your veterinarian as soon as possible to get the infection diagnosed and treated. Your veterinarian will likely perform a thorough physical examination on your dog to assess the health of the affected paw and rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be affecting the paw.
There are a few things that you can try on your own to reduce your dog’s risk of developing pododermatitis. Stay on top of the nail trimming and nail clipping schedule that your veterinarian has recommended for your dog. This will help keep the nails short and help prevent injuries if your dog is getting into anything that can trap their nails.
How to Prevent an Infected Paw
Your dog's paw has been injured and is now unable to support the weight of your dog's body. This causes your dog's body to put more pressure on the paw, which may cause an infection. It may also cause a paw to be more susceptible to injuries that could lead to further infections. Booties are a great way to protect the injured paw while walking your dog. The paw is cushioned and protected while you are walking or running.
Walkee Paws are an even better solution to this and can significantly help prevent dog paw infection. Unlike regular dog booties, these dog leggings stay on easily as they connect over the back. They are also much more comfortable, as they don't need to be tight around the ankle to stay on. On top of this, the 4-way stretch fabric moves with your dog and helps protect their legs as well.
Keeping your dog’s paws clean and free from debris and dirt will help prevent infections and promote the healing of any injury. This can include a daily paw wash with a gentle shampoo or using paw wipes to remove any dirt or bacteria in your dog's toes that could lead to an infection. If your dog does get an infection in its paw, it is vital to keep the affected foot clean and dry. Although it may be unpleasant, you can use a desensitizing spray to help your dog get over the initial discomfort of getting their foot wet.
Nails are a helpful tool for gripping and climbing, but they have the potential to cause damage and pain if they are not kept short and trimmed. Trimming nails regularly will help prevent your dog from getting injured while climbing, jumping, or getting into something they should not be.
Even healthy paws need checking from time to time. If you notice any changes in your dog’s health or paws, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian. This will help them catch any health problems early and treat them before they become severe.
Having a dog is truly a fantastic experience, and they make wonderful companions. But, as with any pet, some unavoidable responsibilities come with having a dog. Dogs can get itchy, irritated, and dry paws from skin infections to allergic reactions and dog paw problems.
If you notice that your dog’s paws are dry, sensitive, or being chewed on, you should visit the vet. If you notice any sort of funky odor, this should be cause for concern as well and a sign to take your pup in for a visit. You can prevent some paw infections by providing proper foot care, taking good care of your dog’s paws, and giving them a daily paw bath.