White dog paws against a bright yellow background.

Your pet’s paws are their gateway to the world. Not only do paws take them where they want to go, they act as shock absorbers for the feet and leg bones as well as providing insulation and traction for the feet. As important as they are, it’s easy to overlook your pet’s paws when it comes to your daily pet care regimen.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common paw problems in pets, and how you can best care for this critical (and super cute) body part!

Signs of Paw Problems in Pets

Your pet may be experiencing a paw problem if you notice any of the following:

  • Obsessive licking or chewing of one or more paws
  • Limping or lameness
  • Cuts, lesions, or discharge
  • Cracked or torn nails
  • Bleeding
  • Refusal to put weight on one foot
  • Dry, cracked pads or loose flaps of skin on one or more pads
  • Foul smell coming from paw
  • Hair loss around toes 

Paw problems can cause extreme discomfort for your pet, or even be dangerous. Please contact the team at True Care Veterinary Hospital right away if you notice any of the above symptoms in your pet.

Common Paw Problems in Pets

Allergies Allergies are the most common reason for paw problems in dogs. Unlike in humans, allergies in pets tend to manifest as skin disturbances, especially around the paws. Obsessive licking and chewing are common, along with damage to the paw pads.

Infections – Fungus and bacteria naturally present on and around your pet’s paws can grow out of control for a variety of reasons. You may notice licking and chewing, swelling, drainage, and odor.

Nail issues – Nails that are too long, ingrown, or torn can lead to pain and trouble walking. Keep your pet’s nails trimmed to avoid issues.

Declawing issues – Declawing cats can cause serious problems for them. Pain, anxiety, and behavior problems may result from the declawing procedure. Nail caps are a wonderful alternative to declawing, along with making sure kitty has plenty of safe scratching surfaces around the house–check with your veterinarian for more details!

Injuries – Cuts, abrasions, blisters, and dry or cracked pads can happen for a variety of reasons and result in plenty of problems for your pet. Keep their paws happy by making sure they aren’t walking on hot surfaces in the summer (opt for early morning or evening walks or stick grassy areas) and that you are wiping their paws each time they come indoors in the winter to remove road salts, chemical deicers, and other debris. Check the paw pads regularly to stay on top of any potential issues.

Parasites – Ticks love to hide in warm, dark places such as in between your pet’s toes. Left unattended, ticks can cause plenty of problems, such as pain and infection. Check your pet’s feet after they’ve been outdoors and promptly remove any ticks with a tweezer, making sure to grasp it by the head and pull the entire body out. Mite infestations can also cause hair loss, swelling, and scaling, and will need to be addressed by your veterinarian.

As always, your team at True Care Veterinary Hospital is available to address your questions and concerns when it comes to your pet. Please don’t hesitate to contact us!