Aid! Sore Dog Paws Between Toes and Raw Paw Pads



Sore paws between paws or even really rough and raw paw pads can not only be a nuisance but can also turn into serious infections.


If a wound, injury, infection, or underlying cause is left untreated, your dog’s paw pad problem could get worse rather quickly.


However, you don’t have to panic right away, often it’s just the rough paws of a city puppy or a cut from a thorn in the forest.

Of course, the best way to rule out serious problems is to see your vet and have the paw pad checked.

This article gives you a quick overview of possible causes, at-home solutions, and what you can do in the meantime to help your furry friend.

sore dog paws between toes

Sore dog paws between the toes are most often caused by fungal or bacterial infections, ingrown hairs or toenails, foreign objects, injuries, skin allergies, or cysts.

Some causes could be related to each other, such as ingrown hairs or a deep cut leading to a bacterial infection.

I will go into more detail below about how these infections are treated or what you can do at home.

But for now, let’s focus on the various causes.

Close up of a dog's paws.
Photo by Reddogs from Shutterstock

Keep in mind that you can only choose the right treatment if you know the underlying cause.

First, check your dog’s paws for any external problems, such as a foreign object or injury.

While a visit to the vet is helpful no matter what’s causing your dog’s paw pain between the toes, it may be more urgent if it’s a painful, pus-filled abscess versus mild redness from a sore spot. Strange object.

By the way: some breeds are more prone to problems between the fingers.

Prone breeds include those with short, coarse hair, such as English Bulldogs, or dogs on leashes that can be easily injured, such as Labrador Retrievers.

Red dog paws between the fingers Home remedies

Home remedies for dog paws that are red between the legs can include antiseptic wipes or sprays, as well as soothing paw balms or butter.

Alternatively, you can also use chamomile, apple cider vinegar, or coconut oil, but you should not count on these as your primary treatment.

In the meantime, clean your dog’s paws properly.

This will also help prevent foot problems in the future.

That being said, if your dog has a pimple-like (abscess or cyst) thing, you should see your vet as soon as possible.

While these home remedies are benign most of the time, it’s not ideal to smear something on your dog’s paw without knowing the exact cause.

If you see your vet and can rule out any serious problems, you can try discussing home remedies and what you can do to relieve your dog’s swollen or itchy paw.

To treat a small wound after a cut or after having removed a foreign object, these home solutions can really help to eliminate the redness between your dog’s paws.

Treatment of pain between the dog’s toes

A vet will determine if the paw pain is caused by bacteria, parasites or fungi and will prescribe the appropriate treatment, which in many cases is antibiotics.

Never try to play doctor by giving your dog leftover prescription drugs or anything else and consult your vet if you are unsure of the cause.

Since there are so many possible problems, it’s hard to pin down exactly what your vet will do.

Dogs whose red feet are caused by allergies can often receive help with proper diet and/or supplementation along with conventional allergy management.

However, if the cause is a cyst or cancer, your vet will prescribe a totally different treatment and the red leg could just be one symptom of many.

Raw Dog Paw Pads

Raw dog pads should be treated and given time to heal because they can further harden and eventually crack or split, which can be painful and an open invitation to bacteria.

Trust me, I have experienced this with my Rottweiler (I just bandaged his front legs, more on that below).

My Rottweiler Amalia with both front legs bandaged to prevent further bleeding or infection when walking outdoors.
Photo by Pawleaks

While some dogs have fairly soft paw pads, I was quite surprised at how rough my Rottie’s paw pads can get over time.

The terrain your dog walks on and how you care for its paw pads will determine whether your dog’s paws are rough or soft.

Don’t get me wrong, dog paws aren’t exactly heavenly, but they can get to an acceptable level where they’re not only healthier and less prone to injury, but better for you, too.

You don’t want your 100-pound dog slapping you across the face with a paw that appears to peel your skin off. Or maybe it’s just me.

Where does my dog ​​walk?

Well, during the day he walks almost exclusively on softer dirt terrain than found in woods or grassy fields.

However, in the afternoon we take a walk through the neighborhood on asphalt.

As you can imagine, classic sidewalks, asphalt, and all that jazz will toughen up your dog’s paw pads much more than softer ground.

So one thing is for sure, dog owners in the city will find it more difficult to care for their dog’s paws (although it’s easier on the nails, since they naturally clip into asphalt) compared to people in the field.

However, where your dog walks is not the only contributing factor to your dog’s paw pads.

It’s also how far your pup runs and how far you usually walk on what terrain.

I have found that my dog ​​is more prone to injuring his paws if I let him run around on the asphalt as he often chases a ball only to quickly turn around as he was passing the toy and this is incredibly stressful on his paw pads.

Fur Hanging Dog Paw Pad

Hanging skin on your dog’s paw pads may seem scary, but it usually heals well. You still need to take proper care of the paws and check for any visible injuries or infections and if there are none you can bandage the paw pad.

This has happened to my pup and while you might be tempted to pull on him like a loose thread, don’t.

There is a chance that it will only get worse if the skin peels off too soon, in which case the bacteria could cause an infection.

The dog raises the left paw on a rocky surface, which can increase the likelihood of rough paw pads.
Photo by Enna8982 from Shutterstock

If the paw pad has a lot of hanging skin and you fear it’s already deep enough, see your vet.

Watch for signs that your dog is in pain, including but not limited to:

  • Avoid putting the paw down.
  • limping
  • Excessive licking of paw pads.
  • panting or moaning

When this happened to my dog, a vet was not available and it was not an emergency.

My dog’s behavior wasn’t all that bad and he didn’t show any of these signs so I decided to wrap his front legs as seen above. It was a last minute solution because I needed to get out.

Is that the best solution?

Probably not, but until I was able to go to the vet the next day, it was the best I could think of at the time.

Sometimes your dog’s paws have become rough over time during walks and the paw pad has finally started to flake off.

If it is bleeding, causing pain or any other serious symptoms, do not hesitate to go to the emergency vet.

Better safe than sorry.

External factors such as slipping on the asphalt, thorns stuck in the forest paw or other foreign objects or injuries can also cause loose skin on the paw pad.

Dog Paw Pad Injury Healing Time

A minor injury to your dog’s paw pads usually heals in about a week, while severe infections or patches where the skin has sloughed off can take 2-4 weeks or longer to fully heal.

You can speed healing by using dog paw balm regularly and avoiding rough surfaces.

My dog’s paws were quite cracked and it took about 1-2 weeks for visible improvement and 4 weeks for them to get back to great shape.

The worse your dog’s injury, the longer it will take to heal.

Similarly, in the event that your dog has received antibiotics or if there is a secondary infection, healing can take several months.

Healthy vs Unhealthy Dog Paws

A diseased dog paw can manifest as extreme roughness, flaking pads, bleeding, or any type of infection between the paws with red or swollen patches.

Even if dog owners don’t check their dog’s paws regularly, some dogs will show their own signs (don’t trust that though).

Signs that your dog is experiencing paw problems include a reluctance to leave the paw or be touched, limping, whining, and general lethargic behavior if it is from infection and/or pain.

Check your dog’s paws after each walk when you clean them, as this will prevent future problems.

You can quickly remove anything stuck in there that could also lead to infections and keeping them clean will further reduce that risk.

How can I know if my dog’s paws are healthy?

Your dog’s paws are healthy if you can’t detect any redness, bleeding, or swelling.

A healthy paw pad is moderately soft and if properly cleaned and cared for, your dog’s paws are likely to be healthy.

A healthy paw pad is black (or sometimes pink with spots) and shows no signs of tearing or swelling as noted above.

If your dog’s paw is a little rough or on the mend, you may be able to use the home remedies mentioned here (paw balm/butter, chamomile, coconut oil, antiseptic wipes, etc.).

Are dog paws supposed to be rough? How can I smooth them out?

Yes, dog paws are different with each breed and are highly dependent on the surfaces they walk on and the care they receive, but the paws should not be too rough or uneven.

You can soften your dog’s paws by introducing a proper grooming routine, using a natural paw balm or butter, and wearing dog boots on uneven ground.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for veterinary care and is not intended to be. I am not a veterinarian or a pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any signs of illness, call your vet.



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