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Swollen Paws in Dogs


Swollen paws are a common problem for dogs. Although the condition is not usually dangerous, depending on the cause of the problem, it can be very uncomfortable and even highly painful as paws are very sensitive.


What To Watch For


Any sign of limping, favoring a leg, or hobbling must be investigated. Attention to the top and underside of the paws for swelling and pain is fundamental to an assessment of any kind of lameness.


Primary Cause


Swollen paws are often caused by a foreign object getting trapped between the pads/toes of the dog’s foot. Insect or spider bites, puncture wounds, broken toes, fractured claws, and constant licking/chewing (as with allergies or other source of chronic irritation) are other common causes. Pad burns from running on hot asphalt are also common during the summertime.


Immediate Care


  1. Check the paw for objects caught between the pads/toes.
  2. Check for insect stings or puncture wounds (though often hard to pinpoint).
  3. If possible, remove trapped object with tweezers and wash the paw with warm, soapy water.
  4. If you can’t see anything trapped in the paw, check the dog’s leg to ensure no constricting material is present (which can easily cause swelling).
  5. Soaking the paw in an Epsom salt solution is often of benefit, regardless of the cause. Ten minutes in comfortably hot water (in a tub or basin) with Epsom salts dissolved within is typically an excellent short-term solution for swelling.
  6. If you can see an obvious lesion, the swelling does not quickly disappear, or the dog continues to favor the paw, call your vet for further advice. Veterinary attention in these cases is almost always in order.




Check your dog’s paws and pads for burns when you get home after exercising –– especially after running over, overgrown ground, jagged terrain, or hot asphalt. This is often a problem in the summer.


Comments  3

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  • Hi please can you help me
    06/27/2016 12:45pm

    My female staffy has some kind of flappy skin hanging off one of her back paws it's black and kinda resembles a grape not as big as a grape but big enough to notice .its soft to touch any ideas what it could be please as getting worried . KEZ

  • 08/26/2016 07:06am

    It sounds like she may have pretty severely torn the pad on her paw. Keep it clean and dry, and make sure she doesn't lick or chew the area. It should heal up on its own, but it will take some time. Also, it's probably quite sensitive, so try to avoid touching it unless you're cleaning it. It may also be difficult for her to put full pressure on it for a little while, so be mindful of those things. If you don't see any progress in a few days to a week, go to your vet. Always better to be safe than sorry. Hope this helps. : )


    **I noticed this comment was from June... Did you figure out what it was and is she doing better?**

  • purulent legs
    07/21/2016 08:44am

    my right leg's cat is purulent and should i send him to vet? He is a senior cat