Dog Paw Pad Peeling: Causes, Treatment & Healing Time

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Dog paw pad peeling could be scary at the first sight but it falls under common dog paw problems and their symptoms. What are the causes, appropriate treatment, prevention, and average healing time?

Dog paw pad peeling illustration

My dog’s paw pads are peeling. Why?

It is normal, that dog’s paw pad skin peels and gets replaced by new skin. However, if your dog starts limping or excessively licking their paw pads that are peeling, you should pay attention. This can happen anytime to any dog or even puppy as they´re active and not scared to play in different environments. It might be a signal of an injury or an illness so you should never underestimate it.

? No matter what, do not remove the peeling skin.


Common causes why dog’s paw pads are peeling

Injury from the sharp objects

Unlike humans, dogs walk barefoot. As they play on various surfaces, their paw pads can get easily injured by sharp objects such as rocks, broken glass, sticks, or gravel. This causes wounds that hurt them and if not removed, their skin starts peeling. The best way how to prevent such an injury is to take your dog to nature and let them play in the soft grass.

Weather extremes

Going for a walk in the middle of a hot summer day can turn into a very painful experience. Walking on the heated asphalt can cause your doggie burns, blisters, red pads, and peeling. There´s a simple test you can always do before going out: put your palm on the sidewalk and hold for 7 seconds. If it hurts you, it will hurt your dog as well. That´s why we recommend walking your dog either early in the morning or in the late evening when the sun is not that strong.

Avoid letting your dog play in the swimming pool if possible. The chlorinated water dries the skin which might cause peeling.

Freezing temperatures bring also challenges to our dogs. Walking on an icy surface, ice melt, or rock salt cause harm to our unprotected friends. They dry the paw pads which can lead to peeling.

Dog allergies

Dogs are not exceptional when talking about allergies. They can get affected by seasonal allergens such as grass, pollen, dust, mites, or by household chemicals. Allergies are uncomfortable and cause itching. As dogs try to relieve, they chew and lick their paw pads which can cause peeling.

Diseases, illnesses, and infections

Paw pad peeling can be also a symptom of the disease or illness. Dogs can suffer from zinc deficiency or even liver disease. In such cases, the skin on their paw pads stops being regenerated.

A lick granuloma is an illness when dogs excessively lick their paw pads that dries them and cause peeling. It´s usually the result of anxiety or psychological issue. It needs to be treated by a veterinarian.

Insect bites cause pain, swelling, and itching. If bacteria find their way into the stab wound, the pup can get an infection causing peeling. Infections can be also caused by a broken or ingrown nail.

? by Dragana Gordic


Can you treat your dog’s peeling paw pads at home?

In this case, always use your common sense. Dog’s paw pads are like our lips – when they are dry, they become chapped. When peeling but not bleeding, instead of the lip balm, use the dog balm. You can even bandage the affected place to prevent a dog from licking it.

If you notice your dog is in pain, scratching, or bleeding, immediately visit your veterinarian.

What is the average healing time?

Depending on the size of the injury, the healing time can last for 2-3 weeks. Healthy younger puppies have a stronger immune system and recover faster than older ones. The length of the healing process also depends on how much attention and care you give your furry friend. You should try to prevent them from chewing the bandage and getting injured again. If you don´t see any improvement after a week or two, do not hesitate to visit your veterinarian for more advice tailored to your specific case.

? A Cone collar may be an effective way to speed up the recovery process as a dog is unable to lick or chew the affected paw.


How effectively prevent peeling on canine paw pads?

  • Be cautious about the environment where your dog plays. Try to take them to nature as much as possible.
  • Avoid extremes. During the hot summer days, don´t walk your dog in the middle of the day. In the winter, avoid ice melt or rock salt if possible. Do not overestimate your dog as some of the breeds are more prone to paw pad problems in general, including peeling.
  • Sometimes is difficult to prevent insect bites. When you notice a stinger, gently remove it with the tweezers.
  • Check your paw pads every time you come back from walking and use the dog wipes to clean them.
  • Dog boots are cute and handy, but not all dogs can handle them. Dogs can use them during unpleasant weather or if their paw pads are already wrapped with the bandage.
  • A high-quality natural dog balm like our Paws and Snout Premium could be quite effective for preventing dog paw pads from peeling thanks to its natural healing ingredients. Applying a small layer before walking could easily prove their effectiveness.
  • Every dog owner should have a dog first aid kid, period.