Red Dog Paws – Causes, Preventive, And All-Natural Treatment

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Updated June 25, 2023

Most pet owners never think about it, but their four-legged buddies probably spend the biggest portion of their lives, if not the entirety, walking around with bare feet and risking irritation and redness. When was the last time you put socks or shoes on your dog? I know it is something that I never considered.

Dog illustration with a red pawTable of Contents
What does red paws mean? | What leads to red dog paws? | Treatments and prevention for your canine’s red paws


My experiences’ key takeaways

My dog experienced red paws on two different occasions. Treatment was successful at both times.

  • Two years old labrador with strong redness of the fur between the floating membranes of the paws that were constantly licked and bit. [image]
    – We swabbed the lesion and ruled out a yeast infection. Licking between the fingers often indicates a food allergy. We eliminated it by adopting a hypoallergenic diet (elimination diet) for 4-6 weeks until the symptoms subsided.
  • The same dog with not worsening occasional redness after a long walk through various terrains.
    – Resting, applying a quality balm, and monitoring the symptoms and changes.

There are many reasons why a dog’s paws may be red, so a proper inspection time is needed. If you are not aware of any drastic change and symptoms are not worsening, increased basic care may solve the majority of cases.

Sure, it might seem like a dog’s feet were specifically designed for this purpose and there is no denying that his feet build up a tolerance over time, but this doesn’t mean that he isn’t still vulnerable to all sorts of injuries and mishaps. Is this a scenario that you could imagine? Well, dogs don’t have to imagine it because they do walk around with bare feet most of the time.

And, while their feet were made to be bare, there are still tons of environmental factors that can become major problems.

Maybe you’ve already noticed that your dog is acting funny with his feet. Maybe you’ve noticed a swell to them, or maybe you’ve seen that his paws are red between the pads. This is exactly what happened to me.

I noticed my buddy was acting funny and upon further inspection, I discovered reddening between the pads. There are several reasons why this can happen and finding the underlying problem is the road to recovery. In my case, the food allergy was the main cause and symptoms disappeared completely in 6 weeks.

Let’s look with me at what else may cause redness, when to start panicking, and how to solve a majority of the regular cases just with an increased cleaning and soothing strategy.


What Does Red Paws Mean?

If you are like most pet owners, the first thing you are probably wondering is – what could red paws possibly mean? Does it mean that my dog is injured? Does it mean that my dog has some underlying medical condition that I’m not aware of? All viable questions and ones that you’ll need to answer, but before you can, you need to know that a dog’s feet can be red in two places.

This will be the paw pads themselves and the skin around those pads. When the skin around the pads is red it is usually between the toes and around the nails. These are key spots that you’ll want to look for when inspecting your dog’s paws.

All that aside, red paws can sometimes be attributed to a condition known as pododermatitis. This is a condition that is related to allergies, immune-related diseases, infection, or hormone disorders. Sometimes your dog’s hormones can simply get out of balance and it’ll cause the pads to react by turning red. It is possible that they might even swell and produce pus-filled lesions.

Yeast dermatitis could be another explanation for red paws. If this is this case, you’ll also likely notice a reddish-brown color on the fur accompanied by a corn chip-like smell.

Do You Have An Outside Dog?

golden retriever staying at front the dog barrier in a house garden Dogs that spend most of their time outdoors are at a higher risk of diseases and injuries to the paws. This is especially true if the dog is free to roam your property. In this case, your dog could step on a sharp object, which will lead to inflammation. And, as you know inflammation can be detrimental when it comes to the precious materials of the dog’s paw.

Anything can happen to your dog while you are not present. And, when you finally do discover the red paw, you will have no idea what caused it. You may immediately blame it on the weather or insects, but in all actuality, the condition is probably related to an injury.

If your dog stays outside more than inside, it is crucial to access his paws routinely. This will help ensure his paws are healthy and free of injury and disease.

Does Your Dog Spend Time In The Water?

During the summer season, dogs have a difficult time keeping their body temperature to a minimum. They will first try a shade and if this does not work, they will begin looking for water sources. If there is a creek, river or pond nearby, you may just find your dog there from time to time.

These water sources can pose a danger to your dog. There are all kinds of insects, crustaceans, fish, and other invertebrates living in these waters. While not all of these animals pose risk to your dog, some of them can be very harmful. Take, for example, the stonefly which is highly known for flying above water sources, such as ponds and creeks, bites your dog’s flesh, leading to red bumps that will turn to ulcers if not properly treated.

If the stonefly bites your dog’s sensitive paw, the condition may end up being direr. In this case, you may end up needing to treat and wrap the injured paw several days to keep it from getting infected. As you know, dogs do not like to have any of their body parts, especially their paws, bandaged because it makes walking and running extremely difficult.

What Leads To Red Dog Paws?

A variety of problems may lead to your dog’s paws becoming burned or red. If your dog is allowed to walk on a hot surface, there is a risk that his paws are going to get burned and they’ll turn red. However, you have to understand that any surface can be problematic for pets.

This includes grass, concrete, pebbles, and more. Some believe that burned paws will only be caused by prolonged exposure to the hot surface.

This isn’t the case. It will increase the risks involved but it doesn’t take long for your dog’s paws to become injured. Even if you’re only going on short walks, there is a risk that your dog is going to experience problems. Bigger dogs tend to experience more problems than others. Below, you’re going to find a list of problems that may cause your dog’s paws to become red and burned.

Walking on hot pavement
Winter conditions such as snow, ice, and salt
Excessive licking
• Bugs bites
• Food allergies
• Fleas
• Parasites
• Yeast infections
• Secondary infections
• Hot stops

What To Look For

Dogs can’t tell you what has gone wrong. Therefore, you’ll have to keep an eye on him at all times. When you notice signs of a problem, you’ll want to address the problem as soon as possible. Is your dog limping or licking the bottom of his pads constantly? Both could be signs that something has gone wrong.

Furthermore, your dog may not want to put pressure on the pad. This could be a sign of a problem. As a pet owner, it is pertinent to pay close attention to your dog’s paws.

This should be an essential part of your dog’s hygiene routine. You need to check the paws to ensure that they’re in excellent condition. If you notice problems, you need to address them immediately because blistered paws may lead to infections. The membrane is responsible for defending the dog from the terrain as well as foreign agents.

If you notice that the dog’s paws are discolored, you’ll want to act immediately. Do not wait because the problem may get worse quickly. Your dog may begin licking the wound frequently because his saliva may provide some degree of relief.


Steps To Take When You Can’t Find Out What Happened

You may not know what happened to your dog’s paws. You may never find out. This isn’t necessarily a problem as long as you treat the problem immediately. Remedy the problem quickly and you’ll be able to find out what happened to your dog’s paws later.

Your dog may never venture outside making it difficult for you to pinpoint the problem. If you’re dealing with this type of situation, it could be a problem with the cleaning supplies you’re using.

? The dog’s footpads will absorb almost anything so that could be a problem.

Treatments and prevention for your canine’s red paws

What To Avoid

When attempting to remedy your paw’s red, burned paws, you need to act quickly. However, you cannot avoid choosing ineffective treatments. For instance, you shouldn’t use items you have sitting around your home. This includes Aloe Vera or petroleum jelly. They might work for you but they’re not going to work for your dog. Your dog is going to lick his paws and this could cause him to digest those dangerous chemicals.

Therefore, you should be very cautious. If your dog is dealing with red paws, it is best to stick with treatments that are designed specifically for animals.

Should You See A Veterinarian?

Vets are great and they’ll be able to help. Nevertheless, you should only visit a vet when you’re dealing with an emergency. This is when you need a vet’s assistance the most. Vets are expensive so you’ll want to do your best to avoid them until necessary. For instance, you should visit your vet if your dog’s behavior has changed immensely.

If he stops eating or using the bathroom, it is time to schedule a vet visit. Furthermore, you should visit the vet if your dog has lost a piece of his or her pad.

# 1 Preventive – Natural Premium Balm

Utilizing a preventive like the Paws and Nose Balm by Happiest Dog. Just a small dab of this balm will go a long way in keeping your dog’s paws and nose healthy and happy. This blend of all-natural ingredients works by creating a barrier over the dog’s paws and nose. This will protect the dog’s precious body parts from exposure to things that could be potentially harmful.

The Happiest Dog Paws and Nose Balm contains vitamins A, E, and F, as well as refined shea butter. All of these ingredients work together to create strong barriers against diseases, injuries, and insect bites.