Pododermatitis Dog Paw: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

icon August 19, 2023

What is Pododermatitis Dog Paw?

Pododermatitis, commonly known as "Paw Dermatitis," is a condition that affects the paws of dogs. It involves inflammation and irritation of the skin on the paws, which can be uncomfortable and painful for our four-legged companions. It is characterized by redness, swelling, pain, and sometimes infection in the interdigital areas (the spaces between the toes). If left untreated, painful ulcers may develop. In very severe cases, the dog may even become lame. Recognizing the signs, understanding the causes, and seeking appropriate treatment is crucial for maintaining the well-being of our furry friends. Today, Puainta™ discusses what Pododermatitis is.

Symptoms of Pododermatitis in Dogs

Here are some common symptoms of pododermatitis in dogs:

  • Redness and Swelling: The affected areas of the paw pads and between the toes may appear red, swollen, and irritated.
  • Limping or Lameness: Dogs with pododermatitis often experience discomfort and pain when walking. This can lead to limping or favoring the affected paw.
  • Pain and Discomfort: Dogs may exhibit signs of pain when you touch or manipulate their paw pads or the spaces between their toes. They might lick or chew at the affected areas to try to alleviate the discomfort.
  • Licking and Chewing: Excessive licking and chewing of the paws are common behaviors in dogs with pododermatitis. This is a response to the itching, pain, or discomfort they are experiencing.
  • Odor: The affected paws might emit an unpleasant odor due to the inflammation and infection associated with pododermatitis.
  • Cysts or Pustules: In some cases, fluid-filled cysts or pustules may develop between the toes. These can rupture and become ulcerated, leading to further inflammation and discomfort.
  • Thickened or Cracked Skin: The paw pads and surrounding skin might become thickened, rough, or cracked as a result of ongoing inflammation and irritation.
  • Hair Loss: Hair loss can occur in the affected areas, making the skin appear bare or scaly.
  • Secondary Infections: Due to the open sores, cysts, or ulcers that can develop, there is a risk of secondary bacterial or fungal infections in the affected paw.

Causes of Pododermatitis in Dogs

Pododermatitis can have various underlying causes, often stemming from a combination of factors. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Bacterial Infections: Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, Mycobacterium
  • Fungal Infections: Fungi-like yeast (Malassezia).
  • Foreign Objects: Small debris, thorns, splinters, or even grass awns.
  • Allergies: Pollen, grass, dust mites, or certain ingredients in their food
  • Parasites: Mites, ticks, and fleas.
  • Autoimmune Disorders: Conditions like pemphigus complex or lupus.
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal Imbalances: hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease.
  • Excessive Moisture.
  • Trauma: Injuries to the paw pads, such as cuts, burns, or abrasions.
  • Genetics: Some dog breeds are more predisposed to developing pododermatitis due to their anatomy or genetic predisposition.

Related: Dog Grass Seed in Paw, Nose and Ear

What Are the Dog Breeds Most Commonly Affected By Pododermatitis?

While pododermatitis can occur in any dog breed, certain breeds might be more prone to developing this condition due to their anatomy, activity levels, or predisposition to certain skin issues. Some of the dog breeds that are commonly affected by pododermatitis include:

  • Bulldogs (English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, etc.)
  • Basset Hounds
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Boxers
  • German Shepherds
  • Pugs
  • Poodles
  • Shih Tzus
  • Dachshunds

How to Treat Pododermatitis Dog Paw?

Treating pododermatitis typically involves a combination of home care and veterinary intervention. Before starting any treatment, it's important to have your dog examined by a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of the pododermatitis. This will help guide the appropriate treatment plan.

Here's a general guideline:

  • Medications: Antibiotics or antifungal medications may be prescribed if there is an infection present.
  • Topical Treatments: Veterinarians may recommend medicated shampoos, ointments, or sprays to help soothe and heal the affected areas.
  • Allergy Management: If allergies are suspected, identifying and managing the allergen (if possible) is crucial. This might involve dietary changes or environmental modifications.
  • Cleaning and Drying: Keeping the paws clean and dry can help prevent the development of infections and reduce inflammation.
  • Trimming Hair: In breeds with excess hair between their toes, regular trimming can help prevent moisture and debris buildup.

Interdigital inflammation relief product is primarily utilized for treating trauma, interdigital inflammation, post-operative wounds, scratches, burns, ulcers, and wounds resulting from sterilization procedures. 

  • Natural and Safe: Crafted from natural ingredients, our product ensures a safe and effective healing process.
  • Gentle and Lickable: Its mild formulation is not only safe for usage but also lickable, making it suitable for pets and animals.
  • Infection Control: With its potent antibacterial properties, it actively fights against harmful bacteria, reducing the risk of infections.

Home Remedies for Pododermatitis in Dogs

Epsom Salt Soaks

You might try soaking your dog's paws in warm water with a small amount of Epsom salt. This can help soothe inflammation and provide some relief. Be sure to dry the paws thoroughly afterward. You can soak your pet's paws in an Epsom salt bath for 10-15 minutes once or twice daily.

Chamomile Tea

Using chamomile tea to cleanse and soothe your dog's paw pads can be a helpful remedy, especially if your dog is experiencing minor irritation or inflammation. 
Bring water to a boil and then let it cool down slightly.
Place chamomile tea bags or loose chamomile flowers in the hot water and let them steep for about 5-10 minutes. 
Allow the chamomile tea to cool down to a lukewarm or room temperature. 
Allow your dog's paws to soak for about 5-10 minutes. 
You can repeat this paw pad soak 1-2 times a day, as needed. 

Anti-itch Relief Sprays

Use pet itch relief sprays to soothe the infected area. Find a high-quality pet itch relief spray that won't sting or burn, works on contact, and slows down bacterial growth. 

Diet and Nutrition

Ensure your dog is on a balanced and appropriate diet, as proper nutrition can contribute to overall skin health. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil supplements, might help with inflammation.

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel (from a pure source without added chemicals) might help with soothing and cooling inflamed paw pads. Again, be cautious about your dog licking it off.

Is Pododermatitis Contagious?

Pododermatitis, a condition involving inflammation of a dog's paw area, can have contagious underlying causes. For instance, fungal infections like yeast infections could spread to other dogs through contact with the affected paw. Similarly, certain bacterial infections might be transmissible among dogs, especially if open sores are present. Parasites like mites or ticks, responsible for some pododermatitis cases, can be transmitted through direct contact or shared environments. Although allergic reactions contributing to pododermatitis aren't directly contagious, multiple dogs exposed to the same allergen could exhibit similar symptoms.

How to Prevent Pododermatitis in Dogs?

  • Maintain Paw Hygiene: Keep your dog's paw pads clean and dry. After walks or outdoor playtime, gently clean their paws with a damp cloth to remove dirt, debris, and potential allergens. 
  • Appropriate Walking Surfaces: Avoid walking your dog on extremely hot or rough surfaces like asphalt during hot weather, as this can cause burns or abrasions on the paw pads. Opt for grassy or shaded areas whenever possible.
  • Don't allow your dog to lick their paws excessively: Excessive licking can lead to bacterial or fungal infections, so discourage your dog from doing this.
  • Proper Footwear: In extreme weather conditions, consider using dog booties to protect your dog's paw pads from extreme heat, cold, or rough terrain.
  • Proper Grooming: Regular grooming is essential. Trim the hair around your dog's paw pads to prevent excessive moisture retention and dirt buildup. 


Will pododermatitis go away on its own?

It rarely goes away on its own. Paw pododermatitis isn’t a simple skin irritation;  It involves inflammation and infection of the feet's skin and underlying tissues. Whether pododermatitis will go away on its own depends on various factors, including the severity of the condition, the cause, and the species of animal involved. Mild cases of pododermatitis may improve on their own if the underlying cause is addressed and if the affected animal is given appropriate care.

However, more severe cases of pododermatitis can lead to significant complications, such as deep infections or abscesses. In these cases, it's unlikely that the condition will resolve on its own without intervention. Veterinary care is often necessary to properly diagnose the underlying cause, provide appropriate treatment (which could include antibiotics, wound care, and sometimes surgery), and prevent the condition from worsening.

Is pododermatitis painful for dogs?

Yes, pododermatitis, also known as "interdigital dermatitis" or "interdigital cysts," can be painful for dogs. Pododermatitis refers to inflammation or infection of the skin and tissue between a dog's toes and paw pads. In some cases, dogs may limp, favor the affected paw, or exhibit signs of discomfort while walking, running, or playing. They might also lick, chew, or bite at the affected area as a response to the discomfort or pain.

Is pododermatitis curable?

Numerous instances necessitate continuous treatment and supervision; full resolution might never be achievable. The outcome is heavily influenced by the underlying factor - instances triggered by environmental factors can abate with the maintenance of a clean environment, whereas those stemming from allergies might persist. Allergic-induced foot dermatitis will recede as long as appropriate allergy treatment is upheld, but cessation of treatment could result in a resurgence of the condition.



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