Hot Foot In Dogs: How To Prevent & Treat Canine Pododermatitis

Has your furry friend started to display strange symptoms like hair loss, a greasy discharge, and itchy feet? Have you started to notice a foul odor coming from the general vicinity of your dog’s feet?

This might be a sign that your dog is suffering from pododermatitis. What is pododermatitis?

Well, in this article we are going to explore exactly that, as well as what you can do to prevent and treat this condition for your furry friend.

Hot Foot In Dogs: How To Prevent & Treat Canine Pododermatitis

What is Pododermatitis?

Pododermatitis is a common condition that affects dogs. It’s an inflammation of the skin and/or nails caused by bacterial infection. The most common cause is bacteria from the family Enterobacteriaceae, which live naturally on pets’ paws.

These enteric bacteria can be spread through contact with feces or urine. Once they get into your dog’s paw pads, they multiply rapidly and cause inflammation.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms include redness, swelling, pain, heat, and loss of hair around the affected area. Sometimes, if you scratch at it (which will make it worse), there may also be pus coming out of the wound.

If you think your dog has pododermatitis, see your veterinarian for treatment right away. Treatment includes antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, and sometimes surgery.

Below you will see a simple list of symptoms your dog may experience if they have developed pododermatitis:

  • Hair Loss on Their Paws
  • Puss leaking from lesions on Their Paw
  • The Paw is Red and Swollen
  • There are Blisters on Their Feet
  • Excessive Licking or Biting of Their Paws
  • Abscesses Form on their Paws
  • The Skin becomes Hyperpigmented Around the Paw
  • Nodules Form Around the Paw
  • Scabs From on Their Paw
  • The Paw Pads Thicken

What Causes Dogs to Develop Pododermatitis?

The most common reason for pododermatitis to develop is the environment and your dog coming in contact with bacteria and microbes that cause the condition.

There are two main causes of canine pododermatitis:

  1. Bacteria from the family Enterobaceriaceae, such as E. coli and Salmonella, which live naturally on pets’ paws
  2. Infection with other types of bacteria, including Staphylococcus Aureus, Streptococcus, and Pasteurella multocida.
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Veterinary Diagnosis of Pododermatitis?

If your dog shows signs of this condition, take him to your vet immediately. Your vet should examine his paws closely to determine whether he has pododermatitis.

They’ll check how painful they are and look for any wounds or sores. You’ll need to keep track of your pet’s temperature and heart rate during this visit.

Your vet may even run some diagnostic tests on your dog to determine what is causing your dogs’ case of pododermatitis. This will help them understand how to treat your pet’s specific case and maybe even find out if there is a way to avoid it in the future.

How to Treat Canine Pododermatitis?

Treatment options depend on what type of bacteria caused your dog’s pododermatitis. There’s no cure for pododermatitis, but many cases resolve themselves within 2 weeks after starting antibiotic therapy.

Hot Foot In Dogs: How To Prevent & Treat Canine Pododermatitis

However, if you notice that your dog’s condition hasn’t improved after 2 weeks, then you should consult your vet again. Your vet may recommend additional treatments, such as cleaning the infected areas, applying topical corticosteroids, or even surgical removal of dead tissue.

Below you will see some things you can do to help treat your dogs’ case of pododermatitis at home:

Epsom Salts

If you want to treat an existing case of pododermatitis you might want to consider giving your dog an Epsom salts foot bath.

All you need to do is fill a bathtub with between three and four inches of water and then add a few cups of Epsom salts. Stir the salt until it dissolves into the water.

Now you need to get your dog to stand in the water for between fifteen and twenty minutes. After that time has elapsed you will need to rinse the dog’s feet well so that no salt is left on the foot.

An Epsom salts bath will encourage the injury to heal as well as helping to dry out the inflammation in the area.


This is a remedy that you will need to be careful with. Too much exposure to vinegar can cause the skin to burn.

But if you have decided that this is a treatment you want to try out you will need to follow these instructions. Your solution will need a 1:10 ratio of vinegar and distilled water.

It is recommended that you use white wine vinegar for this treatment. Anyway, you should apply the solution to a cotton pad and carefully clean the paw pads of your dog one to two times a day.

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What Will Recovery Look Like?

Recovery depends on the severity of your pet’s case. After taking some time off from walking him, you’re likely to see improvement over the next few days.

As long as your dog doesn’t have open wounds, you shouldn’t see much change in his appearance. But you might notice that his fur isn’t as shiny anymore.

This is because the nail bed underneath the nail plate is damaged. His nails will continue to grow and become longer than usual. In addition, the amount of foot care products that you use on his feet will decrease.

How to Prevent Canine Pododermatitis?

There are several things you can do to help prevent your dog from developing pododermatitis or hot foot. Below you will see several of these methods:


If you want to avoid your dog developing pododermatitis/hot foot using booties is a great way to help reduce the risk. Even sled dogs are made to wear booties by their mushers and for good reason.

Snow and ice can affect the feet quite badly if you are not careful. If you are going to use booties to help prevent pododermatitis it will be essential to not leave them on all the time.

A dog sweats from between their paw pads and by wearing a covering constantly it can cause bacteria to form which may cause pododermatitis or other conditions to develop.

Avoid Using Ointments

If you want to reduce the risk of pododermatitis forming, it is probably a good idea to avoid using ointments as continued use can cause a barrier to form that will trap moisture in and this is a great palace for bacteria and microbes to develop.

Frequently Asked Questions

We are now ready to answer some of the most frequently asked questions concerning canine pododermatitis. Let’s dive right in!

How Long Does Pododermatitis Take to Heal in Dogs?

It’s not uncommon for your dog to develop pododermatitis several times throughout life. So while it’s possible that your dog could experience it multiple times, it’s unlikely that he’d have more than one episode per year. And since your dog isn’t going to die from it, he won’t require constant medical attention.

Is pododermatitis painful for dogs?

Yes, this condition is potentially debilitating for your pet if it is not taken care of.

Pododermatitis is essentially an inflammation of the interdigital skin, this is the area between the toes and foot pads. This condition is quite common in dogs and can even spread to inflame the nail.

Is pododermatitis in dogs contagious?

No, this condition is not contagious. It is most often caused by a bacterial infection that occurs when the dog licks its own paw too much. The bacteria get into the bloodstream and travel to the lungs where they cause pneumonia. If this happens, the animal is at risk of developing respiratory distress.

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What antibiotics treat pododermatitis?

Antibiotics are used to combat infections in dogs with pododermatitis. Antibiotic treatment works best when applied topically rather than orally.

Topical application means putting the drug directly onto the affected area instead of swallowing it. When using oral antibiotics, there’s always a chance that the drugs don’t reach their target site.

This increases the chances of the body producing resistant strains of bacteria. This problem is particularly pronounced in puppies who haven’t fully developed their immune systems yet.

Is Epsom salt good for dogs’ paws?

Epsom Salt has been used for centuries to soothe sore muscles and joints. It’s also known to be effective against arthritis pain. Recent studies show that it can help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis as well.

Although it’s not proven to be safe for cats, dogs, and humans, it can still be helpful when used properly. You can find out how to apply it here.

Final Thoughts

That is all for this article, we hope that you have enjoyed learning about canine pododermatitis and what you can do to prevent or treat it.

We wish you and your canine companion a long and happy life. Goodbye for now!

Megan Turner