If you have noticed that your pooch has been limping around or favoring one foot over another lately, it can be a sign that their paw pads need some attention.
But how long does paw pad healing take in dogs?
How Long For A Dogs Paw Pads To Heal?
The answer depends on many factors, including the type of injury and the severity of the problem.
For example, if your dog is experiencing pain from a severely inflamed paw pad, then this needs to be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible.
If there are underlying issues like arthritis, then these should also be addressed by a veterinarian.
In most cases, however, the inflammation will subside within a few days.
Once your dog starts to walk normally again, you can expect them to fully recover within a week.
However, do remember that it could take longer for a very small injury to heal than it would for a larger injury, since smaller wounds are easier to cover.
Although paw pads generally heal quickly, it’s important to monitor your dog’s movement so that they don’t put undue pressure on their paws.
This will help prevent any further damage or infections.
Keep reading to find out more about what causes paw pads to hurt and how to treat them.
Causes of paw pad injuries in dogs
Your dog’s paw pads are composed of keratin (the same stuff as human fingernails), which is why they are so sensitive.
This means that any trauma or injury sustained by them will affect them for quite a while.
However, since they’re more resilient than humans, your dog’s paw pads can usually recover from minor injuries within days.
Here are some common causes of paw pad injuries in dogs:
Walking on uneven surfaces
If your dog walks on rough terrain such as gravel or stone, this can cause irritation and soreness, especially if he tries to avoid stepping on these objects.
Rough play with other dogs
Even though your dog might be gentle and friendly, he could still get injured when playing rough with other dogs.
Any sudden, severe trauma to your pet’s paws can lead to inflammation and swelling, which can hinder his ability to walk normally.
Most dogs like to run around and explore their environment.
However, if they fall down unexpectedly, this can result in sprains, strains, and fractures.
Playing fetch is great exercise for dogs, but sometimes they can injure themselves when trying to retrieve the ball.
Muddy puddles or lakes
These can be slippery and dangerous for dogs who love to swim.
They also can become infected easily and require veterinary treatment.
How to prevent paw pad injuries in dogs
Like humans, our pets experience injuries as well.
And just like us, their paw pads can get injured if they are subjected to too much stress, especially when we’re out at work and home all day.
However, there are things you can do to help them recover from these injuries faster and avoid reoccurring ones.
Here are a few ways to prevent paw pad injuries in dogs.
Take note of your pet’s behavior
If you notice that your dog is favoring one side more than the other, especially while walking, take note of this.
It could mean that his paw pads need some extra care or that he needs to rest more often.
If you think that your dog is limping, you should consult a vet immediately.
Keep an eye on your pet’s activity levels
Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise so that he doesn’t tire himself out with too much exertion.
Also, don’t allow him to jump or climb stairs excessively.
Watch what you feed your pet
Some foods can cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to painful paw pads.
You should also keep an eye on the ingredients used in any medications that your pet takes on a regular basis, including those that you give him yourself.
Check your pet’s nails regularly
Nails growing too quickly can damage paw pads.
So, check your pet’s nails every week and clip them if needed.
Make sure you clean your pet’s shoes properly
The dirt and debris left behind by your pet’s feet can cause irritation and infection of paw pads.
Always use shoe covers and brush off your dog’s paws after he steps into the house each time.
Wear proper footwear
Whether you’re going out for a walk or running errands, wear appropriate footwear that will protect your dog’s paws against sharp objects and debris.
Dog boots, such as those made by Petco, are good options.
First aid for paw pad injuries in dogs
You’ll want to pay close attention to your pup’s gait if they are limping because of a paw injury.
If they favor one leg over the other or seem hesitant when walking, they could be experiencing pain from a damaged paw pad.
Take note of their behavior
If your dog is favoring one paw, especially if it is swollen or discolored, this could indicate that they have a problem with their paw pads.
Pay close attention to their activity levels and how they walk.
Is there any swelling or redness present on either front or back paws?
Are they favoring one leg more than the other?
Any noticeable changes in their overall demeanor should be addressed by your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Check out their feet
It’s also important to check out the condition of their paws.
Are their pads dry and soft, or do they appear to be cracked or scuffed?
This may mean that they have developed an infection on their paw pads.
Make sure to bring them into the clinic so that they can receive proper treatment before things get worse.
When to see the vet for paw pad injuries in dogs
Paw pads are made of skin that is covered with hair, which protects them from injury.
When this protective layer gets damaged from an accident, the wound will usually heal within a week or so.
However, if the damage is severe or the paw pads become infected, the area should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Here’s what you should know about when to see a vet for paw pad injuries.
- If you notice any signs of infection such as redness, swelling, warmth, or pus.
- If you think there might be an underlying problem such as diabetes, arthritis, or cancer.
- If you notice excessive licking or scratching at the affected paw pads.
- If you notice your dog limping or favoring one leg over the other.
How long do paw pad injuries take to heal in dogs?
Your dog’s paw pads may take up to two weeks to heal completely.
In the meantime, keep an eye on your dog’s activity level and make sure they’re not putting too much pressure on their paws.
If you notice any swelling, redness, or pain, contact your veterinarian immediately.
This is usually a sign of infection or inflammation, which needs immediate medical attention.
Here are some other tips to help speed up the process:
- Keep your dog’s nails trimmed regularly.
- Wash your dog’s paws daily with warm water and soap.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals like nail polish removers, bleach, ammonia, etc., as these can cause irritation or damage to the skin.
- Do not use cotton balls or Q-tips to clean your dog’s feet.
- Use soft cloths when cleaning your dog’s paws instead of harsh scrubbing products.
- Avoid walking your dog on hard surfaces such as sidewalks or asphalt.
- Never let your dog lick his own paws.
How to care for a dog with paw pad injuries at home
While we cannot predict exactly when your dog will fully recover from a paw pad injury, we can give you tips on how to help them get back on their feet as soon as possible.
1. Keep your dog active
Your dog’s paw pads will continue to grow throughout their lifetime, but as they age, they lose flexibility and strength.
This means that once they become injured, they might not be able to use those paws as well as they used to.
If you notice any discomfort or pain during normal activities, such as playing fetch or walking, it is best to stop these activities until your dog’s paw pads are healed.
Remember, though, that if you let your dog walk around on injured paws, they could cause more damage than good.
You should never force your dog to put pressure on their paws when they are injured, especially if they are still growing.
You can also try to encourage your dog to exercise using other methods.
Some dogs enjoy swimming, while others love jumping on things like trampolines.
Whatever your dog likes doing, find something similar that they would enjoy, so they don’t feel bored while recovering.
2. Take your dog to the vet for treatment
It is important to note that just because your dog seems uncomfortable doesn’t mean that they are hurt.
They may simply be looking for ways to communicate with you about what’s bothering them, but if you aren’t sure, it is always better to go see a vet.
If your dog has a serious injury that requires immediate care, you should contact a veterinarian immediately.
However, minor issues such as irritated paw pads usually only require regular visits to the vet.
When visiting the vet, ask about the best time to bring your dog in for treatment.
Some vets recommend waiting until after work hours, since this is when they are most likely to be open.
Others prefer to wait until morning, when they know that their staff won’t be distracted by other patients.
Also, ask whether your dog needs to stay overnight.
Many veterinarians offer boarding services so that pets can recuperate without having to worry about getting home safely.
If your dog is staying overnight, request a crate to sleep in during their recovery period, so they don’t disturb anyone else in the house.
3. Use a bandage and ice packs
After bringing your dog into the vet, you can start working on the paw pads right away.
The first thing you want to do is apply a bandage.
Bandages can provide support as your dog heals, keeping the paw pads stable and helping them regain mobility.
Once your dog is bandaged up, you should place a cold pack on their affected paw.
This helps reduce swelling and inflammation, which speeds up recovery.
Finally, you can wrap your dog’s paw pads in gauze.
This helps protect the skin and prevent further infection.
4. Apply topical treatments
While the bandage and cold packs will help to alleviate pain, you can also apply topical creams to speed up recovery.
These creams contain natural substances like aloe vera, witch hazel, and calendula oil, which help relieve pain and promote healing.
Some of these creams can be purchased at your local pet store, while others must be ordered online.
Once you receive your order, follow the instructions carefully.
5. Massage your dog
Massaging your dog’s paws after applying the topical cream can help increase circulation to the paw pads, which promotes healing.
As they massage, your dog will enjoy the feeling of tenderness, which will help to distract them from the pain.
Just remember to be gentle when massaging your dog’s paws.
Don’t press down too hard or rub against sensitive areas.
Instead, gently stroke their paws while moving from the toes to the heel and then back again.
6. Exercise regularly
Exercise is another important part of your dog’s recovery process.
While you are busy taking care of your dog, it is important to give them plenty of opportunities to move around.
Regular walks and playtime are ideal.
If your dog isn’t ready for vigorous activity yet, consider giving them short walks instead.
Just make sure you monitor their progress closely, and adjust accordingly.
7. Stay hydrated
Dehydration is another common side effect of paw pad injuries.
It can happen naturally due to our dogs’ instinctive thirst, but it is also easy to forget to drink enough water.
To avoid dehydration, make sure you are drinking enough water every day.
Remember to check the quality of the water you are drinking, as there are many brands available today that claim to be “purified”, but actually contain harmful chemicals that can be harmful to your dog.
As you help your dog recover from paw pad injuries, you should also pay special attention to their diet.
If you notice any changes in their appetite or behavior, it is best to consult your vet.
What are the complications of paw pad injuries in dogs?
Wounds to the feet in humans can heal quickly, but there’s no such thing as quick healing when it comes to animals.
That said, dogs with minor wounds to their paws can usually recover without any problems — but severe injuries can lead to more serious problems if not treated properly.
Here are some of the most common complications of paw pad injuries in dogs:
It’s always important to cleanse the wound after an injury to prevent infection.
This includes making sure the area is dry before applying any bandages.
If the paw pad was punctured by something sharp (such as a nail), then it’s also important to remove any foreign objects.
When paw pads aren’t properly healed, the skin can become stretched out and pull away from the bone underneath, causing the paw pad to deform.
This condition is called clawing, which happens when the nails grow into the wrong direction.
If you notice your dog scratching themselves excessively, and especially on their feet, this could be a sign of clawing.
The best way to prevent deformed paws is to trim your dog’s nails regularly, so that they don’t grow too long and cause pain.
Paw pad injuries are painful to begin with, but they can get worse if they don’t heal correctly.
If your dog keeps rubbing down the affected area, or if the injured paw doesn’t stop hurting even after treatment, it’s time to see a vet.
Your dog might experience numbness in the affected paw, which can be a result of nerve damage.
It’s possible that the nerves were pinched during the injury, and will require surgery to repair.
If you suspect this is the case, then make sure to contact a vet right away.
Loss of mobility
As we mentioned earlier, if paw pads are deformed, the dog can lose their ability to move their limbs.
They won’t be able to walk normally, and they might develop arthritis due to constant movement.
If the injury isn’t treated properly, the affected paw pad can turn cancerous.
This can happen because of bacteria living on the damaged tissue, and the wound won’t close up naturally.
Make sure your vet removes all foreign objects from the injury site, and use antibiotics to prevent infection.
Prevention is the best medicine for paw pad injuries in dogs
Your dog’s paw pads may take up to two weeks to heal completely.
In the meantime, keep an eye on your dog’s activity level and make sure they’re not putting too much pressure on their paws.
If your pet is experiencing soreness or discomfort, it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Here are some tips from veterinarians that will help prevent and treat paw pad injuries in dogs.
Keep them moving
It’s important to keep your dog active during this time so that they don’t become bored and start to overuse their paw pads.
You should also consider taking your dog on short walks to get them used to walking again, even if they aren’t fully healed yet.
This way, when they do eventually heal, they won’t have to worry about getting used to walking again.
Make sure they’re wearing shoes
Wearing shoes is essential for keeping your dog healthy.
Even if your pet doesn’t seem to need shoes, it’s still a good idea to give them something to wear while you’re out and about.
Whether you choose to buy a new pair of shoes or just bring along an old pair from home, your dog needs something to protect their feet while they’re outside.
Avoid hard surfaces
Hard surfaces such as concrete floors and pavement can cause your dog pain and discomfort.
Instead, look for soft flooring like grass, carpet, or linoleum at home and in public places.
It’s always better to avoid these types of surfaces if you can.
Exercise caution when walking through grass
When your dog is suffering from paw pad injuries, it’s best to walk carefully on grass.
Look for areas where the grass is firm enough to support your dog’s weight without causing any stress.
Avoid areas where there are large patches of wet grass, which could lead to slipping and falling.
Check for debris
Debris such as twigs, leaves, and other objects lying on the ground can damage your dog’s paws.
Make sure that anything your dog comes into contact with is safe before allowing them to step onto it.
Be especially careful of rocks, sticks, and other sharp objects that could cut open your dog’s skin.
Avoid hot weather
Hot weather can be dangerous for your dog’s paws.
While they may feel fine during the day, they’ll likely feel uncomfortable when exposed to direct sunlight later in the day.
Try to limit outdoor activities when the temperature is high.
Consider using topical medications
Topical medications can help relieve pain and inflammation associated with paw pad injuries.
These products include creams, ointments, and sprays.
As long as your dog isn’t allergic to the medication, it’s usually safe to use.
Look for signs of infection
Infections can sometimes occur after an injury in dogs.
Infection occurs when bacteria gets inside the wound and begins to grow.
The most common infections are caused by bacteria found in dirt, mud, water, and soil.
Other bacteria can be spread through saliva, urine, feces, and blood.
If your dog develops an infection after an injury, seek medical treatment immediately.
Have questions about paw pad injuries in dogs?
Paw pad injuries are painful and can cause your dog discomfort if left untreated.
But when done properly, paw pad injuries in dogs can heal quickly and painlessly with just a few
days of rest and treatment.
However, it’s important to note that there isn’t a fixed timeline for when paw pads will fully heal.
It varies from dog to dog and depends on multiple factors including breed, age, size, weight, and
In fact, your vet might recommend different treatments based on these variables.
For example, if your dog is older than 10 years old, they could require a longer course of care than
someone who’s younger and a smaller breed.
That said, most paw pads will heal within two weeks and are usually back to normal within three
That being said, some breeds like poodles, corgis, and dachshunds tend to heal faster than others.
So, if you notice any signs of soreness, swelling, redness, or discoloration, consult your vet right
away so they can help alleviate your pet’s discomfort.
Here’s what you should do before seeing your veterinarian.
First thing’s first – stop playing tug-of-war with your dog.
If your dog was injured while playing, let them rest and stay off their feet until they’ve healed.
Next, wash your dog’s paws thoroughly with warm water and soap.
You can also use an antibacterial spray to clean their paws as well.
After washing, gently inspect your dog’s paws to see if there’s any bleeding or bruising.
Once you’ve cleaned and inspected your dog’s paws, wrap their feet in gauze bandages and put
them in a large tub filled with warm water (not hot) to soak.
It’s important to change the water every hour or so to ensure that your dog gets enough time
soaking and doesn’t get cold!
You can also give your dog something to drink during this time, but it’s not necessary.
When you think your dog’s paws are ready to come out of the tub, remove the gauze bandage and
dry their feet using a towel.
Now that your dog’s paws are dried and ready to go, apply a topical cream or ointment to their feet
and leave them alone for a couple of hours.
After applying the treatment, check your dog’s paws again.
They should be soft and clean without any blood or other discharge coming from their paws.
Finally, follow up with your vet to ensure your dog’s paw pads are completely healed.
The good news is that most paw pad injuries in dogs heal very quickly and painlessly with proper
However, if you wait too long to visit your vet, your dog could end up with a permanent injury.