Dog Paw Pad Peeling

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Dog paw pad peeling is the process of removing the tough, dead outer layer of a dog’s paw pad. This is a necessary step in dog grooming and hygiene to ensure the paws stay healthy and free from infection. Dog paw pads contain sweat glands that produce natural oils and protect the paw from the elements. Excessive peeling can leave the paw unprotected, so it is important to take care not to over-peel.

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Dog paw pad peeling is a condition in which the surface layers of the paw pads become dry, cracked, and peel away. It is commonly caused by contact with rough surfaces or allergens or can be a sign of nutritional deficiency. Treatment depends on the cause but may involve the use of moisturizing agents, antibiotics, or dietary supplements. In severe cases, the pads may need to be bandaged to protect them while healing.

What Exactly Are Paw Pads?

Paw pads, also known as digital pads, are specialized padded areas of skin on the bottom of the feet of mammals, including cats, dogs, and even humans. Paw pads provide a protective cushion against the ground, absorbing the impact of running, jumping, and other activities. They also provide grip in wet conditions and can help regulate temperature. Paw pads are usually thicker and more heavily furred on larger mammals.

Common Dog Paw Issues

  • Paw Pad Injury: Common paw pad injuries include cuts, burns, punctures, and foreign objects.
  • Allergies: Allergies can cause red, inflamed, itchy, and/or raw paws.
  • Infections: Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can cause infections of the skin on the paw.
  • Trauma: Trauma, such as a broken toenail or torn ligaments, can impair a dog’s mobility.
  • Deformity or Abnormality: If the paw is misshapen it could be a birth defect or result from an injury.
  • Skin Masses: Lumps and bumps on the paw should be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Moisture Excess or Deficiency: Moisture deficiency or excess can lead to paw issues such as cracking, exfoliation, and infection.

Dog Paw Pad Ripped Off Not Bleeding

If your dog’s paw pad has been ripped off and is not bleeding, there are a few things you will need to do to help ensure a speedy recovery.

First, examine the area to determine if the exposed tissue is healthy. You may need to do this by gently wiping it with gauze or a cotton ball soaked in sterile saline. If the area is healthy, you will need to clean the area with a mild soap and water, and then copiously rinse it.

Once you have determined the wound is free from infection, you should then apply an ointment or other topical spray that contains antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and/or hydrocortisone (depending on the recommendation of your veterinarian). These will help speed up the healing process and reduce the risk of infection.

Your final step will be to apply a non-adhesive bandage or bootie to protect the wound. This will help keep your pet from licking or otherwise irritating the area.

Make sure to monitor the area for signs of infection, such as discharge, excess swelling, or bad odor. If you see any of these signs, consult with your veterinarian immediately. Further medical treatment might be necessary.

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Dog Paw Pad Injury Flap

A paw pad injury flap occurs when a pet’s paw pad becomes damaged and torn, creating a protruding flap of skin. This can happen if the pad catches on something, such as a stick, sharp rock, or a rough surface.

If your pet has a paw pad injury flap, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian can stitch the flap back in place or trim it if necessary to reduce further trauma to the paw. They may also prescribe medication to reduce pain and inflammation.

To prevent paw pad injury flaps from happening in the future, make sure to keep your pet’s nails trimmed, pad the surfaces they walk on, and keep the area around their paw clean.

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Dog’s paw pads can peel for a variety of reasons. In general, the peeling, cracking, or discoloring of the paw pads can be caused by environmental factors, such as extreme temperatures, dry air, and rough surfaces. Allergies, injuries, or infections are also common culprits, as these can dry out the skin on the paw and cause excessive peeling or discoloration.

In some cases, peeling can occur due to skin conditions such as Dermatitis or Psoriasis. Allergies or infections could lead to inflammation of the skin, causing the paw pad to swell, crack and eventually peel.

Excessive licking or biting of the paw pads can also cause peeling or discoloration. Some dog owners may find that their pet continues to lick or bite their paw pad even when the reason for it has been addressed. In that case, the pet owner may need to consult a veterinarian to determine the appropriate treatment.

Finally, some dog breeds may be prone to paw pad peeling, due to inherent qualities, such as a thin layer of fur, or an excessive amount of hair on the pads. Consult your veterinarian to determine if your dog’s breed predisposes them to paw pad peeling.

Symptoms of Paw Pad Issues and Injuries in Dogs

  • Limping: caused by inflammation or pain in the paw pads.
  • Swelling: caused by inflammation or damage to the paw pads.
  • Redness: caused by an infection, allergic reaction, or contact with an irritant.
  • Scratching: caused by an itchy or painful sensation in the paw pads.
  • Licking: caused by an itch, an infection, or an injury.
  • Bleeding: caused by trauma or infection, or may be due to an underlying medical condition.
  • Cracked, peeling, or missing pads: caused by an injury, infection, or environmental exposure, or from chronic licking or chewing.
  • Discharge: may be caused by an infection or abscess.

Diagnosis of Paw Pad Issues and Injuries in Dogs

  • Inspect paw pads for any wounds, cuts, abrasions, signs of infection, broken nails, or swelling.
  • Check for foreign objects such as stones, glass, thorns, etc. that may be embedded in the paw pads.
  • Check for uneven wear or discoloration which could indicate an underlying issue.
  • Examine the area between the paw pads for lumps, bumps, or other changes that may indicate an underlying issue.
  • Check for any deformities or trauma that may have occurred from a previous injury or accident.
  • Check for any parasites, such as ticks, which can cause inflammation and irritation in the paw pads.
  • Check for fungal or bacterial infection in the paw pads.
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What Should You Do if Your Dog’s Pads Start to Peel?

If your dog’s pads start to peel, take them to the vet to have their paws checked out. Your vet can diagnose the cause and provide the best treatment. In most cases, your vet may recommend a topical ointment or medicated pad to help your pup heal. If the cause is a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. In addition to veterinary care, provide your pup with plenty of rest, ensure they are not walking on hot surfaces, and use booties to protect their feet.

Is My Dog’s Peeled Paw Pad Infected?

It is possible that a peeled paw pad is infected, depending on how long it has been peeled, how badly it is peeled, and if there is any sign of inflammation, redness, discharge, heat, or pain. If your dog’s pads appear to be infected, it is best to take him to the vet for a diagnosis and treatment.

How Do You Treat Peeling Dog Pads?

  • Clean the affected area: The first step to treating a peeling dog paw is to clean the affected area with a mild antibacterial soap. After washing, make sure to fully dry the area with a clean towel or cotton swab.
  • Apply paw protection: Apply paw protection specifically made for canine paws to the entire paw. This helps to lock in moisture and provide a protective barrier from further damage.
  • Moisturize: Applying a moisturizing paw balm or lotion to the affected area can help soothe the skin and keep it from becoming dry and cracked.
  • Monitor your dog: Keeping a close eye on your pet can help you detect any further signs of peeling or discomfort, which can be addressed quickly.
  • See the vet: If the peeling persists, it is important to seek veterinary care, as there may be an underlying medical condition leading to the issue. A vet can diagnose and treat the root cause of the problem.

Paw Pad Maintenance and Care

  • Check your pet’s paw pads for cuts, sores, or cracks, and visit the vet if you notice anything concerning.
  • Regularly trim your pet’s nails to help keep their pads healthy and prevent injury.
  • Regularly check your pet’s paw pads for foreign objects like splinters, glass, pebbles, and thorns.
  • If your pet lives primarily indoors, provide a soft and comfortable surface where they can take breaks and rest.
  • Use a paw balm or moisturizer every 1-2 weeks to condition, nourish, and protect their pads from cracking.
  • After walks or activities, clean the paws with a damp cloth and dry them thoroughly.
  • Soak the paws in warm water with Epsom salt to help soothe irritated pads.
  • Make sure to keep your pet well-groomed and their fur short around the paw pads to help reduce irritation.
  • Add paw pad protection such as paw boots or protective wax when needed.
  • Most importantly, ensure your furry friend doesn’t walk on surfaces that may be too hot or too cold to help reduce the risk of paw pad injury.

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  1. Keep Their Paw Pads Dry: Wet paw pads can be vulnerable to cracking and peeling. Make sure your pup’s paws get dried off after walks or swimming, and keep them out of puddles or standing water as often as possible.
  2. Choose the Right Booties: If you must keep your pup’s paws exposed to the elements, make sure you’re outfitting them with the right booties. Look for booties with a flexible sole, wide split seam, and adjustable strap that will provide protection while giving your pooch the freedom to get a full range of motion.
  3. Massage Soft Paw Balm into Pads: A good moisturizer can help prevent and heal the dry, cracked pads that are vulnerable to peeling. Products such as Musher’s Secret and Natural Dog Company’s Organic Paw Soother. Place a small amount of balm into your pet’s paw pads and massage it gently.
  4. Avoid Hot and Rough Surfaces: Walking on hot surfaces and rough terrain can cause your pet’s paw pads to peel. Asphalt, rocks, wood chips, or even hot sand can all be dangerous for unprotected pup paws, so be sure to avoid these surfaces as much as possible and stay on softer, safer terrain. {/
  5. Trim the Nails: Long nails can cause your pet to walk differently than they normally would, which can contribute to irritation in the paws. Keep the nails trimmed to the right length to help avoid any additional irritation.
  6. Keep the Paw Pads Clean: Dirt, bacteria, and other debris can cause irritation in the paw pads, so it is important to keep them clean and free of dirt. Wash them with warm water and a gentle soap a few times a week for best results.
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Q. Why are my dog’s paw pads peeling off?

A. Your dog’s paw pads may be peeling off for several reasons, including dryness, infection, or allergies. If your dog is licking or chewing at their paws, it could be due to paw allergies or an infection. If the peeling is due to dryness, an ointment or balm may help and your veterinarian may recommend additional treatments.

Q. How long does a peeled paw pad take to heal?

A. The healing time for a peeled paw pad can vary depending on the severity of the injury, but on average it can take 3-4 weeks for it to completely heal.

Q. Can I put Vaseline on my dog’s paws?

A. No, it is not recommended to put Vaseline on your dog’s paws. Vaseline is not made to be ingested and your dog could end up licking it off, thus ingesting it. Additionally, Vaseline can attract dirt and debris which could be a problem for their paws. It is best to stick to products specifically made to be used on your dog, such as paw balms or waxes.


Dog paw pad peeling can indicate problems such as allergies, insect bites, injuries, or infections. If you notice your dog’s paw pad peeling, it is important to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment. The vet may recommend topical creams, specialty food, or other treatments that can help normalize the skin and prevent future problems. Keeping a close watch on your pet’s paw health can help prevent potential issues from arising.

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