Why should I check my dog's paws?

Your dog’s feet take the brunt of the wear and tear during exercise and everyday life. Sore paws can be very painful, so it’s important to regularly check for any dog paw problems

What should I do if my dog gets sore paws?

If you are worried that your dog has very sore paws contact your vet or, out of hours, your nearest Vets Now for advice.

image of a dog's paws for vets now article on sore paws
Sore paws can be very painful so it's important to check for dog paw problems regularly

How do I check for dog paw problems?

Many dogs don’t especially like their feet being poked and prodded and therefore you shouldn’t expect too much too soon.

You can have a superficial look when your dog is lying down but ideally it’s best have a feel of their foot and toes, looking for any signs of damage or pain.

Sore paws can be painful for your dog, so be careful and gentle so you don’t get accidentally bitten.

What should I look for when checking my dog's paws?

If your dog seems fit and healthy then this is just a routine check to make sure nothing is brewing that you could tackle – matted fur for example.

If your dog has sore paws or is uncomfortable then this check will help you assess if there is something you can easily fix, such as a stone in a bit of matted fur, or something that requires veterinary treatment.

Things to look out for include:

  • Fur matts between toes, causing pain or discomfort, or worse, infection
  • Redness
  • Bleeding
  • Discharge
  • A torn nail
  • Anything stuck, like a stone, glass or a grass seed

How can I prevent sore dog paws?

  • Many dogs wear their nails down naturally but some need their nails clipped. Your groomer or vet will be able to advise you on how best to do this.
  • Regularly clean your dog’s pads and remove anything lodged between them, like pebbles.
  • Gradually introduce your dog to any new rigorous form of exercise, such as hiking, to give their paws time to adjust.
  • Hot pavements are just one of a number of dangers the summer poses to your dog. The temperature of asphalt on hot days can severely burn your dog’s paws. Place the back of your hand on the surface and if it’s too hot for you then it’s too hot for your dog.
  • During winter, salt and chemicals can cause your dog’s paws to become dry and cracked. Wash their paws after walks to help protect them from sores and infection.