Dog Paw Problems Symptoms and How to Treat Them

Pitbulls are curious dogs. They love romping around the yard or digging through a pile of things that interest them. In the process, their paws take the beating of all the sharp objects and harmful chemical they got exposed to. This will lead to various dog paw problems symptoms. If not treated right away, it will result in more serious health problems.

So for this post, I’ll discuss some of the most common paw problems that my Pitties have experienced together with the remedy I used as advised by the vet.

Fungal infections

Fungal infections are one of the most common paw problems Pitbulls tend to experience. If the doggo has another underlying condition, the yeast organisms will multiply and spread all throughout their legs.

Most of the time, fungal infections are brought by a form of allergy. Aside from external factors, the dog’s diet can sometimes be the culprit.

Take note that ringworm found in the soil or transferred by another animal can also lead to an infected paw. Sometimes, the infected paw will have an abscess or become obviously swollen.

💊Diagnosis and treatment

For fungal infections, the veterinarian would recommend topical products like shampoos or wipes to kill the fungi. If this doesn’t work, the vet will run another series of tests to determine if any underlying condition is causing the infection to linger.

Anti-itch medications and steroids can be used. Also, you might need to reassess the diet of your pooch to know if the fungal infection in their paws is secondary to an allergic reaction.

For ringworm-related infections, medicated baths and topical products should do the trick. Just take note that ringworm can spread to other animals and worse, humans.

During the treatment, your dog should refrain from licking or chewing the infected paw. A dog cone will be useful here.

dog paw problems symptoms


Pododermatitis is a general term that pertains to the swelling of feet in dogs. The causes of pododermatitis can range from typical allergies to cancer. It’s important that you seek the help of a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Some symptoms of pododermatitis include ulcers, lesions, and other forms of inflammation on the paws. Tumors or nodules are also critical signs that your dog has chronic pododermatitis.

Usually, pododermatitis can be immune-mediated, environmental, allergic, hormonal/metabolic, and tumors.

💊Diagnosis and treatment

The vet will conduct a test called cytology. This is the process on which skin scrapings or hair pluckings are examined for the possible presence of inflammatory cells. This includes parasites, bacteria, or even Demodex mites.

After the diagnosis, the vet will recommend various options. This is, of course, based on the main cause of the condition. If your dog was found to have cancer, a chemotherapy plan will be underway.

For immune-mediated causes like vasculitis, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and the likes, I’m afraid that there’s no cure. Still, the vet can help you in managing the symptoms and reducing the discomfort of your pooch.

Just like most dog paw problems symptoms, pododermatitis can be eased with the use of medicated baths and topical products.

Bacterial infections

Like fungal infections, this condition is caused by organisms that induce itchiness, inflammation, and discomfort for your dog.

Also, bacterial infections can be a secondary condition to allergies and other health problems. Some of the symptoms of this condition are excessive licking, paw abscess, itching, redness, inflammation, and pain.

If not treated right away, this can lead to more painful conditions that will branch out to other infections. For bacterial infections that aren’t secondary to other conditions, it can be treated with topical medications.

💊Diagnosis and treatment

Your dog’s vet will need a tissue sample to examine first. This will determine if there’s indeed a bacterial infection and what kind of bacteria is infesting your dog’s paw.

After identifying the cause of the infection, the vet will likely recommend topical antibiotics and ointments. Some would pair it with antibacterial soaks or medicated baths.

In the case of topical treatments, you have to prevent your dog from licking the affected area. The bacteria in their saliva might defeat the treatment. Also, topical products aren’t supposed to be ingested in any way.

If your dog’s condition worsens, phone the vet right away. Your pooch might have an underlying condition that’s worsening the paw problem.

Cracked and dry paws

This is one of the most common paw problems that I face with my Pitbulls. Although dogs’ paws are supposed to be rough and stiff, it’s not exempted from the harm that chemicals, extreme temperatures, and blunt force might bring.

Cracked and dry paws might look less evil than other conditions, but it will cause your dog too much pain. The cracking will worsen and it will soon become an open wound where bacteria and fungi can enter freely.

If not addressed early on, cracked paws can become a fully inflamed infection.

💊Diagnosis and treatment

If the vet ruled out any health conditions that are causing the drying and cracking of your dog’s paws, they will recommend a paw balm. This wax product will keep your doggo’s paws moisturized. It’s like the chapstick of your dog’s feet.

I personally use the Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax. It’s a 100% wax-based cream packed with Vitamin E and other nourishing substances.

This acts as a semi-permeable shield against the hot pavement, sand, ice, salt, and other harsh elements.

My dog’s vet strongly discourages the use of human lotion or even the chapstick you use on your lips. These aren’t made for dogs and it might do more harm than help in the long run.


Ticks and fleas can wreak havoc on your dog’s paws if you don’t know how to remove it properly. The bites will pile up and lead to lesions which will become the entry point of bacteria and fungi.

Mite infestations can also take place in your dog’s paws which will lead to hair loss, scaling, and swelling. You need the help of your dog’s vet to determine what kind of mites are on your dog’s paws and what treatment will work in removing it.

💊Diagnosis and treatment

The diagnosis will start by having the vet check your dog’s paws. If ticks are visible, the vet can recommend a medicated bath or a way to remove the parasites off.

Make sure that you have the tick removed properly using tweezers. Always grip the tick from the head and then pull it out slowly. Make sure that the head gets detached from the body to kill the parasite.

You can also soak the body of the ticks on alcohol. Just make sure that it will never have the chance to crawl back to your dog’s skin.

If you’re not sure how to deal with parasites, I suggest that you have it professionally removed. Veterinarians can schedule you and your dog for a series of treatments to remove the parasites fully.

Cuts and injuries

Cuts or injuries are inevitable in a breed like Pitbull. These dogs are burly and their muscular bodies make them really strong. Even rough playtime can give them injuries.

Sharp edges may cut their paws. Another thing is that some dog owners hit the quick when cutting their dog’s toenails. This will lead to bleeding which your vet needs to address. Make sure that quick injuries are treated properly to prevent the onset of infections.

💊Diagnosis and treatment

If your doggo went home with a bruised or cut paw, it’s possible that it got into a sharp object. You can phone your vet to ask for home remedies that you can apply. Minor cuts don’t always need the personal care of a vet.

Also, it will help to clean your yard if you’re letting your dog romp in it. Remove any broken glass, burrs, rocks, sticks, metal sheets, and spikes that can impale their paws.

Take note that paw waxes can’t stop your dog from sustaining paw pad injuries. Just like taking care of kids, you always have to keep an eye on your pet.

Just remember that if the bleeding isn’t stopping, it’s best to bring your dog to a vet clinic.

Ingrown toenails

For first-time Pitbull owners, ingrown toenails are the most common paw problems they will face. Ingrown nails happen when you fail your dog’s nails regularly. The overgrown nails will start to curl and dig to their skin.

In the wild, dogs scratch to wear their nails down, thus preventing the occurrence of ingrown nails. So if you don’t cut your dog’s toenails regularly and you don’t give it enough exercise, you’re doing your pet a big disservice.

💊Diagnosis and treatment

Ingrown toenails aren’t actually an emergency situation if it hasn’t caused infections yet. However, if the nails already dug deep into your pet’s skin, it’s best to let the vet remove it for you.

The vet may administer a local anesthetic on your dog’s paws. After this, scissor-type nail clippers will be used to trim the extra length of the toenail.

If the tip of the toenail remains stuck in the skin, a tweezer can be used to pull it out. After removing the ingrown nail, the vet will disinfect the paw and bandage the wound. A topical product might be recommended to help the wound heal faster.

dog paw problems symptoms

Burns and frostbite

During summer, the leading injury that dogs get is a burned paw pad. Imagine yourself walking on the street without wearing any slippers or shoes. This is exactly what dogs feel when you walk them out without any foot protection.

The same goes in winter. The snow can freeze their toes and with the salt mixed on it, it will lead to irritations. Frostbite is like a cold burn that also hurts and damages your dog’s paws.

💊Diagnosis and treatment

If you see burns or scalds on your dog’s paws, you can ask the vet if you can use topical products to ease the pain. Bandaging the paw might be needed as well to serve as a barrier for the skin.

Usually, veterinarians will prescribe pain medication and the use of paw wax. Some pet owners put dog socks on their pooches’ paws before letting them out in the snow or hot pavement. The same goes for frostbite.

Tips to keep your dog’s paw healthy

To prevent or minimize the occurrence of injuries on our Pitty’s paws, I suggest the following tips:

  1. Give them regular pedicure sessions : Never let your dog’s toenails grow too long that it’s starting to tap on the floor. Aside from damaging your flooring, it will also hurt them. Always make it a habit to check your dog’s toenails and trim it as necessary.
  2. Mind the weather : If you know that it will be very hot outside, let the temperature subside first before taking your dog for a walk. You can also apply a paw wax or make your dog wear socks.
  3. Always check the paws : Make paw checks part of your dog grooming routine. Many paw infections could have been prevented if pet owners just pay attention to the dog paw problems symptoms early on. If you see blisters or growth in your dog’s paws, ask the help of a vet right away.
  4. Control playtime :  Sometimes, playtime can result in paw injuries too. I suggest that you control the playtime session and stop if you notice that your doggo is starting to be rough. This is a matter of preventing injuries and teaching the dog to obey.
  5. Keep it moisturized : Like our lips, dog’s paw pads can crack if not moisturized. Applying paw wax regularly even if your dog isn’t going out is advisable. You can also use essential oils as cleared by your dog’s vet.


By watching for dog paw problems symptoms, you can treat the condition right away. Even if your doggo doesn’t have problems with its feet, taking a proactive approach will save you and the pooch from future problems. What do you think of my tips here? Let me know below!

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