Why Are My Dog’s Paws Swollen?
It can be frightening to find that something is wrong with your dog, especially when they are exhibiting unusual symptoms like swollen paws. The good news is that swollen paws in dogs do not necessarily mean that they are seriously sick or injured.
Dogs can have swollen paws for a wide variety of reasons. Most commonly dogs will have swollen paws because they have allergies or have been bitten by an insect. However, more serious causes can potentially lead to a dog having swollen paws as well.
Here we will be explaining all the possible causes of swollen paws in dogs. We will also be explaining how swollen paws in dogs are treated and when you should see a vet. Let’s get into it!
There are five main reasons why dogs get swollen paws. These reasons include some that are much more common than others. For example, dogs get allergies much more often than they have bone fractures in their feet. This is a good thing to point out, and most of the time you do not need to panic if your dog has swollen feet. Here are the five causes of swollen paws in dogs.
1. Allergies and Excessive Paw Licking
Allergies and excessive paw licking are extremely common ways that dogs develop swollen feet. Here are some additional signs of allergies in dogs to look out for in addition to swollen feet.
- Overall itchiness and scratching in other areas
- Hot spots or hives
- Gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhea)
- Swelling around the face and ears
- Itchy, runny, and red eyes
- Ear infections
While this swelling is not necessarily a major medical concern, it can cause your dog discomfort. As a result, it is still a good idea to take your dog to the vet if you suspect that they have allergies. Luckily, allergies in dogs are usually easy for vets to treat.
2. Insect Stings and Bites
Like in people, insect stings and bites can easily cause swelling and redness. So, if your dog has swollen feet then there could be a chance that this is the cause. If you are concerned about your dog being bitten or stung by an insect then calling your vet can help. They can help you discern if the situation is serious or not and provide you with advice on what to do next.
3. Burned Feet
Burned feet can also cause a dog’s paws to swell. Most of the time dogs will burn their feet on hot asphalt during the hot, summer months. There will likely be some other signs of a burn in addition to swelling. Here are some other signs of burned paws on dogs.
- An extremely red paw (may or may not have blisters)
- A bleeding paw pad
- Excessive licking on paws
- Hiding the paw
- Signs of pain such as limping and yelping when using the paw
Keeping your dog off of the asphalt during hot and sunny weather can help you prevent your dog from getting burned feet. One good test is to check if the pavement is too hot for your own bare feet. If it’s too hot for you, it is typically too hot for them. If your dog has burned feet already, then it is a good idea to call your vet for further advice.
4. Puncture wounds and Foreign Bodies
Injuries like puncture wounds and foreign bodies embedded in the foot can cause a dog’s paw to swell as well. You may notice blood, the foreign body itself, or signs of pain in your dog in addition to the swelling. These are serious injuries in dogs that can cause a lot of pain and become infected if not properly treated. As a result, it is crucial that you take your dog to the vet immediately if you notice an injury like this.
5. Fractures and Broken Bones
A fracture or broken bone will cause swelling in any place on a dog. Therefore, broken bones in a dog’s paw could potentially be the cause of the swelling. Most of the time the only other signs of this issue will be signs of pain from your dog. However, this is a much rarer cause of swollen dog paws than most of the other causes mentioned previously. That being said, you should take your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect that they have a broken bone.
There are some ways that you can help treat your dog’s swollen paws at home. For instance, gently soaking your dog’s swollen paw in warm water with Epsom salt can help soothe the discomfort and allow the swelling to recede. Be careful not to have this water too hot. It’s a good idea to check and see if the water is comfortable for your hand before using it.
Benadryl can sometimes help reduce symptoms of allergies in dogs. It may help them recover from a minor insect bite or sting as well. However, you should always speak with your vet before giving any medication to your dog. This way they can determine if it is safe for your dog’s situation and advise you on the proper dosage.
In some cases, yes, swollen dog paws can heal on their own. This is mainly in the case of minor insect bites and stings, minor burns, and allergies once they have been addressed. However, it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to swollen paws, and it is still a good idea to contact your vet even if you believe the cause of the swelling to not be serious.
Yes, you should always, at least, contact your vet about swollen paws. If your dog seems to be in a lot of pain or has a serious injury, then going to an emergency vet is a good idea. Other conditions are less serious, but can still cause your dog a lot of discomfort. As a result, it is still usually a good idea to see a vet about more minor problems as well.
Shawsheen Animal Hospital is located in Tewksbury, MA and is ready to see you and your pets. If your dog’s paws are swollen, or if their behavior has change, then a visit to the vet may be in order. Call us today at (978) 851-5558, or Request an Appointment online.