What Should Dogs Paws Look Like

It’s time to dispel this recurring misconception that dog owners frequently encounter! For a variety of causes, it’s typical for dog paw pads to grow dry, rough, or even cracked. But this is not how dog paw pads should be in a healthy environment! To the touch, a healthy paw pad ought to be smooth and unblemished.

Your dog may feel a great deal of discomfort from having rough paw pads, which may even cause compulsive licking and exacerbate the discomfort. It’s time to give your dog some all-natural, moisturizing comfort if you find that their paw pads are scratchy or dry.

How can I determine the health of my dog’s paws?

Regularly inspecting your dog’s paw pads should become a habit. Check for any wounds or foreign items by gently spreading out their toes and looking at the sides of their paw pads. Check for any swelling or discoloration while you’re at it. When you examine your dog’s foot, keep an eye out for any indications of pain or tenderness.

Avoid Walking Your Dog on Hot Pavement

Your dog’s paw pads may become burned by hot asphalt or pavement. Placing the back of your palm flat on the pavement and attempting to hold it there for seven seconds is a simple test you may use to determine if the ground is too warm for your dog to walk on. It’s too hot for your dog to walk on if it’s too hot for you to keep it there for the entire time! If the pavement is that hot, going for a dog walk or engaging in other outdoor activities would likely be too hot.

When it’s hot outside, keep your dog’s bathroom breaks brief, try to walk him on grass and in the shade, and keep plenty of cool, fresh water on hand so he can rehydrate frequently.

How to Care for Your Dog’s Paws in Winter

  • Trim any extra fur from your dog’s paw pads that is in between their toes. They won’t be as likely to accumulate paw “snowballs” between their toes if they do this. These snowballs are the result of snow and ice becoming encased in dog fur, melting due to their body heat, and then freezing again. Since snowballs are tugging the hair and pushing the toes of your dog’s feet apart, they can be quite painful and uncomfortable. See our recommendation for a cordless trimmer, which many groomers use, below.
  • During the winter, make sure your dog is outside wearing booties. Apply paw wax to their paws before venturing outside in the snow or ice if they don’t accept boots. Below are my best suggestions for dog boots, including some disposable choices.
  • After going outside, especially if your dog has been walking on salt-treated surfaces, wash and dry your dog’s paws. Use some paw wax to slip the ice out from between your dog’s toes if their paws have snowballs on them before giving them a warm water wash. You may quickly and easily clean off your dog’s paws with minimal mess by using a portable paw washer like the Dexas Mudbuster.

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Protect Your Dog’s Paws with Paw Wax

Paw pad waxes are a simple solution for protecting your dog’s paws and a perfect choice if your dog doesn’t accept booties or you can’t find any that stay on. Paw pad wax, such as Musher’s Secret (originally developed for working sled dogs), is simple to use and moisturizes your dog’s paw pad. This creates a barrier surrounding your dog’s foot that repels ice, salt, and dirt and aids in preventing burns to your dog’s paw pad. Imagine it as a boot that is invisible! Apply just before going outside on their paws.

Should You Moisturize Your Dog’s Paws?

If your dog’s paw pads are cracked, peeling, or overly dry, you should moisturize them. Stay away from human lotions and moisturizers and only use items designed exclusively for canine paws. If your dog already has soft paw pads, be careful not to overdo it because doing so can make them more prone to tearing or ripping when they walk on uneven surfaces.


Pets can experience a variety of allergies, just like humans. Pets with allergies will typically bite, lick, or chew on their paws in an effort to soothe the itching, which will be particularly bad in the case of the paws. Additionally, they are more likely to get persistent ear, skin, and anal gland infections. Excessive licking may occasionally irritate or harm the paw and increase the risk of subsequent bacterial and fungal infections. A veterinarian should examine a pet’s paws frequently to check for allergies.

Fungal and Bacterial Infections

On your pet’s paw pads, a wide variety of bacteria and fungus often reside. Occasionally, though, these organisms can get out of hand and infect your pet. Dogs frequently develop bacterial and fungal skin infections, which frequently affect the paws.

Paw licking and chewing, as well as redness, swelling, soreness, itching, and discharge, are indications of an infection. Itching, redness, and oily discharge are typical symptoms in the skin folds between the toes and other areas of the body. Brown darkening of the nails occasionally.

These infections can occasionally develop as a result of an allergy. The best person to diagnose an infection in your pets is their doctor, who can also recommend a number of treatments, including topical creams, wipes, and washes.

Nail issues

  • Long Toenails: Long toenails are frequent and can be quite harmful to your dog. Your dog may find it more challenging to walk if its nails are long. Hard surfaces that a dog’s nails come into touch with cause the nail to push back up into the nail bed, causing pain for the dog and possibly putting strain on all the toe joints. Long nails increase your dog’s risk of developing a broken or torn nail.
  • Ingrown Toenails: Painful ingrown toenails can develop on nails that have not been properly clipped or that have been naturally worn down by walking outside.
  • When your dog hooks their toenail on something, it can become torn or broken. A typical occurrence is when a dog enters the house from the outside abruptly limping and occasionally bleeding, and upon closer examination, an injured nail is discovered. The best person to handle torn and fractured nails is a veterinarian because they can be extremely painful and frequently bleed.

Burns and Blisters

Your pets cannot go outside if it is too hot for you to go barefoot. Before letting your dog walk on the pavement, always feel the surface with the bottom of your naked palm. It is too hot for your dog’s paws if you cannot comfortably press your palm against the pavement for 10 seconds or more.

Unfortunately, pets who tread on extremely hot surfaces can and can get burns on their paw pads. Paw pads with burns may appear bloated, red, or blistered. Burns on the paws are a major medical problem that has to be treated right away by a veterinarian.

Dry and Cracked Paw Pads

In order for pets to have some traction on flat surfaces, their paw pads are designed to be somewhat abrasive. But a number of things, like scorching pavement, cold weather, chemicals, dry air, contact with rough surfaces, and excessive licking, can result in dry, cracked paw pads. Paws that are dry and cracked can hurt your pet and increase their risk of infection.

What shade ought should a dog’s pads be?

The leathery areas right beneath the dog’s toes known as digital pads are what create the recognizable pawprints. Cats and other animals have five or more digital pads per limb compared to dogs’ four.

One dog may have a combination of all three colors of these pads, which might be anything from pink to white to black. Despite the fact that they have a leather-like feel, they are actually composed of epidermis, the same outer skin that covers the bottoms of our feet. They are ideal for surviving the cold, ice, and snow because they have fatty tissue that does not freeze.

Digital pads also control how much water the body loses and act as a barrier against catching infections and viruses from the ground.

Why do my dog’s paws seem strange?

The thick and crusty paw pads on your dog’s paws are a result of the skin disorder hyperkeratosis. Because it makes your dog’s paws appear to be developing an unnatural coating of hair, it is frequently referred to as “hairy dog feet.” (The same condition, known as nasal hyperkeratosis, can affect your dog’s nose.)

Although it may sound funny, canine hyperkeratosis can be quite unpleasant for your dog and has to be treated right away.

Although there is no known treatment for hyperkeratosis, there are things you can do to greatly improve your dog’s quality of life. Paw Soother, for instance, can offer your dog completely natural relief while minimizing or eliminating the adverse effects.

Should a dog’s paws be pink?

Okay, let’s move on to what we’re going to do. The potential causes of your dog’s pink and black-striped paws will be the main topic of this section. The section is separated into three categories, one for each reason, to make it easier to navigate. Here we go…

The Outer Skin Is Growing Thicker

Have you ever paid close attention to the texture of a baby’s feet? Here’s why I brought up little feet before I start emitting strange sensations. You see, babies don’t really start to move around until they are between six and seven months old. One of the reasons their feet are so soft is because of this.

Similar to how humans have delicate, pink paw pads at birth, pups too have them until they start getting very active. Even when it comes to exercise, canine experts advise only giving your puppy five minutes of activity twice day. Do you see what I’m saying?

Your dog won’t become a ferocious ball of energy racing around your house with the vigor of a thousand Red Bulls until they are between 12 and 18 months old.

When that occurs, nature intervenes and provides them with the canine equivalent of shoes. Your dog’s paws, which are formed of connective tissue and layers of insulating fat, will be protected from wounds and harmful bacteria in this way.

However, the outer skin doesn’t develop completely at once. It seems to be black because it grows in stages and typically has dark pigment. Your dog may have paws that are a lovely patchwork of pink and black for this reason. It’s known as marbling.

It’s not unusual, and there’s nothing to worry about as long as your pet isn’t in any pain and is content and healthy.

Your Dog’s Stratum Corneum Is Shedding

If your dog is fully grown and you discover that some of its typically dark paw pads are turning pink, it’s possible that something has caused the stratum corneum to fall off. Before you panic, realize that sounds worse than it is.

I’m going to go over each one of the possible causes for your pet’s darker outer paw pad skin to be peeling here.

Walking on Hot Pavement/Roads

Everyone is probably aware of the urban heat island effect and how roads and concrete contribute to cities becoming warmer than they should be in the summer. It is therefore extremely unwise to go barefoot on pavement or roadways. Unless, of course, you deliberately intend to blister and burn your feet.

However, I digress. One of the main causes of stratum corneum damage is letting your dog wander on highways without any safety equipment, such as dog shoes.

It is easy to understand what occurs when your pet walks on a heated surface: the skin on its paws blisters (which is undoubtedly uncomfortable), then peels off to be replaced by new skin.

Walking Through Puddles and Muddy Water

Allowing your dog to walk through water puddles on the road can also cause the outer skin on your dog’s paw to peel and hurt. Although it may not seem particularly risky, stagnant water is actually a haven for many microorganisms.

When your dog’s feet come into contact with water, even the smallest scrape or split in the skin can allow bacteria to enter and cause havoc. The bacteria on their feet can also enter your pet’s system since dogs lick themselves clean, which increases the risk of problems like vomiting, diarrhea, and worse.

Sensitive Skin

The stratum corneum of your dog may have been damaged for a variety of reasons, including sensitive skin. While all dogs should have thick outer skin on their paw pads to protect their feet, not all dogs are made equal.

Others canines are more prone to skin allergies than others; some have inherently sensitive skin from birth. This means that spending too much time outside can lead to shedding of the skin on your dog’s paws.

Your Dog’s Paws Are Naturally Pink and Black

It’s rather typical for itsy bitsy puppies to have light-colored fur and pink paws. Typically, as dogs become older, their fur and paws get darker.

Your dog’s beans may occasionally become brown rather than black. Some dog breeds have brown noses as well as brown paw pads, so this is entirely genetic as well.

If your adult dog carries a gene that prevents the skin on their paws from developing pigment, they may still be able to maintain their adorable dual-colored paws. Such a dog should be right up your alley if you’re an X-Men comic book lover, thanks to its mutant genes!