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How Do I Treat My Dog’s Infected Paw?

Chihuahua with red bandage on paw, laying down sleeping

Although paw infections are quite common, many owners don’t give much attention to their dog’s feet. Even a cut during a walk can end up in an infected paw if it is not treated properly. Therefore, it’s extremely important to take proper care of your dog’s paw to keep your pup healthy. Keep reading to know the causes, symptoms, and treatments for your dog’s infected paw.

Causes of Dog Paw Infection

Most dogs develop a paw infection at least once in their lifetime. Some of the most common causes of dog paw infections are discussed below.

Injuries

Dogs don’t have the luxury of wearing shoes and their feet are extremely vulnerable to injuries. This gives pathogens (bacteria and fungi) the path to enter the body of your pup. Once they are inside the tissue of the paw, they can create a lot of trouble for your canine friend.

Licking

Other than that, infection-causing bacteria can also enter your dog’s paw through his saliva. Paw licking is a part of the self-grooming routine of every dog. Therefore, if the bacteria is present inside your pup’s mouth, it can be transferred during this process.

Allergies

Human hands examining between a dog's toes

Different types of allergies can also lead to a dog paw infection. Dogs suffering from an allergy tend to lick their paws excessively in an attempt to relieve the itching. In the process, they damage the protective tissue, which makes them more vulnerable to infections. Likewise, licking also increases the amount of moisture on the paws that makes them ideal for the growth of fungus.

Flea Invasions

Just like allergies, flea attacks can also make your dog lick his/her paws, obsessively. Hence, you must be extremely vigilant about fleas and ticks to keep your furry friend safe.

Weakened Immune System

Last but not least, dogs with negotiated immune systems are much more likely to develop paw infections. This is because the pathogens attacking your pup can easily overcome the defensive mechanism of his/her body.

How Do I Know If My Dog’s Paw Is Infected?

open wound between a dogs toes

Every owner must develop the habit of checking his/her dog’s paws regularly. This will prove quite helpful in the early detection and timely treatment of paw infections. The following are some common signs that indicate your dog’s paw is infected.

  • Swelling
  • Injury (cut, scrapes, etc.)
  • Limping
  • Foul smell
  • Pus
  • Itching
  • Obsessive licking

What Does An Infected Paw Pad Look Like?

Human hands exploring infected dog pads

Infections caused by yeast or bacteria can create evident abnormalities on your dog’s infected paw. For example, scratches, spots on the pads, and pus are common indicators of an infection. Likewise, the infected paw pad may have a reddish appearance with a swelling.

Your dog may also show some other signs of distress, such as moaning while walking. It is highly advisable to contact your vet immediately if you notice these signs in your pup. Even if the cause is not evident, professional advice helps you to ensure proper treatment of your dog’s infected paw.

Dog Paw Infection Treatment

Bull dog having paw treated

Once the infection has been identified, you should start the treatment of your dog as soon as possible. Some of the common treatments of dog paw infection, including a home remedy, are as follows.

Use an Antibiotic Medication  ­

In the case of bacterial infections, you should start by cleaning the dirt from the infected paw. Firstly, wash it with clean water and then follow it up by cleaning the wound with a hydrogen peroxide solution. The use of hydrogen peroxide kills the bacteria on the wound. After that, you can either apply an antibiotic ointment or use oral antibiotics for at least 4-6 weeks.

Cephalexin or Clindamycin are common antibiotics that are used to treat bacterial infections.­ However, you should NEVER give an antibiotic to your pup without consulting your vet.Additionally, you can use a water-resistant bootie to keep the affected foot dry and tidy.

Can You Use Epsom Salt on a Dog Paw Infection?

A bowl full of Epsom Salt on a wooden table

Yes, you can because Epsom salt is one of the effective ingredients to treat a dog paw infection. You can use it with warm water to soothe the infected paw of your pup. Add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt for every four cups of water in a container and let it dissolve. Once the salt has dissolved completely, gently soak your dog’s infected paw for about 10-15 minutes.

Epsom salt can pull out the pus from the infected paw to reduce inflammation and support the healing process. Make sure to dry the paws with a warm towel (after soaking) to avoid the possible build-up of pus.

Home Remedy for Dog Paw Infection

black and white photo of a Salt shaker spilled over

Start by examining the dog’s infected paw by clipping the fur. Eliminate any dirt or debris that is there on the paw. Now, add 8 cups of hot water and 8 tablespoons of table salt into a small bucket. Drench the dog’s foot in the water until it is hot (not sizzling) to relieve the pain and itchy sensation. Do it for about 20 minutes (3 times a day) to help your pup deal with the discomfort of the infection.

NOTE: Always consult your vet before trying any treatment for your dog’s infected paw.  

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