Why Is My Dog’s Paw Pad Swollen?

If you notice that your dog’s paw pads are swollen, it could be a sign of something serious. But before you panic and rush your pup to the vet, it’s important to determine if there is an underlying medical problem causing those puffy paws.

Read on as a local vet talks about some common causes of swollen paw pads in dogs.

A Splinter

Splinters can be painful, but they’re also dangerous if they cause an infection. Dogs are especially prone to splinter injuries because of the rough surfaces they walk on. Splinters can become infected, and if they’re not removed correctly, they can cause serious damage to your dog’s paw pads.


If you notice that your dog’s paws are swollen, especially if they’re hot to the touch and appear red or irritated, they may have an infection. In this case, it’s important to take action quickly to ensure that your dog gets the treatment they need.

Bacterial or fungal infections can affect your dog’s paws and lead to swelling and discomfort. Unfortunately, both types are common in dogs. Symptoms of bacterial infections include:

  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain

Fungal infections may also cause inflammation, but they’re more likely to be associated with itching than with pain or swelling.

Both kinds of infections can spread from dog to dog through direct contact with an infected animal or its feces or urine. However, fungal infections tend to be transferred more easily than bacterial ones because they don’t require direct contact between two animals for transmission (one animal can pick up spores from the environment).

If you notice that your dog’s paw has swollen overnight or within 24 hours, this could mean that he has an infection or some other condition that requires immediate treatment.

Underlying Medical Problems

So what kinds of underlying medical problems can cause a dog’s paw pads to swell up? Arthritis can affect the joints in your dog’s paws, causing pain and inflammation. If your dog has arthritis, it’s likely that he’ll start limping on one or more of his paws.

Other medical problems that can cause pain and swelling in a dog’s paws include:

  • Tumors (cancerous or benign)
  • Diabetes
  • Injuries
  • Allergies
  • Poisoning
  • Inflammatory diseases (such as lupus)

Things to Consider

If your dog isn’t limping or showing other signs of pain but his or her paw pads are swollen, call your veterinarian just to be sure.

Our Advice on Why My Dog’s Paw Pad Swollen in 2024

What signs indicate a possible infection in a dog’s paw pad?

If a dog’s paw pad appears swollen, particularly if it’s warm to the touch, red, or irritated, these could be telltale signs of an infection. Infections can lead to discomfort and require prompt veterinary attention to prevent further complications. Symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, redness, and pain are common indicators of bacterial infections, while fungal infections might also cause itching alongside inflammation. It’s crucial to monitor for these symptoms and seek veterinary care to ensure your dog receives the necessary treatment to heal and return to their happy, active self.

How do bacterial and fungal infections differ in symptoms and transmission in dogs?

Bacterial infections in dogs typically present with inflammation, swelling, redness, and pain. They can spread through direct contact with infected animals or their secretions. Fungal infections, while also causing inflammation, are more likely to lead to itching rather than pain or swelling. Fungal spores can be picked up from the environment, making these infections easier to contract without direct animal-to-animal contact. Both types of infections require prompt veterinary attention to prevent further health complications and to ensure proper treatment and care for the affected dog.

What urgent signs should prompt immediate veterinary care for a swollen paw pad?

If your dog’s paw pad swells suddenly, especially if it becomes hot to the touch, shows redness, or your dog exhibits signs of severe pain, these are urgent signs indicating the need for immediate veterinary care. Other critical symptoms include limping, inability to bear weight on the affected paw, excessive licking or biting at the paw, or any discharge from the area. These symptoms could indicate a serious infection or other underlying health issues requiring prompt, professional assessment and treatment to prevent complications.

What underlying medical problems could cause swelling in a dog’s paw pads?

Underlying medical issues that can lead to swollen paw pads in dogs include arthritis, affecting the joints and causing pain and inflammation. Other conditions, such as tumors, both cancerous and benign, diabetes, injuries, allergies, poisoning, and inflammatory diseases like lupus, can also result in swelling. Each of these conditions affects the paw differently, leading to discomfort and potentially compromising the dog’s mobility. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial to managing these conditions effectively and ensuring your dog’s comfort and health.

Why is it critical to consult a vet if a dog’s paw pads are swollen without apparent pain?

Even if a dog’s paw pads are swollen without apparent pain, it’s critical to consult a veterinarian because this could be a sign of an underlying health issue that isn’t immediately obvious. Swelling can indicate infections, allergies, or more serious conditions like autoimmune diseases or tumors. Early veterinary evaluation ensures that any potential problems are identified and treated promptly, preventing further complications. It’s always better to err on the side of caution to maintain your dog’s health and well-being.

And if you have more questions or wish to schedule Fido for a checkup, don’t hesitate to call us, your local vet in Easley, SC, anytime!

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