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Swollen Dog Paw (on Top, Around Nails, Between Toes): What to do

Swollen dog paws is frequent since we all know dogs walk without any form of shoes. The toes can be easily attacked by insects or can be knocked and get injured. When you notice that a dog has a sudden urge to chew or bite its toe, it is a sign that something went wrong. Hair lose, inflammation and redness between the toes may indicate an infection thus need to consult a vet.

Why is a Dog Paw Swollen?

 Swollen dog paw is very uncomfortable and painful to the dog. You may notice that your dog is limping or is stagnant at one place because it is avoiding make a step. There are several factors that cause inflammation on the paws of dogs.

1.      Injured Nails

Any kind of trauma on the nails of a dog will cause swelling around the toe attached to the affected nail. This trauma can be caused by an injury, a tumour, a bacterial infection, a fungal infection or allergy to chemicals that the dog might have stepped on while roaming around.

2.      Foreign object

Objects like sharps wooden sticks, thorns or broken pieces of glass can stick on or between the toes of a dog’s paw. These are likely to affect only one side of the paw. If you notice your dog is limping or walking uncomfortably then you need to check for any foreign object between their toes. Remove this object gently and assure the dog that you mean good from your body language or from the way you hold it while getting rid of the intruding object.

3.      Bites and stings

Your dog might get bitten by an insect or spider or get stung by a bee or wasp. If this is the case then the inflammation will surface on the upper part of the paw because they were; likely stepping on the ground when this happened.

4.      Fractured Toe

A dog’s toe can get fractured on one side of the paw. This will cause selling around the affected area and is not likely to spread to other parts of the legs. Taking good care of the broken toe will get your dog up and running again.

5.      Tumours

Tumours that occur in between the toes of a dog are most common in older dogs, over 10 years old. Some of these tumours can be cancerous. Your vet should be able to distinguish between non-cancerous tumours and cancerous tumours. Early treatment of cancerous tumours will prevent them from spreading to other toes. Dog breeds like Labradors, Standard poodles and black coloured dogs are always at a risk of this.

6.      Allergies

 Just like humans, dogs also react to allergens. Most of these allergens are encountered in the environment. They include pollen grains from flowers, grass; plants like poison ivy and chemicals found in the products used to wash dogs and last but not least processed dog food. Inflammation due to allergic reaction tends to occur on the front part of the paws, back of the ears and the trunk especially on the belly. Ensure you seek medical care for your pet whenever you notice red rashes on the belly or paws.

7.      Burns and abrasions

Friction between the paws and the surface in which the dog walks on daily is likely to bruise their paws and cause irritation. Walking on hot concrete or tarmac road on a hot sunny day will cause burns on the paws of your pet. This will affect all the four paws.

You should regulate the kind of surface your dog is walking on especially during summer. Do not walk a dog in hot weather as this can cause heat stroke. There is a case where a dog died after a lunchtime walk due to heat stroke.

8.      Over-Exercising

Too much of anything is dangerous. You should exercise your dog regularly for a short period of time. It is unfair to wait for a long time then over-exercise it for a longer time. This does not help; it will make the dog exhausted and develop discomfort on the paws.

9.      Heart Problem 

After exercising your dog, you may notice that it develops swollen paws and coughs unusually. This is an indication that there is an underlying heart problem. Ensure you seek medical advice as soon as you can before the condition gets out of hand.

10.  Infections

Swollen dog paws can be caused by either bacterial of fungal infection. They both cause inflammation and are mostly as a result of secondary infection. Bacterial infections will be puss filled and very painful. Fungal infection will be swollen and itchy. You can notice the above symptoms from the signs of discomfort that your favourite pet is displaying. The good news is both can be treated using antibiotics and antifungal medication. Your vet will treat your dog and advice you on how to take care of it at home in order to quicken the healing process.

What to do for Swollen Dog Paws – Remedy

Some of the causes of swollen dog paws can be treated at home. These home remedies are meant to reduce the inflammation, prevent itchiness and relieve pain. Before embarking on any of these remedies it is important to check out for any foreign objects on the paws of your pet.

Insect bites and stings can also be treated using home remedies and they get better within a day or two. In case of any complication or infections ensure you take your dog to the vet first.

According to petMD, “If you can see an obvious lesion, the swelling does not quickly disappear, or the dog continues to favour the paw, call your vet for further advice. Veterinary attention in these cases is almost always in order.” The following are some of the home remedies that are most effective for swollen dog paws.

1.      Epsom Salt Bath

Epsom salt works as a pain reliever and relaxes tension in the muscles. It reduces inflammation and quickens the healing process. Insect bites, fractured toes and burns should be treated using Epsom salt. Epsom salt contains potassium, nitrates and chlorides that are absorbed by the skin works from within.

These salts will rejuvenate the skin and adjust the pH level in order to accommodate a larger population of good bacteria. More good bacteria on the skin means fewer chances of both yeast and bacterial infection.

What you need

  • Epsom Salt
  • Basin
  • Warm Water
  • A clean towel 

What to do

  • Pour a litre of warm water in a basin
  • Add 5 teaspoons of Epsom salt and stir until the salt completely dissolves in the water
  • Place the dog inside the basin and let it stand in the water such that the paws are fully immersed in the Epsom salt water.
  • Try to distract and encourage the dog to stay in that position for a few minutes
  • Remove the paws from the water and dry them using a clean towel. Remember dampness causes fungal infection.
  • Follow this routine at least thrice a day until your dog is able to walk again comfortably.

2.      Iodine

Iodine is easily available over the counter. It is a pain reliever and also an anti-inflammatory agent. This means that it will reduce the size of the swollen dog paw and eventually get rid of it. Iodine will also help in drying up any abrasion.

It prevents itchiness caused by fungal infection on the paws of your pet. Besides all this iodine helps in washing off any foreign object that is stuck in between your dog’s toes.it is an ideal remedy for a wide range of causes of swollen dog paw.

Requirement

  • Alcohol free -Iodine
  • Clean lukewarm water
  • A basin
  • A clean piece of old clothing that you can throw away after it has been stained by iodine

What to do

  • Pour clean lukewarm water into a basin. Ensure the basin is at least half filled such that the dog’s will be fully immersed in the water
  • Add a bottle cup full of alcohol free- iodine and observe that the water changes colour to at least light brown
  • Insert the affected dog paw in the water and try your best to keep the dog’s paw submerged in the alcohol-free iodine water for at least 2minutes
  • Remove the paw and dry it with a clean piece of old clothing that you wouldn’t mind getting rid of after being stained by iodine. Ensure you keep the paw very dry because damp paws are susceptible to fungal infection.
  • Alternatively, you can soak a cotton pad with iodine and wrap it round the dog’s paw for a few minutes.
  • Repeat the above procedure thrice a day until you observe a significant change.
  • Withdraw the use of iodine if you notice signs of allergic reaction after use. Consult your veterinarian immediately.

3.      Apple Cider Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide

Apple cider vinegar combined with hydrogen peroxide is an effective method of treating fungal infection on dog paws. It contains antifungal, anti-bacterial and antiviral agents that can fight off infections on the inflamed   paws.

This combination will also get rid of any bad odour caused by yeast infection on the paws of your dog. Ensure that you use organic unpasteurised apple cider vinegar

What you need

  • organic unpasteurised apple cider vinegar
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Warm water
  • A basin
  • A clean piece of cloth

How to use

  • Pour clean water halfway into a basin
  • Add a cup of organic unpasteurised apple cider vinegar and a cup of hydrogen peroxide to the water and stir to mix (You can use lemon juice instead of hydrogen peroxide)
  • Immerse the affected paw in the solution for a minute
  • Remove the swollen dog paw and dry it with a clean piece of cloth
  • Repeat this process at least three time a day until your dog heals.
  • Take your dog for check out by a vet just to ensure it is okay

4.      Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea is an herbal medicine that have astringent properties. This means it constricts body tissues and reduce inflammation in the process. It also reduces itching due to fungal infection and saves your dog the agony of constantly chewing and licking the affected paw.

Requirement

  • Chamomile tea bags
  • Clean lukewarm water
  • A basin
  • A clean piece of old clothing

How to use it

  • Pour hot water into a basin
  • Add  at least 5 chamomile tea bags in the water
  • Let the tea bag steep as the water cool down to Luke warm
  • Immerse the affected dog paw in the tea and distract your dog so that it keep the paw in the solution for at least  2 minutes
  • Remove the paw and dry it with a clean piece of cloth
  • Repeat this process thrice a day

Conclusion

Treatment of swollen dog paws depends on the cause. After careful examination your vet should be able to diagnose the swollen dog paw. Antifungal and antibiotics are used to cure infections. Inflammations are managed using oral corticosteroids or injections. Other causes like tumours, heart disease and fractured toes may require surgery or more complex treatment methods.

According to wagwalking.com, “In order to properly care for the damaged paws, they should be cleaned, inspected, and moisturized regularly, and socks or shoes designed to protect a dog’s paws may be recommended to protect the healing tissues.

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