dog with his paw in the air

When you get a pet, you commit to taking care of that animal head to toe. While it may not be a body part you think about a lot, even your pet’s paws are important. Paw diseases in pets can and do occur, and our expert team at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center is here to help explain how you can take care of those adorable tootsies. 

Paw Diseases in Pets

Your pet’s paws come into contact with every environment they explore. Unfortunately, besides routine cuts, scrapes, and fractures, there are actual disease processes that can affect their function and make your pet miserable.

Perhaps most often we see pets who suffer from some type of allergic dermatitis. Because the paws contact many allergens, they are often affected by allergies. The itchiness, inflammation and resulting licking can also tailspin into the overgrowth of yeast and bacteria or even infection. 

Less commonly, the paws can be affected by infectious organisms including skin mites (mange) or dermatophytes (ringworm).

Systemic diseases like auto-immune disorders, liver problems, and endocrine issues can also result in trouble with the paws, pads, and nails themselves. 

The paws can also be affected by growths such as cancer and cystic masses that can cause discomfort or destruction of the local tissues. 

Many paw diseases in pets can appear similar, so you as a pet owner must know when you should be worried. Make an appointment to see us any time that your pet is:

  • Licking or chewing the paws more than normal
  • Limping or otherwise uncomfortable
  • Experiencing redness, swelling, or other changes to the paws, pads, or nail beds
  • Seeming hesitant to allow you to look at the paws
  • Having loss of fur or changes in the color of the fur on the feet
  • Exhibiting a new lump or bump
  • Having trouble with breaking nails

Protecting Those Paws

Of course, some paw conditions can’t be prevented. That’s not to say, though, that you are powerless against paw diseases in pets. 

By taking an active role in your pet’s care, you can ward off some problems. A good wellness care routine can help you (and us) detect trouble early on and address it before it becomes more serious.

Protect your pet’s paws by:

  • Trimming their nails regularly to avoid snags and breaks
  • Grooming excess hair from between the toes to avoid slipping and irritation from material that may become caught there
  • Paying attention to what is normal for your pet’s paws
  • Keeping your pet’s wellness visits as recommended
  • Protecting your pet’s paws from things like hot surfaces, sharp surfaces like gravel and ice, and irritants like road salt
  • Calling us right away if something seems wrong

The paws are so important, and your pet depends on you to help care for them. By doing your due diligence and paying attention to subtle changes, you can make sure that you don’t drop the ball when it comes to paw care.