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Causes of Lumps on Dog Paw Pads (Plus Treatment Information)

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.

Lumps, Bumps, and Growths on Dog Paw Pads

After you've ruled out other possible causes of your dog limping, you will want to thoroughly inspect your dog's paw pads for lumps, bumps, growths, and any other abnormalities.

Things get tricky down there, so you want to be in a room with very good light and you do not want to miss hidden areas, such as between toes or under the paw pad's hairs.

If you notice anything unusual, don't just assume it's caused by local irritation and try to treat it on your own. Yes, soaking the foot in Epsom salts may help if the bump is caused by some sort of foreign body stuck in the paw pad such as a thorn.

However, just as in humans, no strange growths should go without veterinary attention. The causes of lumps can vary from minor conditions to some very serious ones which can be deadly.

Minor Causes of Lumps on Dog Paw Pads

As mentioned, any limping and all strange lumps on a dog's paw pads need to be investigated by a vet. Here are some of the possible causes. Only your vet will be able to properly diagnose your pooch.

Foreign Body

A common cause of lumps are foreign bodies in the paw pad. Common foreign bodies are seeds and grass awns. These create a local reaction and swelling.

Home Treatment

Soaking the foot in a warm, Epson salt bath for 5-10 minutes twice daily can help draw the infection out and increase the speed of the healing process.

Drying the feet and then applying plain Neosporin can also help.

The foreign body will either work its way out or will form an abscess (a pus-filled growth) and require antibiotics. For more information on methods of treatment, see Dr. Bruce's answer on JustAnswer.

Digital Corn

Dogs, like humans, can get corns on their feet. These can often be painful, circular growths found on the keratinized tissue area on a dog's paw pads. As in humans, these often grow when there is an uneven bearing of the weight.


Most dogs affected by corns have more trouble walking on hard surfaces compared to soft grass. You see these often in greyhounds used for racing which may develop arthritis and bear their weight unevenly to get relief.

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Corns are usually round and may have raised edges or a pale ring around them. In some cases, a foreign body may penetrate the footpad and the tissue may overgrow on it, causing a callous growth that looks like a corn.

To see if it's actually a corn, have the dog stand up and pick up the affected foot. Grasp the toe from each side and give it a gentle squeeze. If the dog withdraws, it's likely a corn.


See a vet to discuss your best options for treatment. They might include hulling the corn, topical medications, or surgery. Corns are often a recurring problem, so watch for other growths and lesions.

Even when removed, the corn should be biopsied to rule out a tumor.


Another possible cause of lumps on dog paw pads is histiocytoma.


These are small, firm, pea-sized benign growths that may occasionally show up on a paw pad. They are often seen in young dogs and are frequently bright red and hairless. They tend to grow quickly though they are painless.


It often alarms dog owners as they seem to appear overnight, though they often disappear over the course of a few months.

When they continue to grow, they are sometimes surgically removed. A course of prednisone may help them shrink.


A dog's paw pads have several small glands. Most dog owners are not aware of these glands until they see the paw pads sweat like on a vet's office table.

These glands can commonly become cystic at times, or even cancerous. In the case of cysts, the lumps often contain fluids. These fluids can be aspirated with a syringe so they can be sent for a biopsy to rule out cancer. Most cysts are benign.

Concerning Causes of Lumps on Dog Paw Pads

All strange bumps that you find on your dog should be investigated by a vet since there is always a chance it is cancer. Cancer may affect the toes, bones, paw pads and skin on the dog's feet.

These should be seen right away as time is of the essence. When caught early, cancer can be removed, even though at times this might mean amputating paw pads, toes, or even legs in some cases.

Digital Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This is the most common type of malignant cancer of the toe according to Michigan Vet Specialists. Commonly it affects the skin around the nail, along with the bone and tissue around it.

It may present as a small nodule, a papule, or a red, blister-like skin plaque. The toe is often swollen and the dog may limp and there may be a bleeding ulcer or a broken nail.

Large dogs that are black such as labs and poodles are commonly affected. It's often seen in older dogs around the age of 10, but can also be found in younger ones. Treatment involves surgery of the affected toe.

Stages of (Non-Oral) Melanomas

Reference: Pet Education Malignant Melanomas


The tumor is less than 2 cm and superficial


The tumor is 2-5 cm and hasn't spread below the skin


The tumor is greater than 5 cm or has affected the tissues below the skin


The tumor has invaded deeper into the tissues or bone

Digital Cutaneous Melanoma

This is the second most common form of cancer of the toe, according to Michigan Vet Specialists. Melanomas are found mostly in pigmented areas in dogs. These can arise in the dog's nail bed, toe, or paw pad.


They're common in black dogs. Usually they present as a mass, an ulcerative tumor, or a swelling on the toe according to the National Canine Cancer Foundation. They are usually solitary, dark growths ranging in size between 1/4 inch to several inches in diameter.

Limping may be the first symptom and often the swelling is misdiagnosed as an infection. Yet, the lump doesn't go away with antibiotics.

If the lump is found on the weight-bearing metacarpal or metatarsal pads, amputation of the whole leg may be necessary.

Generally, this melanoma is quite aggressive with about 30 to 40 percent of malignant melanomas having spread already by the time of diagnosis according to Marvista Vet. Often, this melanoma spreads to the closest lymph nodes and then metastasizes to the lungs.

Note: Melanocytomas are the benign version of melanoma and are fortunately seen more often than melanomas. These, however, are mostly found in hair-covered areas. Whereas malignant melanomas are most commonly found in the mouth and toes, explains veterinarian Mike Richards.

Other Possible Causes

Paw pad lumps and bumps may also be caused by mast cell tumors, insect bites, constant licking of paws, digital hyperkeratosis and many more. As you've seen, the issues may range from minor to even life-threatening, so be sure to adhere to the "when in doubt, a vet seek out" protocol.

Causes of Swollen Paws

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: There is a white bump on the bottom of my dog's paw pad, my dog also licks a lot. What could it be?

Answer: This can be a variety of things. It can be a foreign body stuck in the paw pad such as glass or a weed seed, an ingrown hair follicle, an interdigital cyst, corns (more common in greyhounds), warts etc. I am afraid only a vet visit can reveal what it is truly and your vet can treat it based on his findings.

Question: Can a dog's paw be x-rayed?

Answer: Certainly. My dog's paw was x-rayed when he was found to have Valley Fever that had spread to the bones in his paw. The vet showed me the affected area.

© 2013 Adrienne Farricelli


Julie smith on December 16, 2019:

My lab has been constantly licking his pad on one foot on checking I've found a small lump wondering what it could be

Priscilla on March 31, 2018:

My dog has all little blister like pimples around his paws on every paw vet says in grown hairs but now a huge lump has formed in paw his been on antibiotics still no change

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 17, 2018:

Yasmin, any lumps and bumps should be investigated by a vet to rule out cancers. Chances are, in a young dog like yours it may be just a benign histiocytoma, but always best to play it safe.

Yasmin on March 10, 2018:

my dog ( Olaf, a miniature schnauzer) has a small red hairless pea sized bump on his leg, he is 3 and he's never had any problems before. I have bandaged it up because he kept licking and biting it but I don't know whether I should take him to the vet.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 16, 2017:

Pratheek, please see your vet, a sudden growth on neck can be anything, but you want to rule out an enlarged lymph node.

Linda on February 12, 2017:


Was that Mast Cell Tumour?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 27, 2016:

Wink all lumps especially in senior dogs should be checked out by a vet.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 27, 2016:

Elka, when it pops have your vet take a look at it.

wink on September 02, 2016:

My 12 yr old male Shih-Tsu has had a hard lump on his right forepaw between the large pad and toes for a few years. It didn't really bother him before now. It has become quite swollen behind the lump, and reddish. Looks like it should be drained. It is warm but not hot. He has difficulty walking, especially with the left forepaw having a cyst on top of the paw between the middle toes, which we are treating with hydrogen peroxide. What can I do at home for the swelling behind the lump?

elka on August 23, 2016:

my pit bull has a lump between his front toes, it comes and goes, he does not lick it, does not limp and shows no pain when touched what should I do

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 06, 2016:

This is very odd, please follow up with the vet who did the surgery.

lou on May 28, 2016:

My dog had surgery for a cyst on her paw almost two weeks ago. TO'Day she has started barking at her paw and holding it up more I am about to have a nervous breakdown. She is constantly kicking it.How long does it take to heal? I just want to cry for her she is my baby!,

Marge on July 30, 2015:

Alexadry has posted home remedies in the sebaceous link article at the end under" further readings." Not sure if they would work though for a follicular cyst, as sebaceous cyst is somewhat different I would imagine. Best to ask your vet first. My dog's went away with castor oil.

Kim on July 28, 2015:

Alexadry, what home remedies made it go away? My pup also has a follicular cyst (have already been to the vet). I've been trying Epsom salt soaks but they don't seem to work. The good news is, it doesn't bother him!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 06, 2015:

Lumps, bumps, moles on the toes should be seen and evaluated by a vet to rule out major issues. Toes, toenails, lip and mouth areas can be problematic when there are lumps.

Charisma on June 05, 2015:

My Dog Has A Bump On Top By His Toes (front right paw) It Bleeds But Bleeds Like A Pinkish Color. Im Cleaning It But My Dog Keeps Licking It. I Was Getting Annoyed By The Bump Then The Bump Went Pale And Water Started Coming Out.

What Should I Do????

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 30, 2014:

All lumps should be first checked out by a vet to rule out malignancies. Home remedies shouldn't be started until it is known exactly what type of lump it is. My girl had a sebaceous cyst confirmed by cytology test, it wasn't malignant, but the vet wanted to do surgery on her. Before going that route, we tried home remedies and it went away after a month.

Jayne on October 30, 2014:

My dog has a lump on his paw, its between his toes/claws but he isn't limping on it or licking it, and when i touch it he doesn't show any signs of pain, it's a little bit red though, i was wandering if it could be treated by myself? And if so what do I do for it? If anyone can help me with advice please

Agnes on March 05, 2013:

Dear Alexadry, I am so glad it isn't anything serious!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on March 04, 2013:

Wow, Alexadry, was just advising a neighbor on this issue yesterday. I noticed a little lump on his forepaw and told my neighbor to take him to the vet's. Good to have these checked, we never know, and should never diagnose them on our own. Thanks for sharing!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 04, 2013:

Turns out the growth on the paw pad is a follicular cyst per the results from the fine needle aspirate. Sigh of relief. Vet stills thinks she needs surgery though:(

Agnes on February 27, 2013:

Hopefully it is only a cyst, dear!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 26, 2013:

We had a needle aspirate done today and the vet suspects it's a cyst, but we will only know for sure in a couple of days. It looks like she may still need the surgery though.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 23, 2013:

Thanks so much Monis Mas, will keep you posted

Agnes on February 23, 2013:

I will keep my fingers crossed!!!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 23, 2013:

I will know on Monday, and will post here what the vet finds. Right now I am worried about melanomas as they seem to match what I see, but according to the staging chart, her lump would be stage 1 since it's barely half centimeter.

Agnes on February 23, 2013:

I hope it's nothing serious! I can imagine how you feel...

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 23, 2013:

Those are found often in young dogs and are luckily benign. I am happy it went away! I am seeing the vet on Monday for my dog's little lump you see in the picture. I am very worried and scared.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 23, 2013:

Thanks Torrilyn for the vote up. My dog has one as I speak, the paw in the picture is hers. I discovered it yesterday, this little stinker was hiding right between the paw pads and hair was covering it. My dog started limping and I thought it was a thorn, instead I found this scary lump. We are seeing the vet tomorrow and thought I would compile a list of causes for other owners in the same scenario.My hub is meant to warn owners of the importance of having any lumps checked out.

Agnes on February 23, 2013:

Very interesting! My dog once had Hystiocytoma. My husband and I were freaking out, but thank God, with a little bit of ointment it went away with time.

torrilynn on February 23, 2013:

alexadry, i find it very intereting that you have figured out the causes of lumps on dog paw pads. i feel this is great information, since i have a dog myself. thanks. voted up.

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