Why does my dog have swollen feet and what are some natural cures
If your dog has swollen feet, the cause might be obvious. She may have stepped on a thorn, burned her pads walking on hot pavement, or have a dripping sore from a spider bite. It usually is not easy to figure out, though, so take a deep breath and ask yourself a few questions before deciding what you need to do.
How many feet are involved?
· If only one foot is involved, you are most likely dealing with a trauma, a foreign body (like a thorn in the paw), or maybe a spider bite. Lift the sore paw up and check all the nails before running your fingers over the skin and taking a good look between the pads. Is there a growth present between the toes?
· If the front feet are swollen, and it is because your dog has been licking them excessively, it may be due to allergies. Are her ears also swollen and red? How about her belly? Is her skin raw in other areas from constant scratching?
· If all of the feet are swollen, check the pads and see if they are damaged from hot pavement. If the dog is also coughing, it may be due to heart disease. At this point your dog MUST be taken to the veterinarian.
What can cause swollen feet?
• Trauma (like a broken toe or nail)
• Spider bite
• Puncture wound
• Tumor between the toes (uncommon)
• Circulatory problem (like heart disease)
Is the swelling on the leg, the feet, or are the pads swollen?
· If the leg is swollen, it may be due to trauma or a lesion somewhere else. The swelling in the foot may be secondary, and only due to injury higher up on the limb.
· If the leg is okay and only one toe is swollen, feel it and see if it is tender. Your dog may have a fractured toe, a torn nail, or a spider bite or thorn stuck in her foot.
· If the pads are swollen, are they painful? She may have burned herself walking on hot asphalt. If they are crusty but not painful, she may have a genetic footpad disease, lupus, or even an infection.
Natural treatments for swollen feet
· If your dog has stepped on a sharp object or wounded his paw, just wash it out and clean the wound with betadine solution. (Which you have, of course, in your canine first aid kit.)
· For a swollen foot of unknown cause, one of the best treatments is to soak the foot in Epsom salts (about 2 tablespoons in a liter of water). That does not mean it is the easiest treatment. Many dogs will not sit still and allow you to soak their feet, but at least try to do so for at least 15 minutes.
· If the paw has a yeasty smell, especially when the dog has been licking on it, she may have already contracted a yeast infection secondary to her allergies. The best treatment is to soak the foot in dilute (1/2 strength) apple cider vinegar (like the organic product advertised next to this paragraph). Allow it to air dry for best effect.
· Apple cider vinegar may also be effective in reducing itchy skin secondary to allergies, and you will not have to resort to treating your dog with antihistamines.
· If the dog is also scratching at her ears and digging at her skin, as well as chewing on her feet, and the apple cider vinegar is not effective, you can provide some temporary relief by giving her about 1mg/pound of Benadryl (diphenhydramine). This does not always work, and even if it does provides only temporary relief, so you should get her in to see her vet because of the allergies as soon as you can.
· If the swelling is in the foot pads, and they are very rough and scaly, it may help to soften them up with a warm water soak. Some vets recommend moistening the pads with vaseline but the dogs usually just lick it off before it does much good.
· If your dog does not respond to soaking have him seen as soon as possible by his regular veterinarian. Some diseases (like lupus) will require a lot more testing.
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Licking the feet from time to time can be normal, but constant licking and chewing on the feet is a sign that something is wrong and should be looked into.
If the swelling continues, your dog may have a serious problem.
Consult your veterinarian.