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. These infections are generally all over the body, but if you have caught it early you can treat it with . The best treatment is to soak the foot in dilute (1/2 strength) apple cider vinegar and then allowing it to air dry without rinsing. I use this organic apple cider vinegar since it is acidic and also has some healing properties not found in regular vinegar. apple cider vinegar
· 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.
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.
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Some Reader Questions and Answers
Hi i have spent a lot of money on my dogs paw last year and seemed to be getting bad again she won't put it down. It looks very swollen.. last year she had 2 of the ends of her fingers removed. The vets said it was because she had blood clots at the end but it still bad.. Is there anything I can do to take swelling down and make her more comfortable unfortunately I can't afford to get her back to the vets till the end of March.. I'd appreciate any advice.. king regards rebecca lane
Rebecca, it is difficult to figure this out without an exam, but to make her more comfortable, and hopefully prevent her paws from swelling, you could try using heat to the affected area of the paw. Use a very warm, moist cloth, and wrap her foot and apply gentle pressure for at least 5 minutes.
Questions & Answers
My 10-year-old Maltese has swollen feet due to an allergic reaction to probiotics. Her front paws are raw from licking, and she's been limping. Can I do an Epsom soak along with a little vinegar? If the vinegar solution is too strong I think it would sting at this point, but I do believe she is developing yeast issues.
If your Maltese has been licking so much that her paws are raw, she probably does have a yeast infection. Diluted apple cider vinegar (half water) is okay and will not sting too much, but you have to see how she reacts. If it is just an allergic reaction, she will probably not even need the Epsom salt solution.
My dog has been limping for a month or more, and blood tests and X-rays reveal nothing. Now it looks like one toe is extended and higher off the ground than the others. Is there anything in particular to look for?
You do not mention if it is a front or rear leg, which might make a difference, but I assume your regular vet has already gone over most of the common causes of lameness.
The condition you describe sounds like it might be tendinitis. If the tendon that attaches to that toe is inflamed, and then becomes scarred and contracts, it can cause the toe to be lifted off the ground similar to that which you are describing.
I would ask my regular vet to investigate autoimmune diseases and things that might cause an inflammation of the tendon.
If the limping continues and he is not able to diagnose it, you should ask for a referral to a veterinary teaching hospital (university) in your area so that others can look at it and possibly give you a correct diagnosis.
My 8-year-old male German Shepherd´s rear feet and ankles are swollen. He will not lay down. He's eating and drinking normally but seems to have a cotton mouth and raw and moist around his genital area. I'm not sure if any of this is connected. Any ideas?
The swelling in the rear feet and ankles sounds like a circulatory problem, maybe a blood clot. The problem in the genital area sounds more like an infection. If the dog has a circulatory problem he should be seen by an emergency vet right away.
My GSD is 3 years old and has swollen paws. They are inflamed, blood will come out sometimes, and he has lost hair. Any suggestions?
If it were just one paw, I would look for a draining tract that might indicate a foreign body that could be removed surgically. If several paws are involved, it could be cancer, but if the paws are inflamed it is most likely infectious. If you are in the tropics or if your dog walks around in a dirty kennel, there are parasites to worry about. This really needs to be looked at by your local vet, and the skin may need to be biopsied.