Overland Park, KS dog's paws.

Cats and dogs can have diseased paws from a variety of causes. Often the symptoms appear the same, but your Blue Valley Animal Hospital veterinarian will need to determine the cause. 

Causes of Pad and Paw Disease

  • Feline Plasma Cell Pododermatitis (Pillow Foot)—an inflammatory immune disease
  • Canine Pododermatitis—allergies, bacterial/fungal infections
  • Untrimmed or improperly trimmed nails
  • Cracked or dry pads
  • Burns (too hot to walk!), cuts, and abrasions
  • Wood ticks
  • Abnormal growths (lumps & bumps)

Pillow Foot appears as swelling of a cat’s paw or paws. If the pad swells too much, it can crack and split or develop sores.

Canine Pododermatitis can be caused by allergies and/or bacterial/fungal infections. Signs your dog may have canine pododermatitis can include chewing and licking at the feet.

Common Signs Your Pet May Have Pododermatitis

  • Chewing and licking at feet
  • Discharge
  • Cuts and tears
  • Cracked pads or nails
  • Bleeding
  • Unusual smells

If you see signs of pododermatitis on your pet’s paws, call us to schedule a pet health visit!

What You Can Do to Prevent Pad and Paw Diseases

Pets often object to anyone fussing with their paws. Make a point of handling their feet often so they get used to your touch. When they come in from outside, have a towel handy to clean their paws. Teach them to lay down when you’re ready to take a look at their feet. Give them treats for tolerating paw inspections.

  • Regular pad and toe inspections are the best way to prevent serious complications from pododermatitis.
  • Look for ticks and remove them with tweezers or a tick-removing tool. Ask your veterinarian to demonstrate how to safely remove a wood tick.
  • Is it too cold or too hot for a walk? Dogs and cats can experience frost bite from prolonged frigid temperature exposure. In hot temperatures, keep off hot pavement and sidewalks—stick to grass and dirt (not hot sand) areas. Don’t take your dog to the beach.
  • Pawdicures for toe and pad inspections and proper nail trimmings will keep you aware of any changes in your pet’s foot conditions. 

Have a Pet First-Aid Kit

Do you have a pet first-aid kit in your home and car? You can buy them ready-made or make your own. You don’t need many or specialized items to help your pet in an emergency, but you should have:

  • Scissors
  • Tweezers/tick remover
  • Styptic pencil
  • 1″ white medical tape
  • Gauze—roll or pads
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bowl for water
  • Soft cloth for cleaning wounds

Do not give your pets medicines of any kind unless they have been approved by your veterinarian. 

Treat your pet as best you can and get them to urgent care at Blue Valley Animal Hospital. We are here for you and your pet’s health care and in an emergency.