A dog’s paw pads somewhat resemble the shoes that any person would wear outdoors on a regular basis. For this reason, your dog’s paws need a special type of care.
In today’s article, we are looking at whether or not paw pads are capable of growing back and what you should generally do to prevent paw injuries.
Why are your dog’s paw pads important?
Paw pads are essential when it comes to keeping your dog’s balance as they stand and when it comes to providing cushioning as they run through the park, on concrete, or through the woods, where their feet might have to land on rugged surfaces.
In terms of looks and color, paw pads can vary a lot from one dog to the next. First of all, not all pets get the same amount of exercise or even the same amount of exposure to the outdoors these days.
Dogs that have a somewhat sedentary lifestyle and those that are only taken out in sheltered areas might have pink and soft paw pads. By contrast, dogs that are commonly taken out for hikes or sometimes out for a run or a walk on the street when the sun is shining in the sky might have calloused or rougher paw pads in general.
There are specific paw pad pathologies that some dogs can develop, and many aren’t as ‘basic’ as cracks, cuts, or abrasions.
There’s a protective layer on each paw pad, and if that one becomes removed some way or the other, your dog might end up having open wounds on their paw pads.
Other more specific footpad issues can range from dermatosis and erythema to granulomas, papillomas, and hyperkeratosis. Dogs that have had Distemper usually develop hyperkeratosis that needs to be managed by their owners for the remainder of their lives.
Do paw pads grow back?
In most cases, yes. Hyperkeratosis actually means a situation where the pads grow to the point that they impair the dog’s walking because of the pain and discomfort.
However, most dogs that do not have hyperkeratosis and that experience lesions of their foot pads will recover in a varying amount of time.
Because of the thickness, it might take a while for the skin to regain its original form, flexibility, and compact design, so you might need to protect your dog’s foot for several weeks.
As you can imagine, that can be very challenging since dogs basically stand on their feet all the time when they’re not lying in bed or taking it easy.
Depending on how your dog’s paw pad got hurt, your veterinarian might recommend various therapies, including ointments, powders, general medications such as antibiotics or antifungal treatments, along with actual protection for your dog’s feet.
What if your dog gets their paw pads injured?
The best way to tell whether your dog’s paw pads have suffered an injury is to inspect them after every walk or at least once a day. This is absolutely necessary because not all dogs might have the same degree of sensitivity in their feet. Therefore, some might not show pain until the problem has progressed and gotten more severe.
Also, small cuts can easily become a problem and cause an infection when they aren’t discovered early.
When you take your pooch to the veterinary clinic in the first months of owning them, you should ask your vet what you can do in case your dog develops a paw pad problem.
Most wounds can be cleaned with boiled water followed by betadine or a very mild (yet completely effective) disinfectant such as ethacridine lactate (commercially known in some countries such as Rivanol). The latter doesn’t even cause pain.
Once you are done cleaning the wound, you might have to apply a general ointment such as Neosporin (which can be used in pets), but this might not even have to be necessary depending on how the injury looks.
The biggest issue when it comes to foot or pad injuries is that dogs tend to lick them, and as such, they contaminate that area with the germs that they have in their mouths or that they’ve recently come in contact with and might still be present in their oral cavities.
There’s so much that you can do at home, which means that when your dog’s paw pads start looking weird and even start smelling funny, you simply have to take your pet to the animal hospital.
Infections can easily spread to other body areas, and some of these germs can be very dangerous – your dog will step on the ground throughout their life, and some bacteria can be so risky to the point that in the appropriate conditions, they might even be able to cause gangrene.
If the paw pad is actually coming off or seems to be getting there, consult your veterinarian immediately.
In some cases, it may have to be removed depending on how damaged it is; in others, it may have to be kept in place using specific medical solutions, complete with a bandage that needs to be changed on a regular basis.
So, can a dog’s paw pads grow back?
But while they can indeed grow back, the speed at which they do so or even their ability to fully recover largely depends on the exact lesion that the dog has experienced.
Just to be on the safe side of things, inspect your dog’s paws once a day and pay attention to any signs of discomfort or pain that your pet might have in their feet.