Reasons Your Dog’s Paw is Swollen


Swollen paws in dogs can be distressing for both you and your pet. Various factors can cause this condition, ranging from minor injuries to more severe health issues. Understanding the potential reasons behind a dog’s swollen paw can help you identify the problem and seek appropriate veterinary care. At Dyer Animal Clinic, we are dedicated to your pet’s health and well-being. If you notice your dog’s paw is swollen, contact us at (219) 865-3737.

Common Causes of Swollen Paws in Dogs

Injuries and Trauma

One of the most common reasons for a dog’s paw to be swollen is an injury or trauma. Dogs are active animals, and it’s not uncommon for them to hurt themselves while running, jumping, or playing. A sprained paw, a broken bone, or a simple cut can lead to significant swelling. If your dog suddenly starts limping or showing signs of pain, inspect the paw for visible injuries.


Infections are another frequent cause of paw swelling in dogs. Bacterial or fungal infections can enter through cuts or puncture wounds and cause inflammation. Common symptoms of an infection include redness, warmth, and discharge from the affected area. If left untreated, infections can spread and lead to more severe health problems.

  • Bacterial Infections: Bacterial infections often result from minor cuts or abrasions. These can become infected if not properly cleaned and treated. Symptoms include swelling, redness, and pus.
  • Fungal Infections: Fungal infections, such as yeast infections, can also cause swelling. These are often accompanied by itching and a foul odor. Dogs with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to fungal infections.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to various environmental factors, such as pollen, grass, or chemicals, can cause your dog’s paw to swell. Food allergies can also result in swelling, particularly if your dog comes into contact with the allergen by walking through a contaminated area. Common signs of an allergic reaction include itching, redness, and swelling.

Foreign Objects

Foreign objects like splinters, thorns, or glass can embed in your dog’s paw, causing irritation and swelling. Dogs often lick or chew at the affected area, which can further irritate the skin and lead to infection. Carefully examine your dog’s paw and remove any visible foreign objects if it’s safe to do so.

Insect Bites and Stings

Insect bites and stings from bees, wasps, spiders, or ants can cause significant swelling in a dog’s paw. In some cases, an allergic reaction to the venom can make the swelling worse. If your dog has been stung or bitten, look for signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, difficulty breathing, or excessive swelling, and seek veterinary attention immediately.

Health Conditions Leading to Swollen Paws


Arthritis is a common condition in older dogs that can cause joint swelling and discomfort, including in the paws. This chronic condition leads to inflammation in the joints, making it painful for your dog to walk. Symptoms of arthritis include stiffness, limping, and swollen joints.

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases, where the immune system attacks the body’s own cells, can lead to swelling in the paws. Conditions such as lupus or pemphigus can cause the paw pads to become inflamed and swollen. These diseases often require specialized veterinary care for diagnosis and management.


Though less common, tumors or growths can develop in a dog’s paw, leading to swelling. Both benign and malignant tumors can cause this condition. If you notice a lump or unusual growth on your dog’s paw, it’s important to have it evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Environmental Factors Affecting Paw Health

Hot Pavement

Walking on hot pavement during the summer can burn your dog’s paw pads, leading to swelling and discomfort. Burns can range from mild redness to severe blisters. It’s important to walk your dog during cooler times of the day and to check the pavement temperature before heading out.

Ice and Snow

In colder climates, ice and snow can cause your dog’s paws to swell. Ice can create cuts and abrasions, while snow and ice-melting chemicals can irritate the paw pads. Using pet-safe ice melt and wiping your dog’s paws after walks can help prevent these issues.

Chemical Irritants

Chemicals used in household cleaning products, lawn treatments, or de-icing can cause irritation and swelling if your dog comes into contact with them. Always use pet-safe products and rinse your dog’s paws thoroughly if they walk through any chemicals.

What to Do If Your Dog’s Paw is Swollen

If you notice your dog’s paw is swollen, here are some steps to take to address the situation:

  • The first step is to carefully inspect the paw for any obvious signs of injury, foreign objects, or infections.
  • Avoid offering in-home treatments without professional advice, as improper handling can worsen the situation.
  • It’s essential to contact a veterinarian to accurately diagnose and treat the underlying cause of the swelling. For professional assistance, call Dyer Animal Clinic at (219) 865-3737. Our experienced team is here to help ensure your pet receives the best care possible.

Monitoring and Preventing Paw Swelling

To help prevent future incidents of swollen paws, regular monitoring and maintenance of your dog’s paw health is crucial. Regularly check your dog’s paws for any signs of injury, infection, or irritation. Keep their paws clean and trimmed to avoid overgrown nails or hair that can trap dirt and debris. Additionally, using protective booties during extreme weather conditions can help shield your dog’s paws from environmental hazards.

Regular veterinary check-ups are also important for maintaining overall paw health. Your veterinarian can provide specific advice and treatments tailored to your dog’s needs, ensuring their paws remain healthy and pain-free.

Caring for Your Dog’s Paws

Regular monitoring and care of your dog’s paws can prevent many issues that lead to swelling. Understanding the common causes, from injuries to environmental factors, allows you to take prompt action and seek veterinary care when needed. Swollen paws can be a sign of various underlying problems, some minor and others requiring immediate attention. By maintaining your dog’s paw health through regular check-ups, protective measures, and prompt treatment of any issues, you ensure their overall comfort and mobility. If you notice any signs of swelling, contact Dyer Animal Clinic at (219) 865-3737 for professional advice and care.

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We are a place where pets and their people can feel at home. It's a place where wellness is maintained and supported from the time they’re newborns through their golden years.