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Vet Tech Rounds: Paw Pad Injuries in Dogs

Vet Talks 3 min read
Vet Tech Rounds: Paw Pad Injuries in Dogs

Paw Pad Injuries

Most dogs love to run and play outside. Many would fetch the ball for you for hours on end if given the chance. Often, they’re having so much fun, they don’t realize they could be damaging their paws.

One common injury we have seen at vet clinics is paw pad injuries due to over-exercise.

One common injury we have seen at vet clinics is paw pad injuries due to over-exercise. Running on pavement or surfaces like tennis courts can be extremely taxing on your dog’s paws. Though their paw pads are quite tough they aren’t designed for such surfaces for long periods of time. Often times dog owners don’t even realize this problem has occurred until it is too late. Their pup is having so much fun fetching the ball that they don’t show any symptoms until they settle down at home.

Causes of Paw Pad Injuries

We have seen these types of injuries most frequently in the summer months. One particular dog ran up and down a tennis court chasing a ball. No injuries were noted until the following day, with all 4 paw pads badly peeling. Another dog escaped the yard and was found running down the road. This running on the hot pavement caused all 4 paw pads to be badly blistered, but again, no injury was noted by the owners until the next day.

Keep in mind that if a surface is too hot for you to touch with the back of your hand, it is too hot for your dog to walk on with bare paws!

Left: Light abrasions on a paw pad. Right: Severe blistering and peeling from extended play on a rubber surface.


These injuries can be just light abrasions on the paw pads, but sometimes the pads are so badly damaged, the surface of the pad begins to blister and peel away from the foot. These injuries can take quite a while to heal, and obviously are quite uncomfortable. Treatment requires cutting away the blistered, dead skin and bandaging the feet, antibiotics may also be indicated. Depending on the severity of the injury, NHV Heal Care Ointment can help to soothe the raw skin and help keep infection at bay.


If your pup is particularly active and loves long runs with you or chasing the ball day and night, you might want to consider getting him accustomed to wearing some protective booties. Most dogs will complain a bit at first but will eventually get the hang of it…and they’ll thank you later when their paws feel great!


Although this is not an uncommon injury, it is very uncommon for a pet parent to notice before it is too late. If your dog suffers from this type of injury, do not feel guilty. Your pup generally would not give any indication that this injury is occurring. Be sure to do what you can to help your pup heal and take precautionary measures in the future.

Johanna RVT

Johanna RVT

Johanna is NHV’s in house Registered Veterinary Technician. Technicians are the veterinary equivalent of a human nurse. Johanna has over 10 years of experience in different types of veterinary clinics and hospitals. She has seen and assisted in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions and injuries. She will share her experiences in her monthly blog series “Vet Tech Rounds” to help our extended NHV family learn about common preventable medical cases and other interesting stories of vet clinic life.

Published: April 20, 2018

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