Scratching and chewing at paws is a common complaint among canine companions. Itchy, irritated paws can significantly affect a dog’s comfort and quality of life. Determining the underlying cause and implementing the appropriate treatment is key to providing relief. This comprehensive guide covers the potential causes of itchy paw pads and provides solutions to alleviate irritation.
Common Causes of Itchy Paws in Dogs
An accurate diagnosis begins with identifying what’s provoking the itchiness. Some common culprits include:
Dogs can develop environmental or food allergies that cause itchy skin and paws. Pollen, mold, dust mites, certain proteins, and chemicals are common allergens.
Microscopic mites like sarcoptes or fungus like ringworm embed in paws and cause severe itching and infection. Yeast infections can also irritate.
Bacterial infections between toe pads cause inflammation and itchiness. Moist folds provide ideal conditions for bacterial growth.
Dry, Cracked Paws
Insufficient moisture, cold weather, and coarse surfaces can cause paw pads to become dry, cracked, and irritated.
Grit, salt, gravel, grass awns, and snow can become trapped between paw pads and irritate sensitive tissues.
Some dogs are prone to chronic dermatitis, seborrhea, and keratitis that leads to itchy, flaky skin and paws. Heredity, allergies or nutrition deficits can be factors.
Nail or Claw Issues
Ingrown, torn, or damaged nails as well as unsanitary nail beds can prompt licking and biting at paws.
Ways to Soothe Itchy Paws
Once the source of irritation is determined, targeted treatment strategies can provide relief:
Gentle antibacterial and antifungal shampoos keep paws clean and free of microbes. Opt for soothing oatmeal formulas. Rinse thoroughly between toes.
For bacterial infections between toes, rinse paws with a saline solution to flush out debris and keep clean. Dry thoroughly.
For environmental allergies, oral supplements can reduce inflammation and itching. Topical gels provide localized relief.
Antifungal and Antibiotic Treatments
Prescription oral or topical medications combat underlying fungal, yeast or bacterial infections causing irritation.
Killing mites, ringworm and parasites with targeted medications provides fast relief from itching and infection. Oral and topical options are available.
Moisturizing Paw Balms
Rehydrating balms containing vitamin E, aloe and coconut oil soothe dry, cracked paws and prevent future irritation.
For food allergies, dietary changes eliminate problem proteins. novel protein or hydrolyzed formulas may be recommended.
Gently wipe between toes after outdoor activities to remove grit and salt. Dry thoroughly and apply balm.
Waxes and booties protect sensitive paws from harsh outdoor elements like salt, snow and hot pavement that can cause irritation.
Keep nails neatly trimmed. Cleanse nail beds and treat any infections that could spread to paws.
Stopping exposure to known allergens or harsh chemicals can prevent recurrences of itchy, inflamed paws.
Relieving Itchy Paws Between Toes
The moist folds between dog paw pads provide prime real estate for microbes, infection and itchiness. Follow these tips for prevention and treatment:
- Keep hair trimmed between toes to avoid trapping dirt
- Rinse between toes after outdoor activities
- Dry thoroughly using a pet dryer on low setting
- Apply antifungal/antibacterial powder regularly
- Inspect for foreign material like grass awns
- Treat underlying infections with medications
- Use antibiotic wipes to keep folds clean
- Apply balm to moisturize and create a barrier
When to Visit the Vet for Itchy Paws
Schedule an appointment if itching and irritation persists or causes significant discomfort. Vets can pinpoint the cause through skin scrapings, allergy testing and by ruling out underlying issues. Prescription strength treatments may be needed for effective relief.
For mild itching, natural approaches can also provide comfort:
- Oatmeal baths to soothe skin
- Aloe Vera and coconut oil to moisturize paws
- Apple cider rinses to balance pH
- Essential oil sprays to reduce inflammation
Itchy paws are a common nuisance but identifying the source and taking appropriate action can provide dogs welcomed relief. With gentle cleaning, protection against irritants, targeted treatment and plenty of TLC, you can keep your canine’s paws soft, soothed and comfortable.