My Dog Has Paw Allergies

Inflammation and infection of the paw pads can be caused by many variables, such as an illness, environmental factors or dietary issues.

What causes allergies in dogs’ paws?

Possible causes of allergies to a dog’s paws include:

  • Dermatitis caused by an allergy
  • Pre-existing skin condition
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Demodicosis (caused by demodex mites)
  • Neoplasia (malignant tumors)
  • Secondary infection

Allergies and food intolerances are the most common causes, such as an allergy to fish or an intolerance of dairy products.

The reaction produced by the immune system often has a direct effect on the skin, causing hives, itchiness and hair loss.

In some cases, allergic reactions found around the paws can be caused by Demodex mites. Demodicosis, sometimes called red mange, is caused by the Demodex Canis mite. Interestingly, almost every dog will have mites on their bodies, without suffering any adverse reaction.

Neoplasia is a less common condition, referring to cancerous tumors that can occur in different areas of the body. As the immune system tries to attack the cancerous cells, the skin can suffer. The dog may experience extreme itchiness, redness, skin sores and hair loss.

How do you treat dog paw allergies?

Treatment for pododermatitis depends on the cause. For example, if the irritation is caused by a food allergy or intolerance, a simple change in diet should alleviate the symptoms.

In the case of secondary infections such as fungal or bacterial infections, treatment of the primary infection should reduce the symptoms. This may include a short course of antibiotics or anti-steroidal cream.

If a dog is long-haired, regular grooming of the feet will prevent future flare-ups, as will keeping the hair between the toes trimmed short.

The last thing to check is that your dog is up-to-date on his flea treatment. Fleas can cause unbearable itching and in a small number of cases, dogs can be allergic to the saliva fleas produce.

Ensure you keep up with flea prevention treatment and regularly comb through your dog’s coat.

What can I put on my dog’s itchy paws?

If your home environment is dry, this can further irritate your dog’s paw pads, so you may want to invest in a humidifier.

A short bath with warm water is great for soothing itchy skin. The warm water will also soften the skin and allow for faster healing of cracked or irritated paw pads.

After you have towel dried your dog’s paws, you can gently rub a thin layer of aloe vera or coconut oil onto his paw pads. This will soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.

If your dog has an allergy to pollen or grass seeds, change where you walk him so you are not coming into contact with the triggers of his allergies. You may also want to re-think your backyard such as replacing real grass with artificial turf.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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