Home Remedies for Red, Itchy Dog Paws

Before jumping into home remedies, it’s critical to understand the underlying cause of your dog’s red paws. The redness between a dog’s toes can be due to several reasons, including allergies (food or environmental), irritants from lawn chemicals or cleaning products, fungal infections, or certain types of dermatitis.

In some cases, your dog’s red paws could indicate a more serious health issue, such as autoimmune diseases or a yeast infection. Therefore, while home remedies can be a great first line of defense if your dog’s condition does not improve, you should consult your vet for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Soaking and Cleaning Paws

One of the simplest yet most effective remedies for red, itchy dog paws is a regular foot soak. Here are some options:

  1. Epsom Salt Soak: Epsom salt helps soothe irritated skin and can reduce swelling and inflammation. To prepare the soak, add a half cup of Epsom salt to a gallon of warm water. Have your dog stand in this solution for 5-10 minutes. Remember not to let your dog ingest the water, as Epsom salt can cause digestive issues.
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar Soak: Apple cider vinegar (ACV) possesses antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help combat infections causing redness. Mix equal parts ACV and water, and soak your dog’s paws for a few minutes.
  3. Chamomile and Green Tea Soak: Both chamomile and green tea have soothing and healing properties. Steep a few tea bags in warm water, let it cool, and then soak your dog’s paws in this solution.

Always remember to dry your dog’s paws thoroughly after soaking, as dampness can lead to further irritation and potential fungal infections.

Topical Applications

There are several natural substances you can apply directly to your dog’s paws to provide relief:

  1. Coconut Oil: This oil has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and moisturizing properties. Apply it directly to your dog’s paws, but monitor to ensure they do not lick it off. While it’s not harmful if ingested, your dog should not consume too much of it.
  2. Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is widely known for its soothing, healing, and anti-inflammatory properties. Apply pure aloe vera gel (without added alcohol or fragrance) to your dog’s red and itchy paws.
  3. Baking Soda Paste: Baking soda can soothe itchy and irritated skin. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with a little water to make a paste. Apply it to the affected areas, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse off.

Dietary Changes and Supplements

Allergies are often the culprit behind red, itchy dog paws. If your dog’s issue persists, it might be worth considering an elimination diet to rule out food allergies. Supplements like fish oil can also promote skin health thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Regular Paw Care Routine

Adopting a regular paw care routine can go a long way in maintaining your dog’s paw health. After each walk or outdoor adventure, wipe your dog’s paws thoroughly. This can help to remove allergens and irritants that might lead to redness and itching. Use a damp cloth or pet-friendly wipes to clean between the toes, and always dry the paws afterward to avoid creating a damp environment that could promote fungal growth.

Antihistamines for Allergy Relief

If allergies are at the root of your dog’s paw problems, over-the-counter antihistamines can provide some relief. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is often recommended for dogs suffering from mild to moderate allergies. However, it’s crucial to consult with your vet before administering any medication to ensure the proper dosage and to avoid potential side effects.

Protective Dog Booties

Investing in protective dog booties can help safeguard your dog’s paws from various environmental irritants, ranging from harsh winter salts to hot summer pavements. These booties can also help prevent the dog’s paws from becoming red and raw due to excessive licking and chewing. Ensure the booties fit well and are comfortable for your dog to wear.

Homemade Dog Paw Balm

A homemade paw balm can provide additional relief to your dog’s red, irritated paws. You can create a simple balm using natural ingredients such as olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax. These ingredients can soothe your dog’s paws, provide a protective layer against environmental irritants, and promote healing of the skin.

Vet-Recommended Shampoos and Sprays

There are various medicated shampoos and sprays available that can provide relief to your dog’s irritated paws. Some products contain ingredients such as chlorhexidine, a powerful disinfectant that can help kill bacteria and fungi on the skin. Others might include oatmeal or aloe vera for their soothing properties. While these products are generally safe for most dogs, it’s best to consult with your vet before use to avoid potential reactions.

Dog Allergy Testing

If your dog’s paw irritation persists despite trying various home remedies, it may be time to consider allergy testing. This procedure, usually performed by a vet, can identify specific allergens affecting your dog. Once the allergens are known, you can take targeted steps to avoid them and provide your dog with the relief they need.


Can I use human lotion on my dog’s paws?

While it might seem convenient to apply human lotion on your dog’s paws, it’s generally not recommended. Many human lotions contain fragrances and ingredients that could irritate your dog’s skin or cause digestive issues if ingested. Instead, opt for vet-approved creams or balms specifically designed for dogs.

Can red paws be a sign of a yeast infection?

Yes, red, itchy paws can indeed be a symptom of a yeast infection. Dogs have a natural amount of yeast on their skin, but certain conditions, such as a damp environment or a weakened immune system, can cause yeast overgrowth. This results in redness, itching, and often a distinct, musty odor. If you suspect a yeast infection, it’s essential to consult with your vet for appropriate treatment.

Should I use apple cider vinegar on my dog’s red paws?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) can be beneficial for treating your dog’s red paws due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties. However, never apply undiluted ACV directly on the skin as it can cause further irritation. Always dilute it with equal parts of water before using it for a paw soak.

Are dog paw problems related to diet?

Dog paw problems can sometimes be related to diet, particularly if your dog has food allergies. Certain food ingredients, like some proteins, dairy products, or grains, can trigger allergic reactions resulting in skin irritation and red paws. If you suspect food allergies might be the cause, consider working with your vet to develop an elimination diet strategy.

Is it normal for my dog to constantly lick their paws?

While occasional paw licking can be a part of your dog’s grooming routine, excessive licking is often a sign of discomfort and should not be ignored. This behavior can lead to red, raw paws, and could indicate various issues such as allergies, irritants, or even anxiety. If your dog is constantly licking their paws, it’s important to find the underlying cause and address it.

How long does it take for a dog’s red paws to heal?

The healing time for your dog’s red paws largely depends on the cause of the redness and the treatment employed. Minor irritations or allergies might improve within a few days with appropriate home remedies and avoidance of the irritants. However, more serious conditions like infections or underlying health issues may require several weeks and professional treatment to heal.

Can I use hydrocortisone cream on my dog’s red paws?

Hydrocortisone cream can help soothe itchy, red skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. However, it’s essential to use a product designed for dogs and not human hydrocortisone creams, which might contain ingredients harmful to dogs. It’s also important to prevent your dog from licking the cream off their paws. Always consult with your vet before starting any new medication.

Can I use Epsom salt for my dog’s red paws?

Yes, you can use Epsom salt for your dog’s red paws. A soothing Epsom salt soak can help reduce inflammation and discomfort. Dissolve a small amount of Epsom salt in warm water and allow your dog’s paws to soak for about 10 minutes. However, be sure your dog doesn’t ingest the water, as Epsom salt can cause digestive issues if consumed in large amounts.

Can I use baking soda to soothe my dog’s red paws?

Baking soda is another safe and effective home remedy for dog paw irritation. It has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Make a baking soda paste by mixing equal parts baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the affected area and leave it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Avoid letting your dog lick or chew the area while the paste is on.

How can I stop my dog from licking their paws excessively?

To prevent excessive paw licking, you’ll first need to identify and treat the underlying cause. This could be anything from allergies to anxiety. In the meantime, consider using a dog cone or an anti-lick spray with a taste dogs dislike. Providing engaging toys or chew treats can also distract your dog from licking.

How can I tell if my dog’s red paws are due to allergies or an injury?

It can be tricky to determine the cause of your dog’s red paws without professional help. Allergies typically cause symptoms in multiple paws, while an injury usually affects a single paw. Allergies can also cause other symptoms, like scratching, redness in other areas, or gastrointestinal issues. If in doubt, consult with your vet.

Are certain dog breeds more prone to red paws?

Yes, some dog breeds are more prone to red paws due to genetic predispositions to skin issues or allergies. Breeds like Bulldogs, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Bichon Frises are known for their susceptibility to skin issues. That said, any breed can develop red paws due to various environmental factors and individual health conditions.

Can I use coconut oil on my dog’s paws?

Coconut oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help soothe your dog’s red paws. It also acts as a moisturizer, which can prevent cracking and dryness. Before applying, make sure to test a small amount on a patch of skin to ensure your dog doesn’t have a reaction. As with all topical treatments, prevent your dog from ingesting the oil by licking.

Can changes in weather cause red paws in dogs?

Indeed, changes in weather can contribute to red paws in dogs. In winter, cold, dry air and ice-melting chemicals can cause dryness and irritation. In warmer months, hot pavement can lead to burns and redness. Seasonal allergens can also trigger allergies leading to red, itchy paws. To mitigate these risks, consider using dog booties and paw balms, and always wipe your dog’s paws after outdoor walks.

Is it safe to use tea tree oil on my dog’s red paws?

Tea tree oil has been praised for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, but it can be toxic to dogs if used improperly. Never use undiluted tea tree oil on your dog’s skin, including their paws. Even diluted, it can cause adverse reactions in some dogs, so always consult your vet before introducing this into your dog’s care routine.

How often should I clean my dog’s paws?

It’s a good practice to clean your dog’s paws after each walk, especially in urban environments or during allergy season. This helps remove potential allergens, irritants, and harmful substances like road salt or toxic lawn chemicals.

Can dog paws get sunburned?

Yes, dogs can get sunburned, particularly on areas with less fur coverage or lighter skin, such as the nose, ears, and yes, the paws. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors in sunny weather, you might consider using a vet-approved sunscreen on their paws.

Are red paws a sign of a more serious health issue?

While red paws often result from relatively benign issues like allergies or minor injuries, they can occasionally signal more serious health problems, such as autoimmune disorders or infections. Persistent redness, swelling, pain, or other concerning symptoms should be evaluated by a vet as soon as possible.

Can stress or anxiety cause my dog to have red paws?

Yes, stress or anxiety can lead to excessive paw licking in dogs, which can in turn result in red, irritated paws. If you notice changes in your dog’s behavior along with red paws, it may be worthwhile to explore stress or anxiety as a potential cause with your vet.

Is there a specific diet that can help improve my dog’s red paws?

If your dog’s red paws are a result of food allergies, a change in diet could indeed help. Hypoallergenic dog foods or a diet composed of novel proteins might alleviate the issue. It’s important to consult with your vet or a pet nutrition specialist before making any major changes to your dog’s diet.

How can I protect my dog’s paws from hot pavement?

During hot weather, avoid walking your dog on asphalt or concrete during the warmest parts of the day. Early morning or evening walks are generally cooler. Dog booties or paw wax can also provide a protective barrier between your dog’s paws and the hot surface. Always check the pavement with your hand before allowing your dog to walk on it. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.

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