As the responsible dog owner, it’s understandable that you would be concerned about the darkening of your pup’s paw pads. To put your concerns at ease, we’ve got the answers you need to take the best care of your dog.
So, your dog’s paw pads are turning black – what to do? Should you be concerned? In most cases, a dog’s paw pads turning black is simply a sign of aging. The darkening and hardening of paw pads are beneficial for your growing puppy – this process ensures painless and easy movement on hot or rough surfaces.
However, it is vital to note that in certain situations, the darkening of paw pads can signal illness, infection, or irritation.
How do you distinguish black paws as a sign of natural, healthy aging, illness, or discomfort? It is necessary to classify whether or not the darkening of your dog’s paws is an unusual or unhealthy change so that you can respond to the situation accordingly.
When To Treat Blackened Paw Pads
Look out for signs that may indicate that your dog is feeling discomfort. The general consensus is that a dog limping or licking its paw pads means a possible injury. Due to the sensitive nature of paw pads, you should seek treatment or examination if you observe either of these signs.
Now, let’s review some indications of unhealthy paw pad blackening and how you should appropriately respond. As a short answer, we suggest always seeking professional attention if your pup is behaving abnormally or seems to be in pain. Remember, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
Biting, Licking, or Gnawing
Biting, licking, or gnawing accompanying darkening paw pads can signify irritation or itchiness. A bacterial infection or an allergy may be bothering your pup. Just like humans, dogs can itch, too! Don’t leave your furry friend to gnaw on his irritated pad; this will likely only worsen the situation. Get your pup checked out by a professional.
Dry or Cracked Paw Pads
If you notice your dog’s paw pads are dried or cracked, this is a sign that they have not received the proper care they need to withstand outdoor conditions. But don’t worry. It is not too late to tend to your furry partner’s paw pads. After removing anything caught in the cracks, moisturize using a proper paw pad moisturizer.
Regularly apply a paw pad moisturizing treatment to prevent further cracking or dryness. Vitamin E ointment is an effective moisturizer to combat dry or cracked paws. Your pup will thank you later!
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What is the Function of a Paw Pad?
A dog’s paw pads act as a cushion to carry the weight of its body – this ensures that your dog can move and play freely, happily, and without pain – think of these puffy, adorable pads as shock-absorbing cushions. Since these pads are vital to your dog’s well-being, you’ll want to ensure they’re healthy before leaving them untreated.
Dogs hindered by pain or complications in their paw pads can be almost in a state of disability – without these cushions acting as grip and protection from surfaces, your dog may struggle to walk.
Cleaning Blackened Paw Pads
Just because it’s no cause for concern does not mean that you can neglect your pup’s paws. Dirt, soot, mud, debris, and other stains can cause the blackening of a dog’s paw pads. Use a moist towelette when your dog comes home from a walk to keep it squeaky clean. In a pinch, disinfectant wipes work wonders too.
Blackening Paw Pads – Should You be Concerned?
The blackening of paw pads in puppies is healthy. As your dog’s paws turn from pink to black, they will begin building more tolerance for the activities they love so much – walking and playing, for starters! This normal darkening process typically occurs at around six months of age and will occur at a rate influenced by how often your dog is walking on rough surfaces.
This process occurs in dogs the same way a human might develop a callus – the more your dog uses its paw pads to walk outdoors, the quicker its paw pads will darken and harden. The quicker this process occurs, the sooner your pup can start doing more of the activities that keep it happy.
Noticing Signs of Pain
Even though blackening paws in puppies is a routine change, you should keep an eye out for any sign of pain or discomfort that your dog might feel – regardless of whether the change is normal, you still want to alleviate any pain you can.
How To Alleviate Painful Paws
The process of paw pad toughening can be painful for puppies. If you notice your puppy walking differently or limping, you can ease their pain by applying wax or balm. Additionally, anti-slip pads may be useful during this transition period of your dog’s life to traverse those frictionless surfaces safely around the house.
The more your puppy walks, the faster its pads will toughen. Think of it like building muscle. The more often and consistently, the quicker progress.
Tips for Good Paw Health
Since your dog will be using its paw pads every day for the rest of its life, we suggest you take some preventive measures to keep them healthy.
The Canine Health Foundation suggests that you take measures to ensure your dog’s paw pads are healthy and operable:
- Watch where you walk your dog—ensure areas are clear of glass or other sharp objects
- Check your dog’s paws for blisters caused by activity or contact with outdoor surfaces
- Examine your dog’s paws after each outdoor adventure or activity
The responsibility associated with being a pet owner does not disappear as your pet gets older. Whether your dog is a young puppy or an older canine, ensure that you give him ample care and attention. Look out for your pup’s paw pad health!