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Dog Carpal Pad Injury: A Helpful Guide

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Have you ever noticed your precious pooch hobbling around on three paws? If so, it might be a dog carpal pad injury that’s to blame.

Our fur babies’ sensitive toe beans aren’t just for looking cute—they’re also responsible for absorbing shock, adapting to sudden temperature changes, and carrying our pet over rough surfaces.

So, when our dogs start dealing with sensitive paw pads, that means it’s time to check things out. In this guide, we’ll go over what a dog carpal pad injury is, its causes, and how you can help your dog out when he’s not feeling so hot!

What is a Carpal Pad Dog Injury?

Pads are the tissue at the end of a dog’s paw, and supports your pup’s weight when walking and running. There are three types of pads:

  • Digital pads
  • Metacarpal pad
  • Carpal pad

The carpal pad specifically is that little piece that sits at your dog’s heel.

Dog carpal pad injuries are cuts, scrapes, erosions, and other injuries to your dog’s carpal pad. Many times, these deteriorations are due to your dog’s overall health as well as where he’s been running or playing.

Carpal Pad Dog Injury Causes

Okay, so you know that carpal pad dog injury causes are often related to the terrain your dog is romping around on.

However, there are other causes for a carpal pad dog injury.

Many times, dog carpal injuries have to do with your dog’s lifestyle, including where he’s been playing, and what he’s been up to.

Here are a couple of causes of dog carpal pad injuries and what’s usually happened to trigger them.


What Likely Happened


Excessive exercise increases friction, erosion, and subsequent injury to pads

Lack of exercise

When there is no dose of daily activity, the pads soften and wounds can arise more easily.

Sharp things

Splinters, nails, metal tips, broken glass, and any sharp edge can pierce the membrane and cause deep, bleeding wounds.


High and low temperatures can cause severe burns, such as asphalt on a sunny day or snow.


Some breeds are predisposed to infections, cracks, and injuries on pads.

Training at an early age

Puppy pads tend to be softer and weaker, so it’s easier to damage the carpal pad.

Long claws

Poor trimming or hygiene causes an abnormal tread of the fingers and generates painful calluses due to poor posture.

Bone deformities

These deformities cause deviations in the weight that the fingers and pads support.

Chronic diseases

Dog pad injuries can be a result of secondary effects from diseases such as pododermatitis, fungal infections, and more.

Behavioral disorders

Dogs suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder may develop stereotypes such as repeatedly licking or biting their paws, producing self-mutilations

As you’ve probably noticed from that table, many of these issues are preventable. That’s why paying attention to your dog, how he’s behaving, and what he’s doing throughout the day is important.

Symptoms of Carpal Pad Dog Injury

Symptoms of Carpal Pad Dog Injury

If you suspect your dog might have a carpal pad injury, there are a couple of things to look out for.

The main symptom of carpal dog pad injuries is that your dog won’t support a paw or is avoiding putting weight on that paw.

However, a couple of other common signs that your doggo isn’t feeling so hot include:

  1. Lameness
  2. Pain when supporting the paw
  3. Limping
  4. Licking and biting its paws frequently
  5. Fatigue
  6. Irritability or depression
  7. Redness and blood on the paws

Carpal pad dog injuries are easy to identify regardless of the size of the wound. Of course, any discomfort on the pads of our poochies will immediately indicate that something is happening. If you notice that your dog has any of these behaviors, it’s time to check its paws and take matters into your own hands.

If you catch your dog showing any of these symptoms, it might be time to head to the vet. That way, you can get his carpal pads checked out to ensure that there aren’t any big issues.

Dog Paw Pad Injury Healing Time

The recovery time for a dog paw pad injury can range anywhere from a week to two months, depending on the reason for the issue. After all, a small scrape will heal faster than a deep flesh wound!

For instance, if your dog only has a small crack due to dry skin or a scrape, this will usually heal in about a week or two. On the other hand, more serious injuries may require special vet attention and care.

That said, it’s important to note that carpal pad dog injuries are usually mild but difficult to heal, as they are located in sensitive areas that are in constant use. So, make sure to monitor your dog while he’s healing. That way, you can help him get the rest he needs.

Another thing to keep in mind is that older dogs and puppies may take longer to heal due to their age. Be sure to give your dogger enough time to start feeling better before getting him back to his regular routine.

How to Treat a Dog Pad Injury

If your pooch has a dog pad injury, there are a few ways that you can help him to start feeling better.

First, take a look at his pad to see what’s going on. If he’s got a superficial wound, you can usually implement a quick home remedy to get him back on his feet (literally):

  1. Clean the pad with warm water to remove all impurities.
  2. Cut the fur growing on the pad's skin, as this can be a place where microorganisms and moisture build-up and slow down the healing process.
  3. Disinfect the wound with an antiseptic (such as hydrogen peroxide) suitable for the skin. If you don’t have a special one for dogs at home, an antiseptic for humans will do the trick.
  4. Bandage the wound with clean gauze or cloth. Make sure not to apply excessive pressure on the paw as you do this.

You might also want to put a cone on your dog. A cone can help keep your dog from licking or biting at the paw, which can slow down the healing process and even lead to infection.

However, if your dog’s paw doesn’t have any visible injury, there might be something under the skin. In that case, the best move is to take him to the vet.

The vet can run a proper diagnosis and conduct a physical exam to see what’s going on with your pooch’s paws. This usually includes X-rays to make sure that there aren’t any bone problems causing pain.

Home Remedies for Dog Pad Injuries

If your pooch is dealing with dog pad injuries due to dry skin or temperature changes, you can take a few quick home medicines. Home remedies such as aloe vera, coconut oil, and lavender oil can help your dog’s paws feel better in the event of injury.

Coconut oil and vitamin E, for example, have anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and antibacterial properties. Try applying a thin layer of this oil to the dog’s pad to help him feel better and prevent further injury.

Another option is to use aloe vera to help heal, regenerate, and moisturize wounds to your dog’s paw pad. You can actually apply aloe vera directly from the leaf to your dog’s foot!

Finally, lavender oil can help your pup start to feel a bit better. This oil stimulates skin regeneration and has antibacterial properties. Just apply a few drops to your dog’s paw pad and gently massage it into his foot.

Tips for Preventing Dog Pad Injury

Tips for Preventing Dog Pad Injury

Even though we’ve gone over how to treat a dog pad injury, one of the best ways to help your dog is to prevent injuries from happening in the first place.

Although sometimes injuries are unavoidable, you can do a couple of things to help protect your dog’s precious pads.

Preventative Measure


Keep the road clear of sharp objects

Watch the road to avoid broken glass, metals, and sharp objects when going for walks with your pup.

Avoid extreme temperatures

In summer, avoid walking the dog at midday and the hottest hours. In winter, try not to make your dog walk in the snow for a long time.

Put on special shoes or protective socks.

Ask your vet about the most suitable shoes or socks for your dog to protect it from the ground but not deform the shape of the paw.

Control physical exercise

Properly dose the exercise time of your pet

Dry your pet’s paws after a walk

Moisture between the digital pads can lead to the proliferation of fungi and bacteria that subsequently generate wounds. Make sure to dry all the paw folds after a walk on a rainy day.

Use products to harden and regenerate pads

If your furbaby will walk for longer than usual, you can prevent these problems by using special ointments that harden and strengthen the tissue. Consult with the vet about the most suitable product for your dog.

Check its paws frequently

It’s common for pebbles and residue to get stuck between a dog’s pads and metacarpal pad. These can generate discomfort and subsequent wounds. Check the paw pads frequently to dislodge these items.

Make regular visits to the vet

Early identification of an acute or chronic disease that can eventually cause carpal pad injuries can keep your dog feeling his best.

Causes of Dog Paw Injury

Like dog carpal pad injuries, dog paw injuries can be caused by a variety of conditions ranging from skin infections to sharp cuts.

A couple of common causes of dog paw injuries include:

  • Allergies
  • Fleas and ticks bites
  • Parasites
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Rubbing between skin folds
  • Dog bites
  • Burns
  • Cuts and scrapes by sharp objects

Whatever the cause, remember that when a dog has an open wound on its paw it becomes prone to bacterial infection. So, make sure to address the situation right away to keep him healthy!

Symptoms of a Dog Paw Injury

There are a few things to look for if you think your pup has a dog front leg injury (or hindleg injury) on his paw.

Most dogs show limping, licking, and biting as some of the first signs that they have a paw injury.

A few other common symptoms include:

  • Fur loss around the paw
  • Skin redness
  • Swelling
  • Loss of appetite and discomfort
  • Pain when walking and lameness

Keep your eyes peeled for any of these signs. If you notice one or more of them, be sure to check your pooch’s paws to see what’s going on.

How to Treat Dog Paw Injury

How to Treat Dog Paw Injury

Treating a dog paw injury depends on the origin of the wound. You can usually just clean the wound and apply a moisturizer for small cuts and scrapes.

However, sometimes there may be bigger complications that you need to worry about. If you’ve got a dog that’s dealing with a paw injury, your vet will conduct a physical exam to see what’s going on.

From there, the vet will evaluate risk factors and depending on this, may prescribe ointments, antibiotic treatment, or medicated baths.

In some cases, there might be a bigger issue, such as dog arthritis, at hand that’s causing the paw injury. In these cases, your vet may recommend a joint supplement like TRI-ACTA for Pets that works to address the cause and the symptoms of the arthritic condition.

TRI-ACTA H.A. for Pets

Our maximum strength formula is optimally designed to accelerate the formation of cartilage, minimize inflammation, expedite the healing process, and improve joint conditions.


Tips for Preventing Dog Paw Injury

Some dog paw injuries occur because of where your pup is roaming. For others, it's weakened joints that’s causing undue pressure or pain in the paws.

One great way to keep your dog from dealing with the latter is to give him or her joint supplements. Joint supplements have ingredients to support your dog’s cartilage and connective tissues, keeping his tootsies in good condition.

The best supplements that help decrease stiffness and improve mobility in the paws are those that contain glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Make sure to check for these ingredients when looking for supplements for your dog.

With those, you can help prevent injuries to your dog’s legs and keep him romping around outside!


What causes a puppy paw pad injury?

Puppies are still growing and developing, so their pads and paws aren’t as resistant to bumps and rough surfaces. An adult dog usually forms calluses that harden the tissue and allow them to walk and run longer. However, pups have softer tissue that makes them more susceptible to injury.

What are the complications of a carpal pad injury?

If a carpal pad injury isn’t properly treated, it can lead to a serious or chronic infection that spreads throughout the body. This not only makes the injury harder to treat but in severe cases, can lead to limb amputation.

What should I know about carpal pad injury in pregnant dogs?

Pregnant dogs carry more weight, putting extra force on their paws and pads. Pregnant dogs with carpal pad injuries should see a vet to make sure that no medications they take interfere with their pregnancy.


dog carpal pad injury

Dog carpal pad injuries are all-too-common, but with the right care and treatment, you can help your pooch start to feel better again.

Keep your eyes peeled for symptoms such as lameness, licking, and biting to nip these issues in the bud. Better yet, keep your dog’s tail wagging by preventing these issues altogether.

Adding TRI-ACTA to their diets can help maintain dog joints and keep cartilage and tissue healthy and strong so that they don’t suffer from dog pad injuries at all. Get answers to your questions about TRI-ACTA by reading our FAQs, and find out where to buy TRI-ACTA near you.

TRI-ACTA H.A. for Pets

Our maximum strength formula is optimally designed to accelerate the formation of cartilage, minimize inflammation, expedite the healing process, and improve joint conditions.