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Dog with skin peeling from paw

Updated on February 18, 2012

What do you know? The fashionable booties some pet owners make their dogs wear are not just fashion statements. These doggie shoes, apart from being fashion accessories are protecting the dog’s feet as well. Dogs are really well loved pets. Making the dog wear paw protectors is becoming a trend.  Foot injuries are very common in dogs as these are very active animals. Upon inspection of a limping dog, the owner will find out that the skin covering the paws is peeling. Although paw injuries are oftentimes non-life threatening, it would still be necessary to avoid situations that can adversely affect the active lifestyle of the pet.

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A dog’s paws

A dog is a quadruped. Unlike humans that use the soles of the feet to walk, dogs use the paws. Dogs have specialized paws. Each paw has four digital pads that provide the dog efficient shock absorption when the dog jumps and traction when the dog makes sudden turns while running at high speed.

Rough environment

Rough surfaces would not be kind to the unprotected paws of the pet. Unlike humans that have all kinds of feet protection, a dog with unprotected feet would be unmindful of the rough terrain. Foot injuries are common as dogs will not walk if they can run. However, nature has provided working dogs and dogs that run in rough surfaces with a kind of paw protection. The paw digits that receive most pressure would grow thick dry skin.  Calluses are also seen in dogs advanced in age. The protective calluses though are less flexible than the pads. Rough treatment would cause the calluses to crack and to peel.

Very hot and very cold surfaces

A dog that walks on hot pavement during the hottest part of a summer day would have sore and blistered paws. The pads would crack and peel. Hot pavement is not the only enemy of a dog’s paws. The dog’s paws will be affected by snow and ice too. A dog that stays too long in the snow can suffer from frostbite. A frostbitten skin would first turn gray and then peel.


The peeling of the skin that covers the paws can be due to an allergic reaction. We humans have teary and itchy eyes and runny nose when we come in contact with allergens. Some dogs have allergic reactions to plans and chemicals. The dog may have stepped on plants while roaming or on chemicals used to clean floors, rugs and carpets. A dog’s reaction to the allergens is to chew. The extremely itchy paw will be worried and chewed until the skin is raw. Excessive chewing will cause the skin to peel.

Taking care of the pet’s paws

Dogs would not know of the dangers in running on very hot surfaces, on snow and ice as well as on rough terrain. It will be the dog owner’s responsibility to take measures that will make the pet less vulnerable to conditions that will result to paw injuries.

Skin Allergies in Dogs

Skin Infections & Disorders in Canines

What are some dog skin problems?


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    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 6 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      This is a very interesting hub. Voted up.