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Sore skin on paws in between pads?


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I noticed my dog was chewing his back paw and when I checked it his skin was red and sore in between his pads, he was nibbling it as if it was itching him?? I since noticed that he has this on all of his paws although he is only 'chewing' one? It doesn't bother him most of the time, he walks/runs fine. Any ideas before I take him to the vets, I could really do without the expense but obviously I'll take him if there isn't anything I can do first??

Thank you.

Hi Nicola,

My Oreo is going through the exact same thing.

She has 'hotspots' (red, sore, damp spots) between her toes. This is only on her back feet. She doesn't touch the front. She does tend to favoure one back foot but does go for two.

It is the time of year for dog allergies and if he's only just started this now I suspect it maybe something on his walk that may have upset his skin. Hopefully it isn't a lifetime allergy.

Allergies can come at any time in a dogs life.

Food allergies are a close second for causing allergies but are less common than airborn ones.

Personally, I would take the dog to rule out any issues with back end issues such as hip problems but as my vet told me only yesterday if it were this you would notice your dog walking funny and other things first.

Bathing the feet in warm water mixed with either a small amount of hibiscrub or salt water. This will wash away any nasties that have built up. Keep them soaked for as close to 15 mins as possible and rinse well with warm water.

Tap them dry and don't rub.

Have you changed anything like washing powder, air fresheners, shake-n-vac type products recently? If you have remove them first to see if the itching stops.

HAve you put anything on your grass?

Have you checked for fleas?

Once the above have been checked I would move onto food. What food is the dog eating at the moment?

Thank you so much for your reply, I appreciate the effort in writing back :- ) he has one foot that he pays particular attention to too and it's one of his back ones? Yes he's only just started with it in the last couple of days, he's a real water fairy and insists on walking though puddles, lakes, rivers, ponds so wondered if he could have picked up something from there? I can't see it being his food as he eats more or less the same thing, I put dry food down for him during the day and I give him a tin in the evening (plus any healthy left overs from our tea)? Also, don't think it's fleas as I'm a bit obsessed with checking him after he had a bad bowt of them last year........I soaked his feet in salt water last night so I'll see how he is when I get in from work tonight? Can I buy hibiscrub without going to the vets?


Hibiscrub is available from boots etc. Must be diluted though. Should be of a builders tea colour. Don't use the antiseptic stuff they sell it must be the hibiscrub stuff.

Don't rule out food, they can develop an allergy to any food at any time especially if they've been on that food for life etc. At this stage I would say it was unlikely but it's worth keeping it in the back of your mind.

He could have well picked something up in a puddle. Are you sure that he hasn't got anything stuck in his paw like a thorn or something like that?

Are there any other issues for example ear problems?

There are so many posibilities at the minute that it makes it very difficult.

I have been going through this with Oreo for 13 months with no sucess. I have worked through various foods etc and washed her feet daily without sucess. However, I do know of others who have found the issue and there dogs are back to normal.

It is very much trial and error.

The problem with this is becomes a nasty cycle because the sore patch now becomes an irritant for the dog so he chews to remove it and it just continues.
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Brilliant, I'll pick some hibiscub up, just out of curiosity, what else is this used for, I asked my boss the same questions that's all and she suggested hibiscrub too :- ) Sounds like its worth having in? He has no other problems athough yesterday I left him with my friend in the morning as she wanted to walk him with her kids and when I went to pick him up he had right face on with me and then all night he seemed moody (if that's possible, I know he's a dog but you know their little personalities) and when I went to bed I noticed his nose was dry, however, he was fine this morning?? Maybe he's a little bit under the weather? I'll call for the hibiscub tonight, use that for a few days and if it hasn't cleared up by Monday I guess I'll have to take him to the vets?

I agree with you though, now it's irritated he won't leave it alone :- (

Thank you for your advice, it's put my mind at rest just knowing that other dogs get this too.

Dogs get pretty down, especially when they have an itchy they cannot scratch. It must be horrible for them.

Hibiscrub is what they use in vets and hospitals to scrub things down so that they are clean etc. You also see them washing there hands with it on programs and stuff. Although, now different places use different things.

It is harmless to dogs (make sure it's diluted) but make sure they don't drink it.

Once it's washed off their feet it won't harm them if they lick the area but you probably don't want them to do that anyway.

I sometimes use sudecrem but I always put a sock over the top to stop her licking it.

I would start off washing his feet perhaps just before bed to let them dry naturally but also to give him a bit of relief.

I hope all goes well for you.

Keep us updated.
sure its not wet excema? one of mine started getting it a few years back so treated it accordinly and it managable. biting redness and mainly one paw or two. just a thought. hibiscrub is fine by the way. i use a similer product called vetsept with good results from free postage.
do they smell funny, a bit cheesy maybe? It might be a yeast or fungal infection if his paws are damp often, :)
If it's one paw rather than the others, are you sure that there's nothing like a grass seed stuck in the quick around one claw, or a torn or broken claw on one foot? Something as simple as a small cut or an embedded grass seed could make him rag his paw into quite a state if it's really sore, and by the time he's done that you may miss a really simple initial cause.

EDIT- and if you think that this is a minefield of causes with dogs, have a Google for a condition of cats called pillowfoot, otherwise known as plasma cell pododermatitis. One of mine has this and scientists have no idea what causes it (something immune based possibly, but no proof), but sometimes if they treat it with steroids it goes away and sometimes if they treat it with long term antibiotics it goes away, sometimes neither work, sometimes it goes away by itself and sometimes it gets so bad that the only treatment is to remove the pads surgically.

I've avoided treatment thus far with Billy as he's only got one ulcer on the sole of his paw, it doesn't seem to trouble him and he's a mostly indoor cat so it doesn't get too much garden stuck in the ulcer. If it gets infected or worsens then I'll have no option, and at that point I fully expect him to pee all over the vet like he did last time he had to go there, which is better than Isaac, who bites everybody who tries to restrain him to the point that we take our own gauntlets to appointments these days.
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