Black Spots on Dog Paws – What Are They?

Dogs love to follow their human buddies and just run around in general, and we cannot even begin to imagine what the poor fur baby has to deal with when their paws aren’t healthy. Many pet parents often forget to evaluate their pooch’s paw health, but if you’re one of the aware ones who recently witnessed black spots on your dog’s paws, you’re at the right place!

From normal discoloration to cancerous tumors, black spots on dog paws can have several possible underlying reasons and, in some cases, can be a sign of medical urgency. However, in most cases, it can simply be a developmental change your dog is going through. Many puppies have light-colored paws, which turn darker and become less sensitive with age so that your dog can walk comfortably on rigid surfaces.

In this post, we will discuss why dogs can have black spots on their paws, whether or not it is normal or black spots in between paws, followed by the treatment options available for black spots on dog paws. Let’s get started!

Why Does My Dog Have Black Spots on His Paws?

In many breeds of puppies, the change in paw pad color from pink to black is a common developmental process in which the thick outer protective layer, stratum corneum, develops. Besides that, there are a few other reasons why your dog might have black spots on his paws, some of which might require medical attention. The black spots can result from your pup excessively licking to soothe an allergic reaction, an inflammation of an injury, or a more serious problem that you might want to get properly diagnosed in a hospital. 

If the black spot is flat and has been there for a long time, it can simply be a birthmark of your beloved pooch. However, if the black spot on your pooch’s paw is swollen, painful, and bleeding, it can be a sign of digital melanoma in dogs, which needs to be professionally diagnosed.

Nonetheless, if your dog seems irritated with their paws lately and you witness them constantly licking them, the black spots may be hyperpigmentation from the inflammation instead. Any injuries, infections, or allergies you pooch might be dealing with silently can lead to such conditions, and if you suspect anything wrong, please consult with a vet doctor as soon as possible.

Is It Normal for A Dog to Have Black Spots on Its Paws?

As we discussed above, in many puppies, their paw pads start to become black with age, which becomes more evident after walking on rough surfaces or with extreme weather changes as their paws will be exposed to extremely hot/cold surfaces. But if your adult dog has discoloration in their paws and they’re constantly licking or chewing them, it is something you need to be more alert of. Pain, abnormal growth in the black spots, and inflammation are some symptoms that require medical care. 

Hyperkeratosis of dog paws is a condition in which keratin is abnormally deposited in paw pads, forming a crusty dry layer that can be painful and uncomfortable for your doggo to deal with. However, while darkening of the paw is common, abnormal thickening and hair-like growth on the paw pads can indicate hyperkeratosis in dogs. Some breeds are more prone to these abnormalities, but such disorders can also be triggered by parasitic infections and diseases and are majorly seen among middle-aged dogs.  

Therefore, as long as the black spots on your dog’s paw aren’t raised, painful, or have lesions or are peeling off, it is normal for dogs to have black spots on their paw. On the other hand, if other bothersome symptoms accompany the black spots, get in touch with a veterinary doctor for the proper diagnosis and a treatment plan.  

Why Is My Dog Licking the Black Spots on His Paws?

Every dog licks their paws once in a while, but if the licking is chronic and excessive, it is a sign that your dog’s paws have been hurt. Yeast infection or a bacterial infection in a dog’s paws can also cause intense itching, which your poor doggo tries to soothe by licking and biting. It is prudent for every pooch ower to have the cause of itchiness professionally diagnosed in order to understand why your dog is licking the black spot on their paws. 

Yeast infection in a dog’s paw, which commonly affects dogs’ paw pads and between the pads, is often accompanied by itchiness and sometimes brownish discharge from the nail beds. Likewise, bacterial infections show symptoms such as redness, itchiness, pain, licking and chewing, and discoloration. Parasitic infections, cysts, or tumors on your dog’s paws can also cause intense itchiness and swelling, which your dog might excessively lick.

Such uncontrolled licking and, in some instances, chewing and biting can cause hyperpigmentation in your doggo’s paws, thus the black spots. While hyperpigmentation in itself isn’t much of a problem, it is important to medically treat the root cause of the issue as soon as possible, as the longer the infection is ignored, the more will it takes a toll on your pooch.

Are the Black Spots the Same Thing if They Are Between My Dog’s Paws?

Black spots in between paws can be relatively more concerning than in paws, given how the color change from pink to black in paw pads is naturally expected in many pups. While hyperkeratosis in-between paws aren’t as common as in paw pads, your dog can still easily suffer from black spots due to infections, injuries, and tumors between paws. So, depending upon the underlying reasons, black spots in between paws may or may not be the same as in the paw pads. 

As mentioned above, any lesions, bleeding, pain, or inflammation on the black spots between paws require medical attention. Likewise, ticks or any environmental allergies that have induced inflammation on your dog’s skin in between paws might be the reason why there are licking or chewing-associated black spots in between your dog’s paws.

And in case the black spots are raised or are increasing in volume by day, please make sure to have the growth medically checked to rule out melanomas. Melanoma is a tumor of melanocytes that can manifest as dark tumors and can lead to aggressive cancers if not treated early on.

How Do You Treat Black Spots on A Dog’s Paws?

As with any other abnormalities and diseases, treating black spots on your pooch’s paws requires you to understand the underlying cause first. Our suggestion is to never self-diagnose and self-medicate on the basis of what you see on the internet and have your pooch properly diagnosed by an expert instead. Having said that, please note that flat black or brown spots in paw pads that haven’t manifested any worrisome symptoms most probably doesn’t require any treatment.

In case of bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infections, your pooch’s vet will prescribe an oral or topical medication to subside the inflammation and kill the pathogens. Depending upon the severity of the issue, harsher treatments or surgery might also be the appropriate course of action.  

That being said, proper first aid, paw grooming, and hygiene habits must also be adopted on top of medications to ensure that your doggo’s paw heals comfortably and to prevent future infections. Moisturizing your pooch’s paws regularly and using benzoyl peroxide (antimicrobial and keratolytic) based shampoo to wash their paws if they have hyperkeratosis is what many experts recommend.


We hope to have answered all your queries relating to black spots on dog paws. In a nutshell, you needn’t worry much if the paws have turned pink to black without any bothersome symptoms in puppies. However, if the black spots, along with other severe symptoms, have appeared in an adult doggo’s paws, the issue can be much more severe and require immediate medical attention. Our recommendation to pet parents would be to check their pooch’s paw regularly so that they will be provided with health care in time in case of any infections, thus, preventing dark lick stains.

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