13 Reasons Why Your Dog’s Paw Pad Skin Is Hanging – (and What to Do)

While dogs are playful and loyal, they still need a lot of care and attention. If you don’t take care of them, they can easily get sick or even die. So it’s important to take note of any changes in your dog’s behavior or health. This is especially important if your dog is prone to eating things like napkins and dryer lint.

can dogs sense when something is wr...
can dogs sense when something is wrong with their owner

But what happens when something is off with your dog’s paw pad? What should you do when your dog’s paw pad skin starts hanging and even peels off? Is there a way you can prevent this situation altogether? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today. 

By the time you’re done reading this post, you will never have to worry about this again. You will know what causes this condition, how to prevent it, what you should do, and how long it will take. So sit back, relax, and get ready to be thoroughly informed. 

Why Would My Dog’s Paw Pad Skin Be Hanging?

There are several reasons why this would happen. These include:

Infections

Both bacterial and fungal infections can make your dog’s paw pad itch, swell, and become red. This can make your dog lick and even chew their paw pad. Ultimately, this can lead to cracked feet, wounds, and hanging paw pad skin. 

Physical trauma

Physical trauma from cuts, abrasions, and tears from everyday activities can also make your dog’s paw pad skin hang. That’s why it’s important to keep your dog away from sharp objects. You can even go as far as avoiding dog parks and other public areas that have a lot of sharp objects.

Nail trouble

Ingrown nails can easily be infected and get full of pus. This can eventually lead to other complications like your dog’s paw pad skin hanging and even peeling off. Also, nail beds can have injuries and infections that can spread to the rest of your dog’s paw pad skin. 

Winter dangers

During winter, freezing and subfreezing temperatures, your dog can get frostbite on their paws, tails, ears, and even genitals. Alternatively, your dog can get ice melt on their paws, causing cracking, burning, and eventually skin hanging. Also, ice melt is toxic for dogs when ingested. 

Burns and blisters

If your dog keeps walking or running on hot pavements/sand, they can easily get burns or blisters on their paw pads. This can lead to hanging skin in the area or other complications. It can even lead to infections. 

Dryness

When your dog’s paw pad gets dry, it can easily collect dust and debris and start hanging. This can escalate to more serious infections and injuries. Alternatively, they could crack and start peeling off. 

Foreign objects

When your dog steps on sharp objects like broken glass, gravel, pebbles, and thorns, they embed themselves in its paws. This can lead to swelling, pain, and even hanging off the skin there. If these foreign objects aren’t removed, they could cause an infection and other serious complications. 

Allergies

If your dog is allergic to environmental allergens like grass and pollen, its skin and paw pads can easily get itchy. To alleviate the discomfort caused, your dog can start licking their paw pads and eventually end up with hanging skin there. This problem is most common during the fall, summer, and spring seasons.

Diseases

Some diseases make your skin and paw pads itch – they can cause other paw pad issues as well. A good example is Pemphigus – an autoimmune disease that affects cats, dogs, and humans. Other diseases and conditions that can cause paw pad problems include liver disease and zinc deficiency. 

Obsessive licking

If your dog obsessively licks their paw pads, they can easily make the skin in the area peel or hang off. This condition is usually referred to as acral lick dermatitis or lick granuloma. It is caused by psychological issues like separation anxiety. 

Insect bites

Bugs like bees and wasps can make openings in your dog’s paw pad. This is especially common if your dog then licks the area. This makes it easy for bacteria to enter the skin and cause infections that can cause paw pad skin to hang or peel.

Normal wear and tear

Sometimes your dog’s paw pad’s skin starts hanging because of normal wear and tear. Regularly walking on asphalt and rocky soil can quickly damage the upper dermal layer of a dog’s paw pad. 

Endocrine issues

If your dog has endocrine issues, it will regularly experience hormone imbalances. This makes it hard for its body to regulate functions like skin production. This can lead to paw pad problems like lesions, skin hanging, and even peeling.  

Why Do My Dog’s Paw Pads Peel Off?

Your dog’s paw pads could peel off for a number of reasons, most of which we have talked of above. These include disease, infection, dryness, burns, or even physical trauma. Usually, peeling of this area goes hand in hand with the hanging of skin. Some of the diseases and conditions that are particularly known for causing peeling of the paw pad are liver disease, Pemphigus, demodicosis, hyperkeratosis, zinc-responsive dermatosis, and hard pad disease.

Liver disease particularly affects your dog’s ability to regenerate cells. Eventually, this makes it hard for your dog’s paw pad to produce new protective cells. On the other hand, zinc-responsive dermatosis affects the way zinc is absorbed and metabolized in your dog’s body, particularly on a cellular level. Ultimately, this makes its paw pads dry up, crack, and even peel.

Demodicosis also has similar symptoms. However, unlike zinc-responsive dermatosis, demodicosis is a skin disease. It leads to inflammation, scaling, crusting, and hair loss. These symptoms can make your dog scratch itself more often than usual. 

What Should I Do if My Dog’s Paw Pad Skin Is Hanging?

If you notice that your dog’s paw pad skin is hanging, you need to wash it using warm water. Afterward, leave it open to dry up, and then wrap the whole paw in a piece of cloth and sturdy tape. This will give the paw pad time to grow back a thick layer of skin. If the hanging skin is thick and starts peeling off to expose a deep wound, though, just know that it may take longer to heal. 

If you particularly notice that the hanging skin is stained in pink blood, it’s time to get your vet involved. While such deep wounds aren’t usually an emergency, they can easily get infected and lead to further complications. So ensure to get an appointment with your vet and follow their instructions on care. Apart from prescribing some medication, they may also advise you on how to keep the wound clean and dry.

They may even recommend using balm like the Natural Dog Company Paw Soother Stick. This product is soothing and can even protect your dog’s paw from additional damage due to extreme weather conditions. All you have to do is clean your dog’s paws and then gently rub the product into them. Afterward, give the paws time to dry. 

How Do I Prevent My Dog’s Paw Pad Skin from Coming Off?

There are several things you can do to keep your dog’s paw pad skin from hanging and even peeling off. For one, you can ensure that you always moisturize your dog’s paws so that they don’t dry up. Only use products designed for dog paws, though -human lotions are a no-no. And beware of applying too much moisturizer on your dog’s paws. 

If they already have soft paws, over-moisturizing can make them more prone to tearing. Another thing you can do to protect your dog’s paw pad is to trim its fur. Keeping this fur short not only provides more traction when walking but also makes cleaning easier. Moreover, it keeps ice from building up between your dog’s toes when they are walking on snow. 

Beyond that, it prevents matting between your dog’s toes and protects them from unnecessary pain and discomfort. If the matting is allowed to continue, it can even make your dog chew at their feet. Ultimately, this behavior can lead to a lot of skin issues. Fortunately, all you need to trim your dog’s paw pad is a pair of grooming clippers. 

How Long Does It Take a Dog’s Paw Pad to Heal?

Paw pads usually take from a few days to 3 weeks to heal. This is mainly because they are made of tough keratinized epithelium. Otherwise, dogs can usually grow new cells quickly, as long as they are healthy. So if your dog’s paw pads take longer than 3 weeks to heal, just know that there’s something wrong. 

This could easily indicate that your dog is sick. After all, the state of your dog’s paw pads tells you a lot about its health – they are usually the first ones to suffer in times of illness. It’s therefore not surprising that a lot of vets encourage you to book your dog an appointment if they regularly have paw pad issues. 

Whatever the case, though, you need to understand that the skin on your dog’s paw pad has a high turnover rate. As such, your dog needs a steady supply of blood to ensure that its paw pads remain healthy. That’s why it’s important that they get a nutritious and balanced diet – this will boost their overall health too. 

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, your dog’s paw pad skin hanging or even peeling off is usually caused by environmental factors or internal health conditions. While the former causes can be easily avoided, the latter sometimes can’t. So if you notice that your dog keeps getting paw pad problems, take them to the vet immediately. They may have serious underlying conditions.