Conjoined Paw Pads: Should You be Concerned?

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Does your dog have conjoined paw pads? I suppose your immediate reaction when you realized it is one of great concern, but should you? 

What exactly are conjoined paw pads? Are they the same as cloven paw pads?

In this post, I will attempt to answer some of the questions you might have and share some insights about caring for dog feet.

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Dear Dog Owner

What are conjoined paw pads?


Conjoined paws are an uncommon congenital anomaly (birth defect) that affects some animals such as dogs.

The condition occurs when the two sides of a dog’s paw do not separate after birth.

Conjoined paw pads are most often seen on the front feet, but they can also appear on the back feet.

There are two types of conjoined paws: partial and complete.

Partial conjoined paws are most common, but both types can cause discomfort for your pet if left untreated.

The good news is that this condition is usually harmless and your dog will be able to live out its life without any issues.

Doggy says, you might like this too: Splayed Feet In Dogs [Guide]

Why are my dog’s paw pads conjoined?

This is a condition that your dog is born with, but it is not a disease, so you do not have to be too worried about it.

A dog that was born this way is likely to never experience any pain from it.

There should also not be any problems walking or running even though they seem like they are slipping sometimes.

Doggy says, you might like this too: What to do if you stepped on a puppy’s paws?

When should you be concerned about conjoined paw pads?

Conjoined pad problems can range from mild discomfort to serious pain and lameness, depending on the severity of their condition.

This can make potty training difficult because they may not want to walk on their paws at all!

This, however, is extremely rare.

Here are a few things to pay attention to where you should take action:

  • Difficulty walking due to pain in one or both feet
  • Difficulty getting up from lying down or getting up from a standstill position
  • Frequent licking of paw pad
  • Change in behavior – moody, does not allow you to touch its paws

If any of these happens, you should bring your dog to the vet for a check-up to see if there are deeper issues involved such as infection.

In the event that corrective action needs to be taken, your vet will be able to perform a small surgery to repair it.

Common dog paw problems.

Why do dogs have paw pads?


Paw pads are designed to protect our dog’s feet from sharp objects, hot pavement, and rough surfaces. They’re also used to help our dog walk smoothly over uneven terrain.

These pads are made out of skin, bone, tendons, ligaments, blood supply, and connective tissue.

Doggy says, you might be interested in this too: Dog Won’t Let Me Cut Paw Hair – What To Do Now?

Did you know that dogs have webbed feet?

We often imagine webbed feet as something that is found only in certain types of animals, although webbing between the toes is found in almost all dogs.

It’s part of the way paws are made, kind of like how your fingers have some flesh between them.

Every portion of a dog’s paw has a specific function.

As they walk, the pads on the bottoms of their feet protect them and offer grip.

Their toenails help them dig in and get more traction.

The webbing is intended to provide stability while walking and additional assistance while swimming.

Although most dogs have webbing between their toes, several breeds such as Newfoundland, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and Portuguese Water Dog have “webbed feet” that allow them to accomplish specific breed-specific tasks.

These dogs are water dogs in general, and the webbing aids them in swimming well.

Doggy says, read this too: How to Correct East West Feet in Dogs? When Should You Be Concerned?

What are cloven paw pads?

The word cloven means “split” or “divided”, and in this case, it refers to the shape of a dog’s paws.

It can be thought of as something similar to a deer’s hoof.

This is rather uncommon but is not unheard of.

They can be found in some dog breeds such as the Basenji.

Do you know how to quiet dog nails on floors?

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How to care for dog paws?

Although dog paws are tough, they are not immune to having some problems such as cracked paw pads, cuts, abrasions, or developing infections.

To care for them, you can make use of some of these tips:

  1. Use a moisturizing cream or lotion on your dog’s paws after bathing them (if they allow you to). This will help keep their paws soft and healthy-looking while also keeping them hydrated
  2. Keep an eye out for signs of injury or irritation on their paws – it can be an indication of something more serious going on with their feet. For example, if one paw looks swollen or red in color, you should take them to the vet right away so it can get checked out
  3. Wash their paws after they go outside. You can use a mild soap and warm water on their feet, paying special attention to the pads and between their toes. Alternatively, use wet wipes.
  4. Check their feet regularly for cuts, blisters, white bumps, and sores. If you see any redness or swelling, check with a vet before doing anything else
  5. Consider putting on shoes for them if you know that they will walk on hot concrete or asphalt which can cause burns on their paws

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Thank you. The rest of the article continues below.

In conclusion: Conjoined paw pads in dogs

This condition is not something that is dangerous to your dog, just something that it was born with.

As long as they do not develop into anything serious such as infections or cause pain and lameness in your dog, it is fine to leave them as they are.

If you really need peace of mind, a trip to the vet should allay those fears.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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