White Bump on Dog Paw Pad? [Mystery Solved]

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.

Picture this: You’re enjoying a delightful stroll with your furry sidekick, Sir Fluffington, when you notice something odd.

A curious spot has appeared on his paw pad, and panic sets in.

What caused that white bump on your dog’s paw pad?

There are several potential causes, such as an allergy, an existing injury, or your dog’s paws might have developed painful corns. Depending on the other symptoms your dog shows, you can take the right steps to fix the issue.

In this post, I will dive deeper into the causes, diagnosis, and share a bit about the common paw injuries a dog might have.

So grab your magnifying glasses and put on your thinking caps, as we follow the trail of the mysterious white bump. Ready, set, investigate!

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Dear Dog Owner

7 Potential Causes of White Bumps on a Dog’s Paw Pads

Potential Causes of White Bumps on a Dog's Paw Pads

Paw bumps are small white bumps that can appear on your dog’s paw pads. 

While these bumps are usually harmless, they can also signal a health issue. 

If you notice white paw bumps on your furry friend, here are some possible causes:

1. Allergies and irritants

Your dog may be as sensitive as you are, especially about allergies.

Even the slightest exposure to irritants like chemicals or rough surfaces can bring discomfort and white bumps on their sensitive paw pad.

2. Infections

Dog paws are pretty miraculous, flexing and bending to support the dog’s weight while they run and walk. 

But, sometimes, things go wrong, and bumps can appear on a dog’s paw pads. It is usually due to an infection like bacteria or fungus.

Dogs that are always outside are more susceptible to conditions like this.

3. Tumors or growths

If you see a white bump on your dog’s paw pad, don’t ignore it!

Some growths are benign and nothing to worry about, but some can result from tumors or other developments.

If your dog has a family history of cancer, a vet visit can help you spot it early.

4. Trauma or injury

A dog’s paw pad has many layers of skin that protect the sensitive tissue underneath. 

Injuries to the paw pad can cause various changes depending on the severity and the amount of time before treatment begins.

It can develop bumps or other abnormalities as it heals.

5. Autoimmune diseases

Some often mistake white bumps for skin lesions.

These lumps, bumps, and inflammation can be due to various things, including a foreign body embedded in the pad, like pemphigus or lupus.

6. Cysts

A small amount of fluid-filled sacs can develop under the skin, including on a dog’s paw pads.

Others consider these fluid-filled sacs as cysts or lipomas and are not cause for concern.

7. Corns (Keratoma)

A keratoma is a benign growth that can develop on a dog’s paw pad, composed of an overgrowth of keratin, the fibrous protein that makes up the outer layer of skin, hair, and nails in animals.

In dogs, keratomas typically appear as firm, raised, round, and sometimes white or discolored bumps on the paw pad, which can cause discomfort or even lameness.

It’s most commonly seen in sighthounds such as greyhounds.

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When to Be Concerned About White Bumps on Your Dog’s Paw Pads?

White bumps on your dog’s paw pads are concerning, especially if you don’t know how they got it or what they might be.

Some bumps will go away without treatment, but others may be symptoms of a serious illness that requires immediate attention.

Here are issues to concern about: 

Swelling

Paw swelling is a painful condition affecting one or more of your dog’s paws.

If you notice your dog limping, licking their paws excessively, or shaking them off frequently, chances are they’re injured. 

The most common reason for swollen dog paws is a foot pad injury.

Others include insect bites, infections, and allergies.

Redness

Redness on a dog’s paw pads is a common symptom indicating an underlying issue.

There are many potential reasons behind redness, for instance, cuts and scrapes. 

Allergies from food, the environment, or flea bites, can also lead to redness and itchiness on the paw pads.

Fleas can bring irritation and redness on the paw pads, hair loss, and itching.

Pain or discomfort

When to Be Concerned About White Bumps on Your Dog's Paw Pads?

If your furry friend reacts strongly when you touch their paws, they are likely experiencing pain or discomfort.

They may yelp or make other sounds to show that they are in pain.

It could be a broken bone or an infected wound.

You’ll know your dog is in pain or uncomfortable when:

  • Awkward resting position: Your dog may lay in an unusual position to avoid putting pressure on the affected paw.
  • Withdrawing: Your dog may avoid physical contact or interaction with you or other pets.
  • Altered breathing: Your dog may breathe more rapidly or shallowly than usual.
  • Changes in eating: Your dog may lose their appetite or eat less than usual.
  • Disrupt sleeping habits: Your dog may have difficulty sleeping or trouble staying asleep.
  • Seeking affection: Your dog may seek more affection and attention from you.
  • Excessive vocalizations: Your dog may whine or bark excessively, which could indicate that they are in pain.

Limping or favoring the affected paw

If you notice that your dog is walking strangely or limping, it could be a sign that something is wrong with its joints, paws, or the entire foot.

Below are several possible explanations for this behavior:

  • Malformed bones: Some dogs are born with malformed bones, which can cause limping and pain. This condition is often genetic, and surgery can correct it
  • Dislocated joints: Joints dislocate when a bone or joint is forcibly moved from its normal position. It is a common injury, often due to an accident or trauma.
  • Torn ligaments: Torn ligaments can occur from excessive running, jumping, or twisting, causing severe pain and lameness. This injury is common in active dogs and may require surgery to repair.
  • Ruptured tendons: Ruptured tendons can happen when your dog overexerts itself or experiences a sudden injury. It can be a painful condition that requires prompt medical attention.
  • Older dogs: If your dog is older, it might have weak bones causing them to limp.

Diagnosis of White Bumps on Dog Paw Pads

Is it a sign of infection or disease? Or is it something harmless?

Your next priority is identifying what they are to help you and your dog feel at ease.

Taking your pet to a veterinarian is the best course of action. They will give you an insight into what is going on in your dog’s paws.

Your vet may perform the following diagnosis:

Physical examination

During a physical exam, your vet will closely examine the bumps and your pet’s entire body. It can help assess the bumps’ size, location, and appearance.

Biopsy or culture

A biopsy is a laboratory procedure to remove a small tissue sample from the bump. The procedure can identify the underlying reason for the bumps, such as an infection. 

Culture may also be necessary to pinpoint the organism causing a fungal or bacterial infection.

Blood tests

Blood tests can guide your vet in ruling out other potential problems and determining the most effective treatment method. They can reveal if your pet has a metabolic disorder, nutritional deficiency, or an immune system issue.

X-Rays or other imaging tests

An X-ray can determine a broken bone in a foot or injury. Surgery or another treatment method may be necessary if your dog has a bone injury. 

Also, an ultrasound or MRI can show whether there are tumors or cysts present in your pet’s body.

Appropriate testing can help identify and treat the underlying issues of white bumps on your dog’s paw pads. 

Common Dog Paw Problems

Your dog uses their paws as the primary means of transportation, just as we use our feet. 

They can play, run and explore their surroundings—but this freedom comes at a cost: dog’s paws are also susceptible to injuries!

Keep reading to learn more common paw problems and how to identify them in your pet.

  • Paw pad cuts and abrasions are common in dogs, especially those who love to run and play on rough surfaces or concrete. Signs of cuts and bruises include limping, licking, chewing the paw, and bleeding.
  • Paw pad burns often occur during warm weather when dogs spend time outside. Walking on hot pavement makes your dog’s paws hot. This can develop painful blisters on its paw pads.
  • Paw pad hyperkeratosis is when a dog’s paw pads become excessively thickened and stiff, potentially causing discomfort. This extra skin thickening can give cracks or small bumps on the paw pads.
  • Interdigital cysts are fluid-filled lumps between the toes, usually on the front paws. Although they typically don’t cause symptoms unless infected, some can be symptoms of allergies, infections, or foreign objects.
  • Nail problems are common in dogs, including broken nails, overgrown nails, and ingrown nails. Nail problems are usually due to a combination of genetics and improper nutrition.
  • Parasites. Ticks love hiding in pets’ paws, which could lead to painful infections and other issues. Mites are another common problem that infests the paws, causing hair loss and scaling, while the eggs can lead to inflammation and swelling.
  • Dry and cracked paw pads. Several factors can lead to dry and cracked paw pads, including exposure to hot pavement, wintery conditions, chemicals, dry air, rough surfaces, and excessive licking.

Doggy says, you might be interested to read this too: Why did my dog’s nail turn black?

Dog Paw Care and Prevention Tips

Dog Paw Care and Prevention Tips

As a responsible dog owner, it’s important to take care of your pet’s paws. 

To keep your dog’s paws healthy and prevent potential problems, follow these tips:

  • Regularly trim your dog’s nails: Using sharp nail clippers, trim the nails just below the quick (the pink area that contains blood vessels). Never cut them too short, as it could be painful for your dog.
  • Keep your dog’s paws clean and dry: Wipe your dog’s paws clean after playing outside to remove dirt and bacteria. Pay special attention to the toes, where debris and moisture accumulate.
  • Check your dog’s paws for cuts, abrasions, or other injuries: You and your dog spend more time indoors when the weather gets cooler. Your dog might be at risk for dry feet, so pay attention to the signs of dry paw damage.
  • Protect your dog’s paws from extreme temperatures: In hot weather, your dog is less likely to be active, so getting their feet dirty isn’t as possible. But, in cold weather, the snow can be harsh, even causing their paw to crack.
  • Consider using paw balms or creams: Healthy paws keep dogs moving freely, but dry feet don’t. Moisturize your dog’s paws to keep them healthy.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals: Your dog’s paws can absorb everything it touches. It can get irritated by cleaning products or exposure to chemicals.
  • Watch out for allergies: Dogs often have allergies that affect their feet and paws. Talk with your vet about how to help calm your dog’s allergy symptoms.

These simple tips can help keep your dog’s paws clean and pain-free.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are white bumps on a dog’s paw pads always a cause for concern?

Most bumps on dogs’ paw pads are nothing to worry about and can be easily taken care of with regular paw pad maintenance. On rare occasions, bumps signify immune diseases, fungal infections, and cancer.

Can white bumps on a dog’s paw pads be contagious?

Not all bumps are contagious. For example, friction-induced bumps on the skin (like chafes and calluses) are not infectious due to external forces. But other bumps can be contagious to other pets and us because of viruses or fungi.

Can I try to treat white bumps on my dog’s paw pads at home?

It depends on what’s causing the bumps. Rubbing your puppy’s paws with some moisturizer or warm cloth might do the trick. But if you suspect a viral or fungal infection or an autoimmune disease. It’s best to leave your pup and get checked out by experts.

In Conclusion: White Bump on Dog Paw Pad

Our investigative journey has enlightened us on the possible causes of white bumps on dog paw pads, and phew, there’s so much to learn, isn’t it?

Of course, you’re not going to remember every single thing. The key thing to know is that if your dog shows signs of pain and discomfort, then that’s when you need to be more concerned, and potentially bring it in for a check-up.

In most cases, this will just breeze by, so don’t be too worried!

Stay tuned for more fur-filled fun! Here are some more articles you can check out:

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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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