Has your dog injured their paw pads? Perhaps even lost parts of them. Are you wondering if the pads will heal and grow back? Besides, dogs spend a lot of time on the feet, and paw pads are instrumental, too, helping with balance, stability, and absorbing shock that would otherwise go to the bones and joints. So, here is everything you are going to want to know, consider and do.
So, do dog paw pads grow back? In most cases, a dog’s paw pads can grow back after injury or wear and tear. The biggest thing that a dog’s paw pads need to heal and grow back is time and pain management. There is no way to rush the process of growing back paw pads, and your dog will need support from you as it goes through the process of healing its paws.
Paw pad injuries occur for a variety of reasons, and today we are going to look at what you can expect the healing process to be like.
How Long Does It Take For A Dogs Paw Pads To Grow Back?
On average, you should expect 10 to 21 days of healing time for your dog’s paw pads to grow back. Though, the length of time it takes a dog’s paw pads to grow back is dependent on the severity of the wound, particularly its depth, your dog’s overall health, and your dog’s age.
Let’s look at these factors more closely.
Severity Of The Wound
The number one factor in paw pad growth time is the severity of the wound to the pad.
If your pup wore down their paw pad by taking a walk on an unusually rough surface, the wounds are likely just to the paw pad’s top layer.
A wound that is only to the outside area of the paw pad and not very deep is known as a superficial wound and is the easiest to heal.
A superficial wound could heal in as little as 3-5 days.
Paw pads that have dried out due to age or environmental factors and have started to crack and/or bleed will take a bit more time and care to heal.
You should expect around a ten-day healing process once a plan for stopping the cracking has been made.
Trauma wounds to a dog’s paw pads, such as heavy cuts or punctures, can run deep into the paw pad tissue.
These wounds can take up to three weeks to fully heal and have new paw pad tissue grow in.
Dog’s Overall Health
To regrow paw pads, a dog must go through a process known as re-keratinization, where a new and tougher pad grows in to replace the injured or weaker one.
This process does require the dog to be in a state of average health to happen in a timely manner.
A dog that has poor health can still grow back their paw pads, but it may take longer than if they were at peak health.
Your Dog’s Age
As with many things in the animal world, youthfulness is a bit of an advantage here. Simply put, younger dogs typically heal faster from injuries to their paw pads than older dogs.
This may not always be the case if a young dog continues to put stress and strain on their injured paw through a desire to play and explore their environment.
Still, if your dog is a senior dog, it is best to plan for paw regrowth to take some time.
Identifying what has caused a dog’s paw pad to be worn down or injured, helping your dog to take care of their paw pads, and removing any sources of paw irritation can help make a dog’s paw pad recovery quicker and easier.
Will A Dog’s Paw Pad Heal On Its Own?
It is possible, but not overly likely, for a dog’s pad to heal on its own. A dog’s body has the ability to perform re-keratinization, the process of building back a paw pad without help, but a dog’s lifestyle and other behaviors can interfere with healing.
Below you will find information about a few reasons dog paw pads may not heal well on their own.
Why A Dogs Paw Pad May Not Heal On Its Own
Excessive Licking Of The Injured Pad
Originally licking wounds was a natural way for dogs to potentially remove debris and bacteria from injured parts of their body.
In many domestic dogs, licking wounds is done as a way to soothe a sore or irritated area.
Some licking can be beneficial, but most dogs don’t know when to stop and end up irritating their wound more than helping it.
For every bit of bacteria they lick away, they risk introducing new or more bacteria to the injured spot.
Continual licking can also make the paw pad even more irritated than it already is.
Repeated Injury From Daily Movements
Just as when a person gets a blister on their heel and continues to wear shoes that rub, a dog’s paw pads are often exposed to more damage during the healing process.
A dog that is not monitored may continue trying to walk and run on an injured pad or expose their pad to harsh surfaces that are hot or rough.
Continuing activities that put pressure and friction on a healing paw pad can significantly lower the chances of the paw pad growing back.
The Risk For Infection Is High
Paw pads are hard areas to stitch, meaning the injury is often considered an open wound through the healing process.
Due to things such as licking and exposure to many surfaces, the risk of a paw pad injury becoming infected is extremely high.
Without human assistance to keep the area clean and dry, paw pads could become infected during the healing period.
It’s unfortunate that dog paw pads don’t often heal on their own, but with care from a loving owner and inspection by a veterinarian, most paw pad injuries can be treated and healed.
To find out exactly what you can do to help your dog as their paw pads grow back, check out the next section.
How To Support Your Dog While Their Paw Pads Grow Back
When you notice that your dog has a paw pad injury, the first thing you need to do is assess the injury, apply pressure to slow or stop any bleeding, and call a veterinarian.
A veterinarian will be able to assess how much damage was done to the paw pad and help get your dog started on the path to healing.
As your dog’s paw pad grows back, there are a few things you can do to provide support.
Keep The Paw Area Clean
As mentioned earlier, a dog will often try to keep their injury clean by licking it, but this often has the opposite effect.
Help your dog out by keeping the area clean and dry for them.
To clean the paw pad, you can simply use water and antibacterial soap with a gentle cloth to wipe the area.
Be extra gentle and only wipe as much as is needed to help water and soap clean the area.
After using soap and rinsing the paw, gently pat the paw dry with a soft towel. Repeat this step twice a day unless told otherwise by your veterinarian.
If your veterinarian provides you with an antibacterial ointment, be sure to apply it according to your vet’s directions after carefully drying the paw.
Cover The Paw
It can be helpful to gently cover an injured paw with gauze and a wrap to prevent dirt and debris from infecting the injury.
Some dogs do not mind having a wrapped paw, while others may become irritable or try chewing the wrapping off.
If your dog does not tolerate a traditional wrap, consider trying out a pair of specialized socks or booties made for dogs.
These are often worn by dogs who perform intense exercise in dog sports, such as sledding and hunting, to protect their feet from injury.
Encourage Your Dog To Rest
We know that for many dogs, this step is easier said than done!
However, laying off the games of fetch or long walks for a couple of weeks will help encourage your dog to rest their sore paw and allow for healing.
View it as a good opportunity for some relaxing snuggles with your favorite friend.
Be Aware Of What Surfaces Your Dog Walks On
Even when trying to get your dog to rest, some walking and exercise are bound to happen.
You can help support your dog as their paw pad grows back by being very aware of what surfaces they are walking on.
A dog with an injured paw will be more sensitive to surfaces that are hot, cold, or rough to the touch.
These surfaces may irritate and rub on newly developing paw pad skin and slow down regrowth or cause further injury to the paw.
Give All Medications Your Veterinarian Suggests
If your veterinarian gives you a prescription for pain as the result of a paw pad injury, continue giving the medicine through the healing process.
As a wilderness survival tool, dogs do not show pain as easily or in the same way as humans.
Do not trust that your dog will ‘tell you if its paw pad is hurting, and instead provide pain support as guided by your vet.
As The Paw Heals – Consider Applying A Moisturizer
Once you notice that the paw pad is beginning to return, you will want to help the new skin stay supple and well-developed.
Simple moisturizing creams such as plain Vaseline or specialty paw pad creams from pet stores can help.
Gently applying a cream moisturizer to almost healed or newly healed paw pads can help prevent new injuries as the paw pad strengthens over time.
Caring for a paw pad is mostly about comfort, cleanliness, and encouraging rest.
By keeping your dog comfortable, resting the paw, and keeping the paw clean, you will give them a great start in the paw regrowth process.
Taking time to talk with your veterinarian about any major paw injuries and following up with them during the healing process is also important.
A dog losing part of its paw pad is definitely alarming but with proper care and attention, regrowing the paw pad is possible in most cases.
You should not let your dog lick his torn paw pad. This is because he could transfer bacteria to the wound, and potentially cause infection. Alternatively, he could cause further damage to the wound, making it larger, or opening up the wound further.
Related guides you may want to check out:
- Dog Paw Pad Skin Hanging [What You Now Need To Do]
- Why Does My Puppy Bite His Paws? [Should You Stop Them?]
- Dogs Front Paws Turn Inward [Why & What To Do]
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.