What Does It Mean if my Cat or Dog has a Swollen Paw?

If you notice that your cat or dog has a swollen paw, it’s important that you take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible. A swollen paw can be very painful and a result of many different things.

Symptoms and Potential Causes

Signs that you may see in addition to the swelling can include lameness, redness, a raised area on the paw and lethargy. Your pet may also not want to move around very much. Potential causes of a swollen paw include:
  • Injury – i.e., broken bones, burns, puncture wounds, lacerations or an abrasion
  • Infection – wounds on the paw can become infected very easily; certain skin infections or systemic infections can also cause swollen paws
  • A foreign body – grass lawns can become lodged in your pet’s foot and cause swelling and infection
  • Insect bites, spider bites or bee stings
  • A mass or cancer

    Bleeding Paws

    • If your pet is bleeding from the paw, you should apply pressure to the area to control the bleeding. Do not give your pet any medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen unless directed by your veterinarian, as these products can be harmful to your pet. Antibiotics you have on hand should not be given either as they may not be of any help and could also harm your pet.

      Again, it’s important to stress that if you notice that your pet has a swollen paw, you should get to the veterinarian immediately. He or she will examine the area to determine the cause of the swelling. X-rays may be performed to screen for a fracture. Laboratory tests may also be performed to check for any underlying medical issues that may be causing the swelling.

      Treatment will depend on the cause of the swelling and may include treating any wounds, prescribing antibiotics and/or pain medications and possibly surgery.
       

      Need More Information?

      If you have questions about swelling in your pet’s paws, or any other health concerns, make an appointment to with your local Banfield veterinarian. You can also browse the related articles below.