Red paws, or pododermatitis in dogs, is a medical condition characterized by red, itchy, or swollen paws. Here are 7 reasons that may cause red feet in dogs and how you can treat them.

Red paws


If your dog's feet appear red, particularly following a walk or physical activity, it may have stepped on a sharp object or strained itself on uneven ground. Inspect the paws for any foreign objects such as thorns, glass, or pins.

Extreme temperatures can also cause swelling and inflammation. If your dog has walked on hot surfaces or suffered frostbite in the snow, administer basic paw care at home to address the redness. If the condition continues, be sure to contact your veterinarian.


Swollen, inflamed, and red feet in dogs may be due to an allergic reaction to certain allergens such as food or plants. If the issue persists, track when your dog's paws are most itchy, what they have eaten, and what substances they have come into contact with.


Your dog's paws encounter countless bacteria and fungi daily. Infections in their paws can lead to redness, itchiness, irritation, inflammation, discharge, moisture, lesions, ulcers, and flaky skin. A yeast infection might also cause a foul odor from the paws.


Common dog parasites, such as fleas, ticks, mites, and worm larvae, can lead to skin irritations and secondary bacterial infections in your dog’s paws. Mites like demodex and sarcoptes are particularly known for causing pododermatitis in dogs. Fleas, notorious for causing flea allergy dermatitis, can also result in red, irritated feet in dogs.


If your dog’s feet become red or swollen after prolonged outdoor activity, they may have developed pododermatitis due to overactivity and friction. This condition is particularly likely if your dog has overexerted on very hot or cold surfaces.

Autoimmune disorders

Red feet and other skin issues can also be caused by autoimmune diseases. Autoimmunity occurs when a dog's immune system cannot differentiate between healthy body cells and harmful invaders like bacteria or viruses, leading to the body attacking its own cells.

Genetics & Age

Certain dog breeds have a natural predisposition to skin issues such as red feet. This tendency is frequently observed in breeds with short coats, including English Bulldogs, Dachshunds, Great Danes, Chinese Shar-Peis, and Boxers. Additionally, pododermatitis is prevalent among breeds with skin folds as they mature.