I’m sure many dog owners can relate to me saying that we love looking at and observing our dogs. I am rather fascinated by how my dog is, from the texture of his fur to how he wags his tail.
One thing that is of interest to many dog owners is the color of their dog’s paws. As trivial as it might sound to a non-dog owner, there is a lot of science that goes into determining the color of a dog’s paw pads.
Pink paw pads in dogs are largely due to genetics. Many puppies have pink paw pads that start to darken as they get older. An injury or infection could also turn your dog’s paws pink.
Let us further understand what determines the color of your dog’s paw pads and other causes of dogs with pink paw pads.
Anatomy Of A Dog’s Paw
Your dog’s cute paws are made up of five parts and every part plays a purpose in the overall anatomy.
The five parts of your dog’s paws are:
- Digital pads
- Metacarpal pad
- Carpal pad
Your dog’s nails or claws serve as traction as they dig into the ground while the dog is running. They also make it easy for me to know where my dog is in the house with the sound it makes.
Your pet’s paw pads, which are directly under your dog’s toes, aren’t just for booping, think of them as dog shoes for your canine companion. These fleshly paw pads are made of fatty tissues which act as shock absorbers to protect your dog’s joints and bones.
The thickness of the paw pads also protects your dog’s paws from rough and hard terrain. It also acts as insulation when the dog walks or runs on a cold surface like snow or ice.
Imagine running through harsh terrain without shoes. You wouldn’t be able to last long.
What Color Should Dog Paw Pads Be?
There isn’t any hard and fast rule as to what color a dog’s paw pad should be. It largely depends on the age and breed of the dog in question. A dog with light fur does not necessarily have pink paw pads.
Young dogs and puppies tend to have pink paw pads during their younger years. These dogs with pink paw pads will experience a change in their paw pad color as they age.
The same applies to the color of a dog’s nose. Some dogs have brown noses that can change as they get older. You should also be aware of nay change in color and texture of your dog’s nose which could signal a health problem.
When Do Puppy Paw Pads Turn Black?
During the first six to seven months of a dog’s life, its paw pads will slowly turn from pink to a darker color. This is due to all the running and playing that a puppy does to start forming a callous on its pink paws.
It might be cute and adorable to see a dog with pink paw pads but it can be quite uncomfortable for the dog as pink usually means the most tender areas of the dog.
The darkened paw pads mean that the skin has hardened and is acting as a protective layer.
What Breed Of Dog Have Pink Paw Pads?
To date, there aren’t any recognized dog breeds that are known to have pink paw pads from young to old.
In fact, dogs with pink paw pads can have a disadvantage in dog competitions. Some breed standards list having pink paw pads as a negative and could cost the dog points in the show.
Causes For Pink Paw Pads
If your dog is no longer a puppy and you notice that your dog’s paw pad is turning pink, it could be due to a few other possible reasons.
If you find that your dog has been biting and licking its paws more often these days, take a look at its paws to see if it is pink in color.
A pink paw pad could mean that your dog’s paws are allergic to something in the environment.
Some dogs can develop allergic reactions to grass and dirt. If your dog has such an allergy, it would be good to wash or wipe their paw pads when you are back from a walk.
However, if the allergy is due to something in the air, it will be much harder to prevent.
For such allergies, it is best to get the appropriate treatment from the vet which can include tablets or injections to keep the allergy at bay.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
If you thought that only humans can have OCD, think again. OCD is a behavioral condition that can affect our dogs and cats.
A dog with OCG will engage in behavior that is very repetitive and abnormal. Such behavior can include:
- Frantic fly biting
- Running round in circles
- Chasing its own tail
- Pacing and vocalizing
And of cos biting and gnawing at its own paws until it becomes pink and sore.
Trying to diagnose OCD in dogs can be challenging as it’s difficult to ascertain the root cause. The best form of treatment for canine OCD is medication and behavioral training.
Infection Of The Paw
Given that dogs spend a great deal of time outdoors, they are at higher risk of bacterial infections as well as fungal infections of the paw. This can cause the dog’s paw pads to turn pink.
Bacterial infections can happen when there is an overgrowth of certain bacteria in and around the dog’s paw pads.
This could be due to ingrown hairs, swimming in contaminated waters or a simple skin infection.
Some dogs can get yeast infections in their paws making them red and itchy.
Please take your dog to see the vet if it is having a paw infection. It can get worst without proper medical attention.
How To Keep My Dog’s Paw Healthy?
Many dog owners do tend to not practice good paw hygiene in their dogs until it is too late. Here are some tips that you can use to keep your dog’s paws healthy.
- Trim your dog’s nails frequently
- Don’t let your dog walk on surfaces that are too hot or cold
- Stay away from surfaces that can injure your dog’s paws
- Moisturize your dog’s paw pads to keep them from cracking
- Wash and dry your dog’s feet when you get back home
Keeping your dog’s paws healthy is a good way to prevent any form of infection from happening to the paw pads.
Why Does My Dog Have Pink And Black Paws?
Some dogs have pink and black paws due to their natural coloration. As mentioned earlier that as puppies get older, the skin of their paw pads starts to thicken and change color due to excessive use.
This outer skin grows gradually and in stages thus giving the pink and black paw pads. This is also called marbling.
Are Dogs With Pink Pads More Sensitive?
The pink areas of a dog’s paw pad are said to be more sensitive as compared to the darker areas. The skin on these pink areas is also thinner and can tear or get burnt a lot easier.
It is best to avoid excessive movement or allow your dog to walk on very warm surfaces to prevent any damage to the delicate areas.
Fun Facts About Dog’s Paws
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the paws of a dog. Here are some interesting facts that you might not know about dog paws.
Some Dogs Have Webbed Feet
Most dogs are natural swimmers but there are some dogs that are born to swim. Dog breeds like the Labrador, Poodles and Newfoundlands.
Dogs with webbed feet have an easier time swimming, digging and walking on soft muddy surfaces.
Dog’s Sweat Through Their Paws
Dogs usually regulate their body heat by panting. But if the weather gets very hot, they will start to sweat through their paws to try and stay cool.
Cats will do the same as well in addition to regulating body heat through their ears.
A Barometer Of Your Dog’s Health
There are a couple of ways to tell how if something isn’t right with your dog. If you notice your dog biting and chewing on its paws, it is best to get it to the vet for a check up.
The color of your dog’s paw pads should not be much of an issue to you. The majority of dogs are born with pink paw pads that slowly darken as they age.
If you notice that your dog’s paw pads are turning pink due to a medical condition, then it is best to have the vet take a look at the paw and get it treated.
The longer your dog’s paws stay infected, it can spread to the rest of the feet.