Dog Paw Anatomy: 7 Related Inquiries with Complete Answers!

Did you ever take a close look at your little pal`s paws? If not, you can do so now! What do you notice?

dog paw anatomy

Just like our own two feet, our dogs` paws are as essential to daily life`s quality as they are easy to miss. (The Farmer’s Dog, 2022)

Although the eyes or tail of your furry friend might get the most attention, the paws` power should never be underestimated. (Breyer, 2022)

Most canines have cute paws. But no matter how adorable they are, there`s a lot for pet owners to learn from the anatomy of a canine`s paws. (Hound, 2022)

In our today`s topic, we are trying to cover some essential insights about dog paw anatomy. We are also keen on answering some related inquiries to this topic.

What Are the Parts of a Dog`s Paw?

The paw of a canine has five essential parts:

  • Claws
  • Digital pads
  • Metacarpal pads (front paws) and metatarsal pads (rear paws)
  • Dewclaws
  • Carpal pads

(“Dog Paw Anatomy | Ruffwear UK”, 2022)

Each of these parts has a specific purpose. For instance, the nails are adapted to offer traction while dogs run and for digging. (Hound, 2022)

According to Breyer (2022), from the average 319 bones of a canine`s skeleton, quite a few of those can be found in the paws.

Despite the typical anatomy of a canine`s paw, certain dog breeds possess specific traits that can help them “stand out” in their field.

Doberman Pinschers or Akitas have really compact paws as a result of their third digit, which is shorter. Therefore, their endurance is increased as they need less energy for their rounder paws to be lifted.

Just the opposite, Bedlington Terriers and Greyhounds have so-called “hare feet,” resulting in the lengthening of their middle two digits. This offers them a greater advantage in terms of speed in comparison with other dog breeds. (Understanding Your Dog: Her Sensational Paws, 2018)

What Is the Extra Thing on a Dog`s Paw?

Also known as “extra” claws, dewclaws are located on the lower portion of the canine`s leg. (The Farmer’s Dog, 2022) A dewclaw is considered an additional toe that is located on the inside of the canine`s foreleg. (Dog Dew Claws: Injuries, Trimming & Removal 2020)

Most dogs have dewclaws on their forelegs; however, there are dog breeds, such as Briards, Norwegian Lundehunds, or Great Pyrenees, that have these short claws on their hind legs. (The Farmer’s Dog, 2022)

What`s the Purpose of a Dewclaw?

There`s a specific purpose for a dewclaw attached to the bone of the foreleg of a canine. When our little pals run, their forelegs mostly bend until their dewclaws touch the ground. – Check for more!

When slippery surfaces or high speeds are involved, our little fellas` get a lot of traction from these dewclaws. They also help stabilize their carpal joint. (Coates, 2017)

dog paw diagram

What Is the Big Pad in a Dog`s Foot Called?

The largest pad is found in the middle of the paw, the metacarpal (forelegs) or metatarsal (hind legs). (Dog Paw Anatomy 101: Everything You Need to Know, 2022)

The function of these pads is to absorb socks and bearing load. (Dog Paw Anatomy | Ruffwear UK, 2022) They can be called “walking sneakers,” as they cushion the stress resulting from limbs bearing the load when walking. (Davis, 2022)

What Is Hyperkeratosis Dog Paw?

Hyperkeratosis is a medical condition that refers to additional skin growth of the external layer around a dog`s paw. (Farci & Mahabal, 2022)

The appearance of the skin might vary, but most of the time, it resembles thick hair on the paw pads of your canine. Therefore, it`s frequently known as “hairy feet.”

What Is Dog Pododermatitis?

Pododermatitis represents an inflammation of the skin between the footpads and toes. This medical condition is quite common among dogs, and it might also affect the nails. (Hollinger, 2022)

This inflammation causes our canine companions to have itchy, swollen, and red feet that, if untreated, might develop into painful sores. (Pododermatitis, 2022)

Can You Walk a Dog with a Cut Paw?

Walking your fluffy friend with an injured foot or cut paw will often open up the cat or injury and delay healing further. And if infection occurs, a simple cut might turn out to cause more foot problems than you can handle. (Buzhardt, 2022)

Did you talk to your veterinarian? What did he advise you? For instance, in some cases, your vet may advise you to only walk your little fella` on grass for a certain period of time while keeping an eye on your dog. (How Long Should I Skip Walks for a Dog with Cut Paw?, 2022)

How do you find out what`s wrong with my dog`s paw?

Canine paw issues can result from abrasions, cysts, allergies, nail problems, cuts, or cut paw pads. (Kucera, 2022)

Your little pal`s pads might have loose skin flaps or seem cracked or dry as well. Dog owners also have to pay attention to their dog`s nails, as torn or cracked nails can prove to be quite painful for the pooch. (Pebworth, 2022)

Final Word

However you decide to tackle your canine companion`s maintenance issues, it`s your decision. But your pet`s health is essential to the little one`s maintenance.

That`s why it wouldn`t hurt to become more knowledgeable in canine anatomy, in this case – dog paw anatomy!

Reference List:

Breyer, M. (2022, March 4). 18 Things You Didn’t Know About Dog Paws. Treehugger. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from

Buzhardt, L. (2022). First Aid for Torn or Injured Foot Pads in Dogs: VCA Animal Hospital. VCA Animal Hospital. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from

Coates, J. (2017, March 21). 5 Things You Need to Know About Dog Dewclaws. PetMD. Retrieved October 22, 2022, from

Davis, C. (2022). Dog Paws – Weird Facts & Care Tips. Vet Organics. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from

Dog Dew Claws: Injuries, Trimming & Removal. Walkerville Vet. (2020, November 28). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from

Dog Paw Anatomy 101: Everything You Need to Know  • 2022 Ruffle Snuffle. Ruffle Snuffle – Life with Pets. (2022, March 26). Retrieved October 20, 2022, from

Dog Paw Anatomy | Ruffwear UK. Ruffwear UK. (2022). Retrieved 2022, from

Farci, F., & Mahabal, G. D. (2022). Hyperkeratosis – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved October 23, 2022, from

The Farmer’s Dog. (2022, March 24). The Wonder of Your Dog2s Paws and How to Take Care of Them. The Farmer’s Dog. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from

Hollinger, H. (2022, September 29). Pododermatitis in Dogs. Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost. Retrieved October 23, 2022, from

Hound, O. (2022). 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Dog Paw Anatomy. Outward Hound Home. Retrieved 18 October 2022, from

How Long Should I Skip Walks for a Dog with Cut Paw? Mumsnet. (2022). Retrieved October 20, 2022, from

Kucera, T. (2022, January 26). 8 Common Dog Paw Problems. The Spruce Pets. Retrieved October 23, 2022, from

Pebworth, K. (2022, March 30). 7 Common Paw Problems in Dogs That Every Owner Must Be Aware Of. Top Dog Tips. Retrieved October 23, 2022, from

Pododermatitis. North Downs Specialist Referrals (NDSR) London. (2022). Retrieved October 23, 2022, from

Understanding Your Dog: Her Sensational Paws. TP Feeds. (2018, August 17). Retrieved October 20, 2022, from

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