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Why are my dog’s paw pads turning black?

It is usual for you to be cautious of every change you observe from your puppy, and every new pet owner experiences this. You may find yourself worrying about even the most basic development changes, like why its pink paws are now changing color to darker shades.

Other notable changes that may bring unnecessary worries include nose and lip color changing. Some symptoms may indicate illnesses, while some are just standard changes visible to all developing dogs.

Dog paws at birth and their early years feature a pink color and have a soft texture. However, as they develop, the pads turn black and become tougher to facilitate more effortless movement on rough and hot surfaces. This change is observable in pets from around six months, where their paws feature a mixture of pink and dark spots.

To speed up the hardening process, you should walk your dog more often on textured surfaces. Here is everything you need to know regarding your dog’s paw pads changing from pink to black, why, and how to catalyze the process.

Why Are My Dog’s Paw Pads Turning Black?

Your dog’s paw pads turning black is a development stage that facilitates easier movement on more rigid surfaces. Pink is the initial color of the paw pads while your dog is still young; they are extremely sensitive and soft.

As the puppy grows older, its paw pads become tougher and develop a black color to walk better on whichever surface. There is no need to worry if you observe the color change, as it is a natural process that goes into improving your dog’s overall comfort and mobility standards.

The process is painful for some dogs, while some go through the whole process without any pain. Sensitivity is the primary reason why the process may become painful; it differs from animal to animal. Walking on hot asphalt or rough tarmac also proves painful for dogs in this development stage, and there is a need to invest in practical approaches that will fasten the process. The following section features an in-depth explanation of some of the primary reasons your dog’s paw pads turn black.

What Causes Black Paws in Dogs?


Development is the main reason why your dog’s paw pads might turn black. A dog’s paw pads at birth are very similar to a human foot; both are soft, cushioned, and feature a protective surface that facilitates walking.

Their pink color gradually changes to black from six months to improve mobility, especially on rigid surfaces. Some puppies go through a development stage to change color and surface texture, while others come featuring a black tone on their paws; all that is left is hardening.

Disease Symptoms

In certain circumstances, black dog paws can indicate your dog is not feeling well, either an illness or allergy reaction. Irregular black spots present on your dog’s pink paw pads may be a medical concern, and visiting your vet would be the best approach to take for professional input. If you observe it licking, gnawing, and biting its paws, it means that your dog feels irritated, and you need to show concern.

Most vets recommend a simple home remedy consisting of omega-three fatty acids and other supplements. If your dog is susceptible to a specific allergy attack, you can include an oatmeal-based conditioner and shampoo in its routine as a preventative measure.

Poor Paw Care

Poor paw care of your dog is another reason that explains why the paw pads might change from pink to black. An ideal care routine of the dog’s paw pads is essential, especially for young puppies. Failure to enforce an effective care routine will mean the paw pads are more susceptible to dry and cracked paws from adverse weather conditions.

Specialists recommend regularly applying a paw pad moisturizer to do away with dry paws, while tweezers prove effective in removing small debris from in between the dogs’ toes. Prevention is always the best approach, so ensure you watch out for broken glass and harmful elements when walking your dog.

What to Do About my Dog’s Paw Pads Turning Black?

The development stage of your dog’s paw pads turning black may prove painful for your dog, bringing a lot of discomfort and irritation during the period. It makes it essential for you to speed up the toughening process to try and restore your pet’s condition and livelihood.

The approaches involved in catalyzing the process also help ease the pain, allowing your pet to take short walks during the period. Here are some practical guidelines you should engage in to fasten up the hardening process for your dog’s paw pads.


Conditioning features are among the easiest ways to toughen your dog’s feet faster and in a less painful approach. In-house and small dogs do not get much exposure to the rough surfaces present in the outside environment, meaning that they will take longer to adjust to these conditions than dogs that spend significant time outdoors. It would help if you invest some daily time running or walking your dog on rough surfaces to facilitate toughening up.

Selecting the ideal conditioning is an essential consideration, primarily because some ingredients may pose an allergy threat to specific pets. Ensure that you pick the perfect option that will guarantee satisfactory results for your dog while saving you on resources significantly. Also, enforce a strict conditioning schedule; every morning or after each clean.

Tea Soak

Tea soak is a DIY alternative that effectively facilitates the development stage of your dog paw pads turning black. Although there are numerous commercial products, homemade remedies also hold significant benefits. With home remedies, you get total control of the ingredients used, which decreases the chances of exposing your pet to harmful elements. Also, you can save on resources since you will only prepare the required amount, eliminating waste of ingredients.

Tannic acid is the element responsible for hardening your pet’s paw pads in black tea. The care procedure involves soaking at least four teacups in some warm water and soaking each of your dog’s feet for a significant time. It would be best to stick to a daily routine for this procedure and ensure you wipe the pads dry after every soak.

Cleaning and Grooming

Cleaning and grooming are also essential when your pet is going through the development stage of turning its paw pads black. Ensure your dog has better traction when running and walking by trimming its nails regularly. Also, consider cutting the fur found between paw pads to allow more direct contact with the ground, facilitating uniform toughening of the entire pad.

Washing your dog’s paw pads during this period will prevent bacteria exposure, resulting in unexpected infections. Bacteria also eat up the sensitive skin, damaging its appeal and making the toughening process more painful. Including anti-fungal powder in your pet’s grooming routine will ensure a faster and safer procedure.

Diet and Supplements

Specific nutrients also prove effective in catalyzing the development procedure. A good nutrient example is Zinc, which facilitates toughening and the healing process in case of injuries. It stimulates collagen production in your pet’s body, which helps strengthen the pad’s connective tissues and facilitates healing the skin. Invest in an ideal diet and the necessary supplements to ensure a safe and fast recovery process.

Most dogs suffer from zinc deficiency, especially those living in modern environments with first-time pet owners. Every pet owner should consider investing in dog foods that feature the necessary zinc additives to ensure their pets live a healthy lifestyle. Omega 3 supplements also help heal your pet’s skin and paws by facilitating the production of essential natural oils that prevent cracking and drying out of the surface.

How to Care for a Dog’s Paw Pads?

Foot care is among the essential care routines you need to invest in for your pet. A dog’s foot is susceptible, especially at a young age, and you need to enforce an ideal care schedule that will guarantee clean and wound-free paws every time. Blisters, burnt feet, and torn paw pads are some of the concerns you need to watch out for to avoid infections and painful walking on most surfaces. Here are some tips you need to consider in your quest to care for your dog’s paw pads properly.

Avoid Hot Pavement Walks

One practical care tip for your dog’s paw pads is avoiding long walks on hot pavements since it might burn your pet’s paw pads, causing immense pain. It would help if you checked the ground and determined if it is too hot to cause damage to your pet’s paw protective surface by using the back of your hand. Place it on the pavement and hold it there for at least seven seconds; if you find the heat tolerable, then it is safe to put your dog down for a walk.

Other approaches to minimize damage from hot pavements include planning short walks on hot days and engaging in longer walks when it is cooler. You can also choose a route that features grass and shade, which deliver a cooler surface for you and your dog to walk on.

Paw Wax

Paw pad waxes are a great option to care for your pet’s food, and they are an excellent alternative for pets that are not comfortable wearing dog boots. Musher’s secret is among the most famous and influential wax options; it moisturizes the pad better and is easier to apply. The wax creates a barrier on your pet’s paw protective surface, repelling salt, ice, dirt, and burns. You can take it as an invisible boot and apply it every time before you head out for a dog walk.

Dog Boots

Another approach that proves effective in caring for your dog’s paw pads includes dog boots. They are small-sized boots explicitly designed to fit your pet’s feet, preventing excessive running and playing injuries. Dog boots come in various designs; the best variant includes disposable boots, ideal for providing adequate protection from hot pavements, snow, rain, and even environmental allergies. Try out as many options as possible until you get the best option that perfectly fits your dog’s paws.

Is It Normal for a Dog’s Paw Pads to Turn Black?

Yes, it is normal for your dog’s paw pads to turn black. Development is the primary reason you may observe this color change as their pads develop a more rigid protective layer reducing sensitivity. Pink paw pads are standard in puppies, while some feature some black spots. At around six months, the development stage commences, and you may start observing the darker shade taking over.

Infections, allergies, and adverse effects of the environment are other reasons you may observe this change. It would be best to seek professional medical attention if you observe frequent licking, biting, and scratching the pad areas. Investing in an ideal care routine for your pet is the best preventative measure you can take to improve your pet’s living condition and effectively reduce overall risk of exposure to your dog.