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My 1 Year Old Dog Has Bright Red Paws

Buster is a 1-year-old mix breed that was adopted through a rescue at 2 months old. He looks to be some type of Pointer mix. He currently is living in NJ. A month ago, we noticed that the tops of all four paws turned bright red. It doesn't seem to be itchy or bothering him. There is some hair loss and scabs on his paws.


He also has this red rash on his mouth. The vet did a skin scrap and it was negative. He was put on antibiotics but his feet look the same. Sometimes, his feet look worse and just developed a sore on the bottom of his back foot. We recently changed his food, thinking it was a food allergy. Please let me know what you think would cause this!!

Thanks :)



Vet Suggestion for Treating Irritated Red Paws


Hi there,

I can’t say with any certainty what might be going on with your dog without first examining him, but a couple of possibilities come to mind based on your description. First of all, is it possible that he could be coming in contact with an irritating substance in his environment?

The distribution of lesions (feet and mouth) make me think that he could be walking through and then trying to lick away a caustic cleaning solution, fertilizer, etc.
Allergies are certainly another possibility. Environmental allergies (e.g., to pollen, mold, mites, etc.) are more common than are food allergies, but neither can be ruled out. To definitively diagnose a food allergy, you would need to feed Buster either a hydrolyzed diet like Purina HA or Hill’s z/dor a novel ingredient diet (e.g., duck and potato). Your current vet can prescribe one of these foods. You need to feed this and only this (no treats, flavored medications, etc.) during the entire food trial lasting 8-12 weeks.

If your dog’s symptoms disappear or at least get much better, you have diagnosed him with a food allergy. Then you can decide whether you want to continue feeding that diet or gradually reintroduce ingredients until you find the one(s) she reacts to so you can avoid them in the future.
Diagnosing environmental allergies involves ruling out all other potential causes of a dog’s symptoms, followed by allergy testing to determine what he is allergic to.

If your current veterinarian is unable to get to the bottom of Buster’s problems, make an appointment with a veterinary dermatologist. Specialists are often the quickest way to an accurate diagnosis in complicated cases.


Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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