What Are Carpal Pads in Dogs?
A dogs carpal pads grow on their legs right above their front paws. If your dog breed also has dewclaws, the carpal pads are located right above those. Not all dogs have carpal pads on their hind legs, but most do have them on their front legs.
You can easily spot them if you know where to find them and what you are looking for. If your dog is very hairy, has long hair, or has feathering (like a springer spaniel) on their legs, you might have to search through all the hair to find them, but rest assured, theyre there!
Regardless of whether your dog has dewclaws or not, heres a fact: dogs have carpal pads on their front paws, but they wont necessarily have them on their back legs because the purposes for these pads are mostly limited to the front legs only. This is because the front legs make contact with the ground first, and they are the ones that direct your dogs movements.
Your dogs carpal pads are basically located where their wrists would be. They are made up of the same multi-layered, hard skin that is on your dogs larger metacarpal pads located in the center of your dogs foot. The carpal pad though does not have the accompanying claw you find with the dogs toe pads.
Spoiler alert: Your dogs carpal pads are made of layers of thick, fat, keratinous skin. They are flexible, tough, and padded to serve as shock absorbers, which protects your dogs legs. They are also used as a braking system as well.
Your dogs front paw has four digital pads, a metacarpal pad and a carpal pad.
The Purpose of Your Dog’s Carpal Pads
Your dogs carpal pads will not come into direct contact with the ground when your dog is running normally or just walking because of how high up they are on your dogs legs.
However, if your dog is running fast, galloping, or at a canter, the carpal pads might touch the ground briefly during each cycle of the pacing. With each stride, this happens very quickly. Even this brief amount of contact with the ground is helpful for your dog.
Your dogs carpal pads help your dog put on the brakes in emergency situations. They also help your dog make sharp turns at the last minute.
Because of this, some people call the carpal pads “stopping pads.” These pads are extra handy for running at high speeds and taking tight turns for working dogs herding livestock, or even dogs involved in canine sports that require a lot of agility. Of course, these emergency brakes help as well dogs when Rover has the “zoomies” and starts running around the yard in tight spaces.
If you have a dog that loves playing, running and jumping, chasing balls, or even doing obstacle courses in the sport of canine agility, their carpal pads will help them out with all these things.
When your dog jumps and leaps around, their front feet will hit the ground first during landing, the impact of landing will cause a minor shock throughout their body. Your dogs carpal pads absorb some of that shock when they hit the ground due to the speed and angle of how your dog lands.
The carpal pads acting as a shock absorber will also help to check a dogs speed as they descend from their jump so that they dont trip or fall over when they land. The shock-absorbing pads will reduce any jarring that occurs from a landing, giving your dog more control once he hits the ground.
Another great benefit of the carpal pads occurs when your dog is walking or running on unstable, slippery, or uneven surfaces.
The pads help your dog maintain motor control and balance by giving them extra precision and traction while they are in motion.
Your dogs carpal pads in the front legs help assist your dog when hes turning.
Your dogs carpal pads also help cushion your dogs landing following a jump, absorbing the shock.
Symptoms of Paw Pad Issues and Injuries in Dogs
General signs of paw pad injury may or may not require veterinary care. If you are unsure, it is best to call your veterinarian for advice.
If your pet exhibits these signs, a visit to the veterinarian is needed
Chewing and licking of the feet also need to be addressed if it is causing injury to the paw or if it continues for longer than a day or two. This behavior may be indicative of other serious health problems including food allergies, arthritis, or even hormone imbalances.
What happens if a dog cuts the carpal pad?
- Clean the wound. Look for debris or foreign objects such as glass or metal shards that may be lodged in the pad. …
- To control bleeding, apply pressure to the wound with a clean towel. …
- Contain the wound by applying a bandage. …
- Change the bandage daily.
How long does it take for a dogs carpal pad to heal?
What is dog carpal pad?