What Causes Puppies to Have Black Paws?

By Sarah Tidwell

Dogs are coined with the term "man's best friend" because they show affectionate companionship. East Asian dog DNA has the most genetically diverse makeup compared to many other regions, including Eurasia where domestic dogs are believed to originate from gray wolves. This DNA diversity infers that humans and dogs began forming bonds in East Asia.


Puppies are born with pads on their feet, which are similar to a human foot ball and heel because they both provide cushioned, protective surfaces for walking. Puppy paw pads are typically pink, black or a combination of the two. Similar to the pink hue, an initial black tone is perfectly normal. Some puppy paws may change from pink to black as it develops, which is a common developmental stage.

Concerning Symptoms

Dogs that appear irritated by black spots on their paws that are not normally present may have a medical issue that requires attention. Signs that a dog is irritated by its paw include biting, gnawing or licking in the area or limping. Black paws in this case might be a sign of an infection or allergy. A veterinarian prescribes treatment for each of the conditions, which can include a simple home remedy of omega-3 fatty acids. Preventative measures for allergy relief include oatmeal based shampoo and conditioner.

Paw Care

Weather and skin conditions have the potential of causing dry and cracked paw pads. Using a paw pad moisturizer suggested by your veterinarian is the best solution for easing dry pads and preventing further cracking and damage. Checking between the toes for lodged debris also hinders unwanted paw sores. Tweezers work well for sturdily grasping small objects and removing them. Prevention is always the most ideal method so strive to keep litter such as broken glass and random shards free from your dogs roaming zone.


Dog paw pads have a thick protective outer layer that is affected by severe weather conditions. For example, extremely hot surfaces cause blisters and burns and harshly cold weather leads to pad cracking. Applying doggie booties before heading out in any weather defends against weather in addition to paw punctures. Salt is another irritant, which is abundant in snow and icy conditions. Apply petroleum jelly to your dog's paw pads before making your way into an icy environment.