Help! My French Bulldog Has Red Itchy Paws

“Paw trouble” is common in French Bulldogs ¹

If you’re a French Bulldog owner, you’ll know that this unique breed is adorable and wins over of nearly everyone they encounter. You’ll also know that they require special love and care since they’re prone to many medical conditions and allergies. Poor pups.

If you noticed that your bat pig has red, itchy paws, know that you’re not alone. Frenchies are prone to many paw-related troubles, and your fur kid needs special care for those teenie weenie trotters. Heck, they sometimes even need special footwear to protect their paws in lousy weather. So, before your frantically Google “French Bulldog biting feet,” read on as we unpack the common causes and potential treatments for red, itchy paws.

Common Symptoms

If your pooch has paw problems, you’re likely to see him licking or biting his paws. Upon closer inspection, you might notice that the skin on his paws is red, and that his paws are swollen. In severe cases, he could even develop a limp. Additionally, you might notice lesions on his paws, thickening of the pads, scabs, hair loss, pigmentation, ulcerations, blisters, abscess formation, or puss leaking from sores on the paws. When you see any of these painful warning signs, it’s time to visit the vet. He might be suffering from a yeast infection, fungal infection, allergies, or other infections that form part of a long list of potential causes.

Causes & Treatment

The above symptoms could indicate any of a variety of conditions, ranging from benign to severe. If you’re not sure, have the vet check things out. They’re the experts, after all.

Sometimes, the causes are benign, such as a thorn in the foot (literally), or mild pavement burn. These are easily treated, and recovery is quick. Other times, it could indicate a severe case of pododermatitis or other infections, in which case the vet would prescribe medication. In even more severe cases, you might even need other medical interventions.

Allergies

French Bulldogs are prone to allergies, just like many of their human moms and dads. Unlike their human parents, however, they don’t usually sneeze or experience itchy eyes from allergies. Instead, their skin itches. This condition is also known as atopy. Poor pups! In most cases, allergies rock up in the form of itchy feet, bellies, skin folds, and ears. If your pooch is suddenly licking their paws like mad, and those cute little paws are suddenly red all over, check for allergies.

Lucky for you and Chomper, there are a plethora of treatments available. Just ask your vet – they’ll sort you out in two ticks. Note that these allergic reactions generally surface between the ages of one and three years. Puppies are usually not affected, but they might be, so don’t rule it out if your teeny weeny Frenchie shows the same signs.

Dirt

Wet and cold conditions can cause havoc with paws! ²

Pups love to rough it up and get all dirty and muddy when they’re outdoors. It’s part of what makes us love them so much. Sometimes, all that dirt could irritate Caesar’s sensitive paws, and they might need a good scrub. If you live in a frost-prone area, you need to pay extra attention to those footsies. Road salts are extraordinarily aggressive to sensitive doggy feet.

In most cases, washing Caesar’s paws with mild soap and water as soon as you get home, will do the trick. If you don’t, you might notice those little paws getting all red and itchy. If he’s having a go at his feet shortly after a walk, wash them thoroughly and check if it goes away.

In the case of dirt (we’re talking serious dirt, not garden soil) and road salts, prevention is often better than cure. You could invest in some protective booties for your pup. These are also adorable, so your pooch will have the swagger to break Instagram while you’re out on the town.

Pododermatitis

Pododermatitis is an inflammation of your pup’s paw skin, caused by allergies to food as well as environmental factors. This condition is pretty severe, but can sometimes be prevented by properly cleaning your pup’s paws after a walk. When you get home from a nice walk in the park, clean those trotters properly, checking between the pads for any stubborn dirt.

If you’re one of the unlucky few, pododermatitis could form as a result of fungal infections, parasitic infections, bacterial infections, tumors, cysts, malnutrition, obesity, and hot or cold pavement burns, to name a few. Yikes! That’s a long list!

Fungal Infections

Let’s focus on fungal infection for a minute. Your pooch could pick up fungal infections from just about anywhere – other dogs, the park, overgrowth of their own natural fungi, you name it. Two common external fungal infections include ringworm and yeast infection.

Fungal infections could be internal as well. These, your pup could pick up while sniffing through dirt and debris while you’re walking in the woods. Since these don’t affect his paws, it’s outside the scope of this article.

Ringworm

This common infection could affect your pup’s skin, fur, and nails. If you notice any hair loss, itching, flaky skin, or brittle, deformed nails, ask the vet to look. Ringworm should be treated immediately since it can spread to other pets and even humans. Scary stuff

Luckily, ringworm is easy to treat. The vet will have a look at your pooch’s hair under a microscope, or perform a fungal culture of hair or skin cells. They will determine whether Caesar needs medicated baths and dips, oral antifungal medication, or both.

If your pup has ringworm, it’s essential to vacuum and disinfect your home and prevent the infection from spreading to your other pets or yourself.

Yeast Infection

Unfortunately, this is a common problem for poor Frenchies. Just search “French Bulldog yeast infection paws,” and you’ll know. So, what exactly is a yeast infection?

A healthy pup produces some yeast in their skin. This is good and aids in the body’s general health. When your pooch is allergic to something in his diet or environment, the skin’s natural ability to control this yeast production gets disrupted. Now, there’s a lot more yeast growing on his skin, leading to extremely uncomfortable irritation, especially around the skin, paws, and ears. Poor baby!

Luckily, yeast infection isn’t contagious, so you and your other pets won’t get it from Chomper.

If you suspect that your Chomper might have a yeast infection, take him to the vet for an impression smear of the infected area. The vet will check this out under the microscope to confirm the infection. 

Treatment is relatively simple, usually limited to an antifungal or antiseptic drug administered to the skin. In severe cases, your pup might need antibiotics or other medication administered orally. Additionally, you have to treat the underlying cause; otherwise, this irritating infection will come back again for a few more rounds. Your vet will help you determine the reason behind this pesky nuisance. In severe cases, you might have to visit a veterinary dermatologist to find the cause. 

Ticks & Fleas

Ticks and fleas are common problems with both dogs and cats. Unfortunately, these critters move quickly between pets and humans, so they could infect your entire home in record time. Luckily, they’re easy to treat, usually with topical medication. If you catch a tick and flea infestation early, it’s relatively simple to handle. With effective treatment, you can eradicate it in no time.

A tell-tale sign of a tick infestation is the ticks themselves. They’re easy to spot – just look at the area where your pup is scratching. Fleas are also easy to spot since they leave a trail in the form of black debris on the skin. It’s pretty gross since that’s actually their poop. You might also see the fleas themselves, although they’re pretty fast and could be elusive.

Both ticks and fleas cause significant irritation for your pup, and he’ll be scratching and biting at himself like mad. So, if you notice this kind of behavior, have a closer look for signs of these pesky pests.

In Closing

Red, itchy feet in your Frenchie could come from various causes, ranging from benign to severe. Benign causes could be as simple as a thorn in the foot (literally). In contrast, serious causes could include severe allergies that require lifestyle changes and chronic medication. Frenchies are prone to yeast infections in their feet – these require medical treatment, which could be quite extensive in severe cases. If you notice your pup having a go at their feet, take them to the vet for a check-up. Rather play it safe – deal with the issue as soon as possible.

Photo Credits

¹ Photo by Brandon Hoogenboom on Unsplash

² Photo by freestocks on Unsplash