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New Lump or Bump On Your Dog’s Paw? Top Reasons & What to Do

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owner inspecting their dog's paw by hand

This article was updated on September 30th, 2023

Seeing bumps or lumps on a dog’s skin is a nearly everyday thing for us at our veterinary clinic. Bumps or lumps can come from many different causes, some more serious than others.

This article will help you identify what the lump or bump on your dog’s paw is so that you can seek proper treatment. We’ll review the top causes and what you should do. Keep in mind that a proper veterinary diagnosis is still a must, but we’ll do our best to get you all the information you need.

close up of a man's hand holding a dog's paw with blue gloves

What are the most common causes of bumps on dog paws?

Bumps and lumps on a dog’s paw often come from some of the same issues that lumps on other areas of the body can. In other cases, they may be something unique to the paw. Here are some of the most common reasons why your dog may have a new growth on their paw.

1. Interdigital cysts

These red bumps pop up between your dog’s toes and are often filled with blood or pus. They can become quite large. If painful enough, your dog will either limp or lick them excessively. You can see an image below or here.

interdigital cyst on dog paw
Cyst on a dog’s paw

Interdigital cysts develop from irritated or plugged hair follicles. They are likely to form:

  • After an injury
  • In obese dogs
  • In dogs that have difficulty walking
  • From an irritation such as licking
  • In dogs with short-haired coats that are prone to ingrown hairs

The treatment for interdigital cysts involves an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory if they are causing a lot of swelling. Medicated shampoos are often recommended to help prevent additional cysts from forming. For especially large or bothersome interdigital cysts, surgery may be needed for removal.

The cost to diagnose and treat this issue can be anywhere from $50-100 for an exam and medications, to $800 or more for surgical removal.

2. Foreign body

Your dog’s feet are a part of everything that they do. That gives grass seeds, thorns, and thistle stickers an easy route to get into them and cause problems.

Once foreign bodies make their way into the skin between a dog’s toes or into the foot pad, they’re free to set up a nasty inflammatory reaction complete with redness, swelling, and heat. These lumps will cause a dog to lick and chew their feet and may start to ooze thick, colored discharge.

Without treatment, foreign bodies can cause abscesses. In some cases, they may even cause infections that spread. Soaking the foot and getting antibiotics from your veterinarian will get rid of most foreign body issues. More serious issues may require surgical removal.

Expect to pay anywhere from $50 for a vet visit and antibiotics to $500 or more for surgical removal.

Bump on dog paw due to foreign body

3. Excessive licking (lick granuloma)

A lick granuloma is a lump brought on by licking. While mild licking can be soothing and even healing for your dog, excessive licking will likely be irritating. It may also create raised lumps, usually with a raw surface. Lick granulomas can be different sizes and may bleed or become infected.

Treatment needs to be aimed at curing whatever is causing the licking. This may be itchiness from allergies or irritants, pain from arthritis, boredom, or anxiety. Once the underlying cause is under control, the wound can be treated with topical or oral antibiotics and an e-collar to prevent further licking.

Lick granulomas can cost $100-$500 or more for diagnostics and treatment, depending on the underlying cause.

Paw injury and lump due to excessive licking

Veterinarian Tip: The most important part of the treatment plan for a lick granuloma is not allowing the pet to lick the area. Talk to your vet about ways to accomplish this for your dog.

4. Keratoma-Corn

Just like people, dogs can get corns on their feet. These are growths that occur on the foot pad, which is the keratinized part of a dog’s foot. They can be very painful, causing limping and licking of the affected foot. Corns are thought to be caused by a papilloma virus infection, similar to warts, or some kind of repetitive pressure or irritation.

Corns are often treated by a veterinarian with ointments, manual abrasion, or surgical removal. Look to spend $100-$500 or more, depending on the treatment of choice. View a corn picture here.

Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.

5. Histiocytoma

Histiocytoma is a benign little red bump that can develop on a dog’s paw. They usually show up in younger dogs and grow very quickly. But don’t worry, these bumps aren’t cancerous, and they typically aren’t painful. Most histiocytomas will go away on their own within a couple of months. Larger ones that are bothersome may need to be surgically removed.

histiocytoma on a dog's paw

6. Tumors

Digital squamous cell carcinoma and digital melanoma are the two main culprits of cancerous lumps on a dog’s paw. Both are typically fast-growing lumps that often change shape over time. They can ulcerate, bleed, or cause the neighboring tissue to die. Dogs may also have a swollen toe, limp, or lick the foot.

cancerous lump or growth on a dog's paw
Cancerous lump or growth on a dog’s paw
melanoma on a dog's leg
Melanoma near a dog’s paw – Yohan euan o4, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Malignant tumors on a dog’s paw can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma is especially prone to metastasizing. If there is a single tumor that hasn’t yet spread, surgical removal is often the best choice. If the tumor has spread, chemotherapy or radiation may be tried. Palliative care could also be the best option.

These bumps are going to cost a little more. Look to pay $500-$1,500 or more for diagnosis and palliative medications or surgery and chemotherapy. You can see an image of a paw tumor here.

7. Skin tags

Skin tags are benign growths that develop on the surface of your dog’s skin. They come in different sizes, shapes and colors, but are often attached to the skin via a narrow stalk (leaving them dangling in space). View more pictures of skin tags on dogs with veterinarian advice.

Below is a picture of a skin tag on a dog’s paw.

Related post: 11 common types of lumps and bumps on dogs

Three steps you can take at home to help your dog with bumps on paw

Any new lump or bump should always be checked out by a veterinarian. This is simply because you never know exactly what you’re dealing with until you know what types of cells make up a lump. That being said, there are some instances when you can first try at-home treatments.

WATCH: 3 Important Tips To Care For an Old Dog [VET VIDEO]

For example, if you know that the cause of a paw lump is a foreign body or an interdigital cyst, you may try the following:

1. Clean and soak

Dog paws can be hard to keep clean. But for minor lumps and bumps like interdigital cysts or foreign body abscesses, that’s just what they need. Clean the paw with warm water and a mild soap. Rinse thoroughly. You can also soak the paw in warm water and Epsom salts to further cleanse it and to help draw out any little thorns or stickers that may be causing problems.

2. Cover it up

After the paw is clean and dry, you may want to apply a light wrap to continue to keep it clean. This can also keep your dog from working it over with their tongue. A baby or kid’s sock works really well, depending on the size of your dog. Otherwise, a layer or two of vet wrap will do the job. If you’ve never wrapped a dog’s foot before, be sure to get some professional advice first.

Veterinarian Tip: Be very careful when wrapping a dog’s leg or paw! If the bandage is too tight or gets wet and tightens, your dog may lose blood supply and possibly their foot. Bandages on dogs should be placed by a veterinary professional.

3. Watch it

Lumps and bumps change quickly, so be sure to keep a frequent eye on what’s going on with your dog’s paw. Any changes in size, shape, or color should be immediately seen by a veterinarian. Additionally, if the cyst or abscess doesn’t get better within a couple of days of at-home treatment, see your veterinarian.

How severe are lumps and bumps on paws?

Finding a new bump or lump anywhere on your dog may be a bit alarming, and rightfully so. Malignant lumps can move very quickly and spread to other parts of the body. You want to be sure to get a veterinary diagnosis on any new lump on your dog’s paw as soon as possible.

However, at-home treatments may be useful if your pup has had recurrent problems with interdigital cysts or foreign body abscesses or if you’re waiting for your veterinary visit.

What is the veterinary treatment for lumps on dog paws?


When your vet sees a lump or bump on your dog’s paw, they’re going to want to find out exactly what it is. That usually involves sticking a needle in it and finding out what cells are making it up. Most of the time, your vet will be able to diagnose the issue by looking at the cells under a microscope, but they may also want to send a sample to a pathologist.

Depending on what your vet initially finds, they may also want to take X-rays. Bloodwork will be done if they suspect cancer to help determine if it has spread.


The treatment for a lump on your dog’s paw is going to depend on what’s causing it. This can vary from antibiotics for minor abscesses to surgery and chemotherapy for malignant tumors. The cost is also going to range based on what is done. You may pay anywhere from $50-$1,500 or more.

What you should know before the vet visit

Be sure to tell your vet when you first noticed the lump and if it’s changed in size, shape, or color since then. You’ll also want to tell them if you’ve tried any at-home treatments and if the lump got better or worse with those treatments.

Related post: 11 common types of lumps and bumps on dogs

Dog bumps FAQs with the vet

What could a lump on a dog’s paw be?

Lumps and bumps that show up on a dog’s paw can be any number of things ranging from abscesses and cysts to malignant tumors. Be sure to have any new lumps or bumps checked out by a veterinarian.

What does a cancerous lump feel like on a dog?

Cancerous lumps can feel and look different depending on what type they are. However, most are firm, and they often have an irregular shape that grows quickly. Some cancerous lumps may be fixed, while others are moveable. That is why it’s so important to get a vet’s diagnosis on any lumps or bumps.

What does a cyst look like on a dog’s paw?

Cysts are small or large lumps that are often fluid-filled. They may rupture and leak pus or blood.

What does a sarcoma look like on a dog’s paw?

Sarcomas are often seen as raised lumps that feel firm. They are often ulcerated and may bleed. Sarcomas can also cause swelling of the toe.

How do I know if a bump on my dog’s paw is serious?

Generally, lumps that grow quickly or are irregularly shaped and colored indicate a malignant tumor. But not all bad lumps may look like this. So, it’s important to get a veterinary diagnosis for any lump or bump that shows up on your dog’s paw or anywhere on their body.

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  • Dr Chyrle Bonk, Veterinarian

    Dr. Chyrle Bonk received her Master in Animal Science from the University of Idaho and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Oregon State University in 2010. She has over 10 years of experience in small animal veterinary practice, working for a veterinary clinic in Idaho.


  1. My dog has a sore on paw pad, round red bump, it bled badly & had for 15 days, been to vets after it bleeding so badly it would not stop, they bandaged, told no walk, change it every 2 days, bleed is minimal now and on pain relief. Has had 5 vet checkups said continue. My concern is it is not a cut, its a lump like a cyst or corn. Even though bleed is minimal the lump still is so obvious. Surely steroid cream or lump needs to be removed as it will never heal? My dog is a 13yo golden retriever with no other health conditions known. I have pictures before and current.

    • Hi there Melissa and thanks for your question.
      I agree as it has been there for 2 weeks, it is best to have it examined and possibly biopsied, especially as cancers are more common in older dogs.
      I’d also want to check for a foreign body under the skin, such as a fox tail or piece of glass
      If the lesion does need to be removed, the sooner we can do this the better.
      Dr Linda Simon MVB MRCVS
      “The information on this website is not a substitute for in-person veterinary care. Always seek advice from your veterinarian if you have concerns about your pet’s medical condition.”

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