Does your dog have a pain in his paw? If so he may have a Cyst! Cysts (also known as Interdigital furuncles) are painful sores that are often caused by a bacterial infection. If you notice your dog constantly licking his paws and limping then there is a possibility this may be the cause.


What Does a Cyst Look Like On a Dog’s Paw?

picture of cyst on dogs paw


Does My Dog Have a Cyst?

If you suspect your dog has an Interdigital Cyst, the symptoms can be easily identifiable. Excessive paw licking is the most common sign to look out for, and by providing this information to your veterinarian, it can help reduce the number of tests being conducted on the dog.

You should also examine your dog’s paws for the following:

    • Swelling
    • Red inflammation
    • Ulcers
    • Scabs
    • Blisters
    • Lesions
    • Itching
    • Red brownish staining in the paw fur
    • Thick and rough paw pads
    • Tumors
    • Boils


What Causes Cysts To Appear?

So, why do dogs get cysts on their paws? Dog paw cysts are normally found on the front paws and could be a consequence of many different skin problems.

These could possibly vary from mites to allergies to ingrown hairs. It’s an unpleasant and painful experience for any dog, nevertheless, there are steps you can take to treat the problem. (See treatment options below).


Are Cysts Harmful to Dogs?

Interdigital Cysts are usually found in older dogs. They are often dynamic, which means they could either increase or decrease in size with time. Certain dog breeds are usually more prone to getting cysts. They are not considered harmful or dangerous to the health of the dog unless they break and get infected.


How Do You Treat a Cyst on a Dog’s Paw?

There are a number of treatments available. We will look at which one is right for your dog and how long before you can expect to see results. Finally and most importantly we will discuss how to ensure that the cysts never return. Below you will find information on the following:

    • Home Remedies
    • Recommended Products
    • What NOT To Do


Home Remedies

There are numerous home remedies to treat interdigital cysts. Below is a list of the best home treatments you can start doing today in order to minimize the pain for your dog:

    • Soaking the dog’s paw in Epsom salts twice a day
    • Shampooing and cleaning the paw at once a day
    • Apply a Sooting Balm twice a day
    • Put the dog on a diet to lower his weight


Recommended Products

With all the different treatment options available it can be difficult to know where to start. We highly recommend you should start by getting a good dog wax. This will cut down on the itchiness and get rid of the pain. The one which is recommended by most vets when it comes is called Ludingji Paw Soother.

There are a number of other products that you should consider. These are also inexpensive and will go a long way to reducing the pain and eliminating any interdigital cysts.


What NOT to Do!!

Below we explore the different ways that you can get rid of a dog cyst. Firstly if you are thinking to get rid of the cyst by soaking the dog’s paw this is not recommended. Foot soaks are nearly always ineffective.

They are time-consuming and could make the problem worse by increasing moisture in the affected particular area. Check out the following home remedies for more effective results.

What Are The Potential Consequences Of Not Treating A Cyst?

If left untreated, a cyst may either increase in size or break and cause your dog a lot of pain. If the cyst breaks it will come back. This is because the pocket containing the cyst is still there and the skin will continue to generate cells and refill this pocket, therefore this pocket will need to be removed.

Follow the guidelines above on how to get rid of cysts and your dog will have healthy paws in no time.



When paw cysts grow and will not heal, or they keep returning, it is most likely your dog is allergic to something which he is eating or coming in contact with. It may be dust, pollen, fabric, or something that also affects people. For example, when people get hay fever they tend to sneeze quite a bit and develop itchy, red-colored, watery eyes, dogs on the other hand develop get itchy skin.

If you’re able to determine what is triggering the reaction, remove it, then your dog’s scratching ought to go away. However, that is hardly ever simple to do. That being said, there are quite a lot of skin tests that your particular veterinary clinic can do to help find out the causes.

Certain breeds of dogs are more vulnerable to the development of dog cysts. These include Labrador, Chinese Shar-Pei, English Bulldog, and Retriever. Although any dog can get a cyst, it is more widespread in dogs that have short hairs in between the webbing of their toes. These types of short hairs can very easily become pressed down into hair follicles. This might lead to inflammation of the skin as well as the possibility of a secondary infection.



When To Visit Your Vet

If the cyst becomes infected you will need to give your dog antibiotics. Your vet normally requires a sample for a skin culture in order to choose the correct antibiotic.

If the dog’s paw is severely swollen the vet will prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication to relieve the pain and swelling. He may also recommend surgery or even protective footwear for the dog.


How Much Does It Cost To Have a Cyst Removed From a Dog?

‘Treatment’ can range from $200 to about $1000, depending on the method you chose. Removal doesn’t treat the underlying cause, so isn’t always the recommended option. 

A fusion podoplasty, for example, is a surgery removing not just the cysts but the entire webbing in between a dog’s toes and can be pricy. This is invasive, will permanently damage your pet’s foot, and veterinarians usually won’t recommend it.

Since they can be caused by different things. the cost will depend on the treatment. The treatment initially is almost always topical, which is much cheaper than any kind of surgery. Your veterinarian will need to take cultures and examine them under a microscope to determine the cause.


Frequently asked questions

How Long do Interdigital Cysts Last?

The length of time one will last depends upon treatment. Since they are usually more than simple fluid-filled ‘cysts’, but more like infected pustules, the infection needs to be treated. Your veterinarian will need to drain the fluid and likely prescribe antibiotics (usual treatment).

If left to their own devices, and never treated, these cysts could become worse rather than ‘go away’. It is the infection that needs to be treated; the cyst is simply more like a ‘symptom’ caused by the infection.

If drained and bandaged, the bandaging might need to stay on from 3-6 weeks. This depends on the size and severity.


Will Interdigital Cysts Go Away?

Veterinarians still don’t know the exact cause 100% of the time, so it isn’t possible to say for sure. This depends on what caused them, how it is treated, and if it is treated at all. The underlying problem causing the cysts needs to be addressed.

Let’s say you have them surgically removed, for example (which can be done). If you didn’t treat the cause that led to them, they might just come back. If you ignore them, they could become much worse.

Surgery should remove any affected webbing completely, the toes sutured together for healing.


Can I Pop My Dog’s Cyst?

This is never a good idea to do at home. First, you aren’t an educated physician and don’t know how to manage the wounds. Your home is not a sterile environment. Your dog will be walking on these paws, introducing a wealth of bacteria to the area (if he isn’t lame). 

These ‘cysts’ may already be infected. You don’t want to introduce any more bacteria. If the above weren’t enough, your dog will be forced to walk on these, which could become very painful.


How Do You Drain a Cyst?

‘You’ shouldn’t drain anything on your dog without a veterinarian’s approval. If the fluid you’re draining is pus, the wound isn’t just infected, but now open because you drained it.

In a clinical setting, a veterinarian will likely aspirate (draw out) the fluid with a syringe after/or carefully slicing it open with a scalpel. The interdigital cysts will probably then be cleaned and ‘packed’ with sterile bandaging, depending on the size. This also depends on what is in the cyst. 


I Can’t Afford a Veterinarian

This is usually why people take matters into their own hands and is understandable. Treating this with surgery is not common and usually, the last resort, only when the abscesses have been allowed to become extreme. You almost certainly won’t be looking at expensive surgery if you contact a veterinarian early!

Understand the risk. Your dog may be in pain or refuse to walk on an infected foot, but he will likely be in more pain and the infection will probably get worse if you do this at home. Simply cutting it out or off isn’t a solution.

If you absolutely can’t get to a veterinarian and your dog’s wounds/ cysts are infected, you’ll have to clean them at home. Flush the wound with sterile, clean water, getting any kind of debris or dirt out. Just dump/pour a small amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide on the wound.

Only use peroxide once for an initial cleaning. Once clean, apply a topical antibiotic cream (i.e. Neosporin). You’ll need either a dog booty or light bandaging to prevent your dog from disturbing the wound. 

The bandaging has to stay dry; wet bandaging can encourage bacterial growth and sometimes be worse than nothing at all. It’s still a good idea to get your dog treated in a medical setting as soon as possible.


Do Interdigital Cysts Bleed?

If your dog is allowed to lick at the interdigital cysts, or there is excess friction when the dog walks or something causes them to break open, they certainly can bleed. These can bleed just like any other delicate injury.

If there is never any friction on the interdigital cysts, they might never bleed at all. Some type of friction was probably involved in their creation in the first place. Unfortunately, these are on the dog’s feet.

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