Can a dog’s paws be hurt by walking on gravel?


Walking on gravel is a common activity for dogs, especially when they go on outdoor adventures with their owners. However, some pet owners wonder if walking on gravel can hurt their furry friend’s paws. The answer is yes, dog’s paws can be injured by walking on gravel. In this article, we will discuss the anatomy of a dog’s paw, types of gravel that can cause injuries, signs of paw injuries, prevention measures, treatment options, and when to seek veterinary care.

Anatomy of a dog’s paw

A dog’s paw is composed of five parts: the digital pads, the metacarpal pad, the carpal pad, the dewclaw, and the nails. These structures work together to support the dog’s weight, provide traction, and protect the paw from injury. The digital pads are the four cushions located under each toe, while the metacarpal pad is the larger cushion located behind the digital pads. The carpal pad is the smaller cushion located on the front of the wrist, and the dewclaw is the fifth digit located higher up the leg. The nails are located at the end of each toe and help the dog grip the ground.

Types of gravel that can hurt a dog’s paw

Not all gravel is created equal when it comes to paw safety. Sharp-edged gravel, such as crushed granite and pea gravel, can cause cuts and abrasions to a dog’s paw pads. Jagged pieces of gravel, such as river rock and shale, can cause puncture wounds. Additionally, hot gravel surfaces can burn a dog’s paw pads, causing painful blisters and sores. It’s important to inspect the gravel surface before taking your dog for a walk and avoid areas with sharp edges or hot surfaces.

Signs of paw injury from walking on gravel

If your dog has walked on gravel, it’s important to look for signs of paw injury. These can include limping, licking or chewing at the paw, bleeding, swelling, and redness. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to stop the walk and examine your dog’s paws. If the injury is severe, seek veterinary care immediately.

Prevention measures for paw injuries on gravel

There are several ways to prevent paw injuries when walking on gravel. One way is to avoid walking on rough or hot surfaces. Another way is to train your dog to wear protective booties designed for dogs. These booties can provide additional traction and protect the paw pads from sharp edges and hot surfaces. Additionally, keeping your dog’s nails trimmed can reduce the risk of paw injuries.

Treatment options for paw injuries on gravel

If your dog has a paw injury from walking on gravel, there are several treatment options available. Minor cuts and abrasions can be treated with an antiseptic solution and a bandage. Puncture wounds may require antibiotics and a veterinary visit. Blisters and burns may require special ointments and bandages. It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions for treating paw injuries to ensure proper healing.

When to seek veterinary care for paw injuries on gravel

If your dog has a severe paw injury, it’s best to seek veterinary care immediately. This includes deep puncture wounds, excessive bleeding, and burns. Additionally, if your dog is limping or has difficulty walking, it’s important to have them examined by a veterinarian to rule out any serious injuries or underlying health conditions.

Tips for walking your dog on gravel surfaces

If you plan to walk your dog on gravel surfaces, there are several tips to keep in mind. First, inspect the surface before walking to ensure it’s safe for your dog. Second, consider using protective booties to prevent injuries. Third, keep your dog’s nails trimmed to reduce the risk of injuries. Fourth, watch for signs of paw injury and stop the walk if necessary.

Alternatives to walking your dog on gravel

If you are concerned about paw injuries from walking on gravel, there are alternatives to consider. Walking on grass or dirt surfaces can be less abrasive on the paw pads. Additionally, swimming or playing indoors can provide exercise without the risk of paw injuries.

The importance of paw pad protection

Protecting your dog’s paw pads is important for their overall health and well-being. Paw injuries can be painful and may lead to infections if not treated promptly. Training your dog to wear protective booties and avoiding rough or hot surfaces can help prevent injuries and keep your dog healthy and happy.


Walking on gravel can be a fun and healthy activity for dogs, but it’s important to take precautions to prevent paw injuries. By understanding the anatomy of a dog’s paw, recognizing the types of gravel that can cause injuries, and knowing the signs of paw injury, pet owners can help keep their furry friends safe. With proper prevention measures and treatment options, paw injuries can be managed effectively, and dogs can continue to enjoy outdoor adventures with their owners.

References and additional resources

  • "Anatomy of a Dog’s Paw." American Kennel Club.
  • "Protecting Your Dog’s Paws." American Veterinary Medical Association.
  • "Walking on Gravel: Is it Safe for Your Dog?" Dogster.
Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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