Flat Feet In Dogs – How To Treat it?


Dogs can be found in a wide range of forms, dimensions, hues, and characteristics. It should come as no surprise that they have a variety of foot problems, including flat feet.

In dogs, genetic predisposition or trauma are the main causes of flat feet. Carpal subluxation is the term for the first condition, and carpal hyperextension is the term for the second. Depending on how severe the condition is, flat feet can be treated with medication, splinting of the affected legs, or even surgery.

This article discusses dog flat feet, available treatments, and other information should be aware regarding this condition. Let’s start!

Different Types Of Dog Feet

It’s not surprising that dogs have a variety of different foot types given the wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes that they come in. Mother Nature evidently didn’t feel like giving dogs a standard set of paws would be sufficient. While some foot types are desired by owners of pedigree dogs because they adhere to the breed standard, other types are highly undesirable because they are viewed as major flaws.

Canines have their own set of issues, just like people are susceptible to conditions that can be debilitating, like fallen arches or plantar fasciitis.

You don’t need to own a pedigree breed or judge dog shows to learn about dog feet. This quick guide will introduce you to some common and uncommon paw types found on dogs all over the world.

1. Cat Feet

I am aware of what you may be thinking, but dogs do not have retractable claws. A dog with a cat foot simply has a neat, round paw with high-arched toes that are tightly joined, according to the American Kennel Club. This type of foot is nicely rounded, compact, and, as the name suggests, remarkably similar to those found in cats.

Because they require less energy to lift off the ground thanks to their short third digital bones, these paws help increase a dog’s endurance. When dogs walk on uneven terrain, they also provide a firm grip and aid in preventing injuries.

Therefore, working dogs that are bred to have strong endurance in the field frequently have paws that resemble cats. Cat feet can either be a very desirable characteristic or a serious flaw, depending on the breed.

2. Hare Feet

The American Kennel Club describes this kind of paw as having two center toes that are longer than the outside and inside toes. The dog’s feet look longer than average because the toes don’t arch as much.

These paws have long third digital bones that require more energy to move than cat feet because, as the name suggests, they resemble the feet of a hare. They do, however, have the benefit of moving more quickly. Because of this, many dogs with hare-like feet have been selectively bred to run at high speeds for brief periods of time.

3. Webbed Feet

These feet resemble those of aquatic animals like frogs, ducks, geese, and swans, as the name suggests.

What Is Carpal Subluxation?

Dog carpus is identical to human wrist carpus. A dog with carpal subluxation has this joint dislocated, which is why the dog eventually starts walking on the carpus. The dog appears to have flat feet when it walks on the dislocated joint, which causes ligaments to harden and tendons to swell. This condition affects some breeds more than others, such as Irish Setters, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Doberman Pinschers, and it is more prevalent in male dogs than female dogs.

What Is Carpal Hyperextension?

Usually, accidents like falls or jumping from a height cause this condition. These events can cause immediate lameness, carpal swelling, and a flat-footed appearance from walking on the carpal joint. After an accident, you should notify the veterinarian of any carpal hyperextension symptoms so they can confirm a trauma with the aid of x-rays.

The dog may occasionally require surgery to alleviate symptoms in addition to pain management and splinting as part of the treatment plan for this condition. Even though these dogs may not fully recover their carpus range of motion following surgery, they can eventually guarantee a pain-free, normal gait.


Problems In Young Dogs

Young puppies who are most likely to be affected by a carpus issue begin exhibiting symptoms between the ages of 6 and 12 weeks, though such symptoms can also manifest later. Even though the animal may not appear to be in too much pain, it may have trouble walking. Steroid injections in the affected feet of the pup may be used to treat the condition if it is not too severe. Surgery might be necessary for severe cases.

Read More: Do Flat Feet Cause Shin Splints? 

Can A Puppy Walk On Flat Feet? 

A dog may walk flat-footed for a variety of reasons. After a traumatic injury to the leg joint of a large dog, this is a possibility. To ascertain the severity and available treatments, it should be reported to the veterinarian. If a smaller breed is overweight or has abnormal paw structures, such as toes that point inward or outward, they are more likely to develop carpal hyperextension as they age.

Some puppies either develop weak ligaments from malnutrition or are born with a predisposition. The pup eventually becomes flat-footed as a result of the carpal joint’s weak ligaments stretching over time. In general, anti-inflammatory drugs reduce joint pain and swelling. Sometimes surgery is necessary to prevent the animal from depending on the ligaments. To normalize the stance, some puppies are advised to wear braces for support.

Related: Dog Rib Cage Protruding On One Side? Floating Ribs In Dogs?

It is best to take your dog to the vet to find out what is wrong if you notice that it is walking on its flat feet in any circumstance. To prevent further issues and to alleviate the pain and discomfort your dog is feeling, the veterinarian can identify the underlying condition and suggest the best treatment options.

What Can Dogs Do About Flat Feet?

Depending on how severe the condition is, there are different approaches to treating canine flat feet. The most popular treatments include splinting the affected feet, surgery, and over-the-counter medications. Some puppies have flat feet from birth, which is not a serious issue. Regular nail trimming and applying pressure-relieving techniques are simple solutions to the problem. The nails can break and cause pain for the puppy if they are not kept well-trimmed. Flat feet expose the nails more because of how the toes are positioned, which can cause the dog to suffer multiple wounds.

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You should take your pet to the vet to rule out any potential problems and get advice on the best course of action if they exhibit carpal subluxation or carpal hyperextension symptoms. A condition’s severity can be ascertained using X-rays. The veterinarian may advise applying a leg splint and prescribing painkillers. If the condition is severe, the dog may need surgery and recovery time.

How To Treat Flat Feet In Dogs?

Dogs can have a variety of foot types, including flat feet. In some breeds, it is regarded as a normal trait, while it is deemed faulty in others. Tibetan Terriers, for instance, typically have flat feet. Their feet are renowned for being wide and hairy between the toes, with a rough texture. They can easily climb mountains thanks to their shape.

On the other hand, dogs with flat feet are prohibited from competing in shows because they are thought to be a problem in some breeds. Breeds like Irish Setters, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Doberman Pinschers are among those most susceptible to this illness. Large, overweight dogs tend to have flat feet more frequently.


Some dogs are born with flat feet, but this is not a very serious issue. You can treat it by giving your dog regular nail trims and finding ways to relieve pressure.

Although canine flat feet are not always caused for concern, it is best to take preventative measures to avoid any problems. Maintaining a safe environment for your dog is advised because falls are the most frequent cause of carpal hyperextension.

Make your dog feel at ease by calling them over to you in a soothing or joyful voice. As you trim the dog’s nails, motivate it with treats to cooperate more.

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