Ever noticed your dog profusely licking his paws, which has caused you both to visit the vet a little more often?

The small inflammation that appears between the paws are usually hairless, fleshy lumps that cause excessive itching leading to licking, and eventually limping in dogs.

The condition medically termed as “Interdigital Cysts” is found most commonly in short coat dogs like Labradors, Bull Dogs etc, but may also appear in other breeds, even if not that commonly.

Your usual visits to the vets may result in tests for allergies, cancer, anti-biotics, putting the dog on an e-collar and sometimes much more. We have been seeing our dog suffering from this condition for the longest time.

Every visit to the vet results in all of the above but NOTHING seems to have worked in the long run.

So what are these Interdigital cysts in dogs and what causes it? Interdigital cysts are these small bloody lumps between the dog’s paws that are

  •  Fleshy Lumps -Looks like a Hairless bump
  •  Causes bleeding on breakouts
  •  Keeps re-appearing in most cases
  •  Painful lumps, usually causing limping, and excessive licking

There are a variety of causes of Interdigital Cysts in your dog’s paws. And usually you will hear your veterinarians say they are not really sure of what caused it in your dog. Some of the common reasons include:


  • Allergies from grass is the MOST common
  • Deep Bacterial Infection in dogs
  • Excess Weight in dogs
  • Ingrowth of hair between the paws
  • Yeast Infection in dogs
  • Structure of the paw – if the gaps between the pads is less it can cause the moisture to get locked and lead to licking
  • Walking bare paws on areas with building construction material
  • Wheat allergy in dogs
  • Any other food allergy in dogs including Chicken in some cases


Common treatments for IG Cysts/a combination or any one of these may work best for your dog :

  • Cleaning the paws and under pads with Betadine solution and applying an anti-bacterial powder. This usually works when the cysts are not too many or reappearing too often.
  • Soaking the paws in salt water twice a day.
  • One of the most effective treatments is using 1 cup of Epsom Salts dissolved in two gallons of warm water and soaking your dog’s paws in it. However, once you remove the paws from the water, make sure to dry them completely with a dry towel or hair dryer. Epsom salts are laxative if swallowed, so you don't want your dog to lick off too much or to lap up any of the water that he's standing in. (Epsom Salts are available on FlipKart)
  • Another proven treatment available on the Internet today is using Stockholm Tar Spray on the cysts and pet parents worldwide have claimed the earlier persistent cysts almost never came back. Stockholm Tar Spray is commonly used in many countries to treat cuts, skin issues, scratches etc on horses and cattle. It is made of pine-wood.
  • Moving the dog to grain-free dog diets also helps in preventing recurrence of the cysts.


The success of any one of the above treatments will depend on the correct diagnosis of the reasons cited above. More often than not, one of the above reasons may be causing the cysts to grow back every now and then, or a combination of two or more reasons.

Most treatments will take TIME to show results. But they are TREATABLE.

No matter how long any of the above treatment take, DO NOT take any suggestions for surgical removal of the webbing between the paws. The webbing between the dog’s paws is there for a purpose.


You may end up attracting more trouble like orthopedics issue, foot pad overgrowth for your dog if the webbing is surgically removed.

So next time you spot your dog limping, or excessively licking his/her paws, look for these lumps between his paws. DO NOT PANIC. Take a Step-wise approach:

  • Start using one of the treatments mentioned above and make sure the cysts vanish and the paws dry up. This may take a few weeks to PATIENCE is key!
  • Once they have disappeared, identify which of the above reasons could have caused it most likely.
  • The best way to do this is stop one thing at a time and see if it makes a difference. For e.g stop walks on grass OR stop wheat in the meals.
  • If the cysts do not reoccur after you’ve stopped one of the causes, you know you’ve hit the bull’s eye! Else, keep trying unless you find the cause. REMEMBER, for this most common yet painful issue with the dog’s paws, finding the right diagnosis is KEY!


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Amazing article written . These are underlying issue which most pet parents go through with their pets. In our case using Epsom salt , betadine solution and moving my pet to grain free diet- has really helped.


Wonderful article. Aptly describes each and every aspect. We have to learn to live with it and prevent it. There are doctors suggesting lazer therapies for it. Please dont try it. It’s all under testing.

I did however try homeopathy for my dog with a cyst. It has worked so well. The cyst appears still, but healing time is faster and it doesn’t become a wound or increase in size.


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