Rabbits Have Paw Pads

Do Rabbits Have Paw Pads?

Rabbits do not have paw pads, despite how images depict rabbits with paw pads. Most pet owners don’t know that rabbits don’t have a paw pad. Rabbits can develop paw problems if the owner doesn’t know of their lack of paw pads. Therefore, you need to know how the lack of paw pads affects your pet rabbit’s health. 

Rabbits are among the few mammals that do not have paw pads. What they have in place is thicker fur where paw pads should be. It can be hard to notice an issue with your rabbit’s paws if you don’t conduct regular inspections. 

This article will inform you why rabbits do not have paw pads and how that may negatively affect their health. You will also learn a few care tips on how to prevent paw problems and keep rabbits comfortable. 

What Is A Paw Pads?

A paw pad is a soft layer of skin on animals’ paws that play a sole’s role. It is made up of a hairless epidermis with collagen and fatty tissue underneath it. It offers a soft landing when animals are walking or landing. It also protects the paws from injuries because of carrying too much weight. Some of the mammals with paw pads include bears, cats, dogs, and tigers.

Do Rabbits Have Paw Pads?

Rabbits don’t have padded paws. What they have is more fur under their paws to absorb the shock of hopping or running. They also have sharp nails in their paws for stability when running away from predators. 

Rabbit paws are built for mobility and agility because they walk on their toes, known as digitigrades. Lack of paw pads is an evolutionary change to ensure rabbits can get away from predators quietly. The problem is that the fur isn’t thick enough to protect rabbits from injury on rough surfaces or unsanitary conditions.

What are the Potential Paw Problems?

The most common problem for rabbits is the development of Sore Hocks, Ulcerative Pododermatitis because of walking on rough surfaces. Most pet owners keep rabbits in cages that don’t have a soft landing to protect their paws. 

People tend to confuse sore hocks for paws, and they can be left untreated for a long time. The long-term effects of sore hocks on a rabbit can be disastrous. Mild sore hocks can offer ideal infection areas for bacteria in fecal matter and urine. 

Therefore, you need to inspect the paws of your rabbit to ensure that they are ready. In case you notice anything looking like paw pads, you should know that the fur cushion on the paws is gone. There are several care tips that you can use to reverse the condition and allow the rabbit’s paw fur to grow.

Causes of Sore Hocks and Solutions

There are several reasons why rabbits can develop sore hocks. Understanding the causes ensures that you take the necessary measures to keep the rabbits safe. Here are the top causes for sore hocks that you need to know. 

Inappropriate Flooring 

Wire or metal rabbit cages are rough on rabbit’s paws and are a cause for sore hocks. The metal will lead to soreness on the paws because the material is hard. Also, slippery surfaces can lead to sore hocks as a rabbit struggles to walk around. 

Solution: You need to choose a flat surface like a plastic or wooden platform. Layer the floor with soft materials like straw to protect rabbit paws. If possible, avoid keeping rabbits in wire cages and opt for even flooring. 

Skeleton Issues 

Rabbits with skeleton issues like arthritis can have an improper posture that puts more pressure on paws. An unnatural posture can lead to the development of sore hocks because of excess weight to paws. You can notice that your rabbit has skeleton issues when it stands weirdly or starts walking with difficulty. 

Solution: Have a vet check your vet for any health issues during periodic check-ups. It is easy to manage skeleton problems when they are identified at an early stage. You can also add some extra soft materials on the floor to make moving simple. 


Obesity in rabbits can lead to sore hocks because of the extra weight the paws need to support. However, obesity is easy to reverse in rabbits, and lower weight will reduce the stress on paws. 

Solution: Exercise your pet rabbit. Keeping your pet rabbit locked up 24 hours with food and water is a recipe for weight gain. Rabbits are built for agility, and their paws cannot support a lot of weight. It would help if you incorporated exercise in the daily activities of a pet rabbit.

What are the Stages of Sore Hocks?

Sore Hocks has several stages, and a rabbit may go through all the stages when the owner doesn’t notice the problem on time. Therefore, you should always be on the lookout for signs of sore hocks when you inspect your rabbit. 

Loss of Fur on the Padding:

A rabbit will lose fur under the paws, and it will look like they have paw pads. In severe cases, the paws will be sore, and the rabbit’s movement will be affected. It is easy to reverse the problem at this stage by taking better care of the rabbit’s paws. 

Visible Sores:

Neglect of the early signs of sore hocks can lead to the development of ulcerations and scabs. The rabbit will have a hard time moving due to the agony that movement causes. Also, the ulcerations can be infected, and the situation deteriorates. 

Inflammation of Leg Tissue:

You will notice that the legs are swollen as the situation gets worse. The rabbit may not be moving at this point because it is almost impossible. 

Severe Sore Hocks (Ulcerative Pododermatitis):

Severe cases of sore hocks affect the walking posture of a rabbit. It will take more intervention to treat the rabbit and keep it comfortable for the time being. Severe sore hocks can be a sign of neglect or poor care for rabbits. It is essential to ensure your pet rabbit doesn’t end up with severe sore hocks.


Rabbits do not have paw pads, and rabbit owners should use the best care practices to ensure the pet doesn’t develop sore hocks. Be on the lookout for the signs of sore hocks so that you can take preventive measures in the early stages. 

Ensure that the flooring for rabbit habitats is clean, soft, and dry. Find a way to elevate the rabbit cage so that urine drains and the flooring remains dry throughout. Above all, always look at the paws of your rabbit to ensure they are healthy.

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