Kinetic analyses are becoming increasingly important for biomechanical research in veterinary medicine and as a diagnostic tool for orthopaedic examinations in dogs. Such analysis enables accurate evaluation of the vertical force distribution (VFD) in canine paw pads. The aim of this study was to assess peak vertical force (PFz) as a percent of total force (%TF), vertical impulse (IFz, %TF) and time of occurrence of PFz (TPFz) as a percent of the stance phase (%SP) in the pads of all four limbs in 23 dogs with osteoarthritis in the elbow joint and 22 healthy dogs. Dogs walked over a pressure plate, and the pads were divided into four quadrants for VFD analysis. For statistical analysis, a general linear model was used to examine the difference in VFD between both groups, between fore- and hindlimbs, between body sides, and between medial/lateral and cranial/caudal quadrants. Lame dogs had lower PFz in the lame forelimb than in other limbs and transferred their weight to the caudal quadrants of the contralateral forelimb and the caudomedial quadrant of both hindlimbs. IFz was also lower in the affected forelimb and was compensated through higher loading of the caudal quadrants of the contralateral forelimb, the caudomedial quadrants of both hindlimbs and the caudolateral quadrant of the contralateral hindlimb. TPFz (%SP) occurred later in both forelimbs of the lame dogs than in those of healthy dogs. The analysis of force distribution over the paw quadrants can be used for further biomechanical studies of dogs with orthopaedic and neurological diseases.