My dog has a cut on his paw pad. What should I do?
If your dog has injured his paws, you need to take care of it right away. Your pet needs healthy paws and paw pads to navigate through the world. This area of their body touches the ground and takes them where they need to go. A dog’s paw pad cushions every step, and at the same time, provides traction to avoid slipping. They also protect bones and joints from the shock incurred by running and walking. Plus, they insulate the foot from extreme weather and help navigate through rough terrain. So, what should you do if your dog hurts his footpad? Keep reading to find out!
Paw Pad Injuries in Dogs
If you notice your dog limping, or licking her paw pad, take a look at the area to see if anything is wrong. For example, you may notice that the pad is burned, torn, or punctured.
Unfortunately, this area does not hold stitches well, which is why cuts and punctures take longer to heal. Also, walking on an open wound can delay healing, and infection may occur. If this happens, the dog could end up with a bigger problem.
If you notice an injury, you should apply first aid and take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Paw Pad Injuries in Dogs
- Excessively licking the area
- Whining and whimpering
- Excessive panting
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Changes in behavior
First Aid Advice for Torn Paw Pads in Dogs
If your dog’s paw pad is torn, here are some first aid steps to take at home until you can go to the vet’s office:
1. Clean the wound. There may still be foreign objects such as glass or metal shards lodged in the pad. If you can grasp it with tweezers, gently remove it. Then, wash the paw to remove smaller particles.
If the puncturing object is lodged deeply, do not touch it. It can cause pain and also cause more bleeding. Instead, take your dog to the vet, where she will be sedated for extracting the foreign objects. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection and promote faster healing.
For disinfecting the wound, use antibacterial soap or diluted betadine. If there is bleeding, apply pressure to the wound with a clean towel. However, if the bleeding does not stop within 10 to 15 minutes, take your pet to a nearby veterinary clinic right away.
2. Prevent Licking. If your dog is licking at the wound, this can lead to additional infection and trauma to the area. To protect the wound, your dog may need to wear an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) until the area is healed. You can also cover the affected paw with a clean sock or dog booty. These items also help keep the wound clean when your dog goes outside. Be sure to change the sock or booty regularly. Wounds need clean, dry environments to heal properly. Never bandage your dog’s paw unless directed by your vet. Incorrect use of bandages can lead to severe complications.
What should I do if my dog burned his paw pads?
A dog may burn their footpads when exposed to extreme temperatures or chemicals. For example, a scorching sidewalk in the middle of the summer or an icy surface in winter can cause burns on a dog’s paw pads.
If this happens, soothe your dog’s paws in warm water. However, if you see that the paws are discolored, or the tissue underneath becomes exposed, it is time to contact your vet. Severe burns will need to be treated by a professional.
Extreme temperatures aren’t the only thing that can cause burns to the paw pads. Chemicals can also cause damage. If your dog steps into a chemical substance, hold the foot under running water for several minutes and then wash the paw in mild soap and rinse thoroughly. You should wear gloves to avoid irritation to your skin.
How to Prevent Paw Pad Injuries in Dogs
As you have read, footpad injuries are hard to treat and can be very painful. Therefore, it’s crucial to avoid them as much as possible so that your dog does not encounter any health problems.
One way to prevent foot pad injuries is to scan the areas where your dog plays and walks. Then, remove glass shards, pieces of metal, or other sharp objects. Also, if it’s summer or wintertime, avoid walks on hot or icy sidewalks. Finally, you can have your dog wear boots to protect her paws.
If you’ve recently had work done at home or you’re cleaning routine includes the use of certain chemicals, be sure to rinse the area, especially the floors, with plenty of water so that no residue is left.
First Aid Kit for Treating Paw Pad Injuries
You never know when an injury will occur, so a first aid kit will be tremendously helpful to have on hand. You can even have a portable version to take with you on walks and hikes.
Some things to consider including in your first aid kit:
- Betadine or other antiseptic solution
- Gauze squares
- Dog boots
- Nail trimmers
- Cold pack
- Water bottle with clean water
Need to speak with a veterinarian regarding your dog’s injury or another condition?
Click here to schedule a video consult to speak to one of our vets. You can also download the FirstVet app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Stores.