While a dog's paw pads are a lot tougher than the bottom of human feet, they can still become cut or injured. Today, our Houston County vets discuss the steps you should take if your dog's paw pad becomes cut.
Your Dog's Paws
The pads on the feet of your dog are naturally designed to protect the insides of your pup's foot. If one of your dog's paw pads becomes injured it's important to make sure the paw is cared for quickly. Here are some things you should do to help your dog's cut paw pad heal.
What To Do If My Dog Cut His Paw Pad
Although the pads of your dog's feet are thick and rubbery they can be injured by painful cuts, tears, burns, or puncture wounds. If your pooch has an injured paw pad here is what you can do to help.
Call Your Vet
The feet of your dog play a key role in your pet's everyday life and have to be in perfect condition so they can help your pooch stay happy and fit. If your dog's paw pad becomes torn or cut call your vet as quickly as possible to tell them what has happened. Your vet will tell you if an examination is needed or if a trip to the emergency pet hospital is required. Your veterinarian might also give you advice or instructions on you how you can help your pup's paw until you can make it to the office.
Look Closer at the Injured Paw Pad
Examine your dog's pad closely looking for signs of anything stuck in your dog's foot such as a piece of glass or thorn, as well as any debris, grass, or bits of gravel that may be stuck in the wound. Loosely embedded debris can be gently removed with clean tweezers.
If there is a large piece of glass or another foreign object lodged in your dog's paw call the emergency vet closest to you immediately. They can give you advice on what you should do to help make your pooch as comfortable as possible while you take them to the emergency animal clinic.
Clean The Cut
Add a good amount of soapy warm water to a bowl or bucket and swish your pup's foot around to clean the wound and help dislodge any remaining debris, rinse with clear water.
You could also rinse debris away and clean your dog's paw by gently spraying the foot with clean water using a hose. Add a small squirt of liquid hand soap or dish soap to your dog's paw while rinsing to help kill bacteria.
Another good way to clean a cut on your dog's pad is to rinse the wound is with an antiseptic such as diluted chlorhexidine solution.
Manage The Bleeding
Provided you have managed to remove any foreign objects that could make the cut worse, apply pressure to the paw pad using a clean piece of cloth or towel. In some cases, a cold compress can help to slow the bleeding by constricting the blood vessels. Shallow grazes may not bleed at all but deep cuts can take some time to stop bleeding.
Evaluate the Severity of Your Dog's Injury
You can often manage minor scrapes or cuts on your dog's paw pad at home, however, deeper cuts require veterinary care.
If your dog's cut is ragged, deep, or has debris lodged in it you must see your vet or go to the closest emergency animal hospital. Your vet will clean and dress serious cuts, the veterinarian might also prescribe antibiotics to help prevent or fight infection.
Use non-stick sterile gauze pads to cushion the bottom of your dog's cut paw pad and to absorb any blood. This should also help to decrease your dog's pain when walking on the foot.
In order to help keep the gauze in place, wrap your pup's entire foot in a self-sticking bandage such as Vetwrap or Well & Good. These wraps are available at most well-stocked pet supply stores and some brands even come coated in bitter flavoring to discourage your dog from chewing the bandage.
Wrapping your dog's feet from toes to ankle will help to prevent the toes from swelling, and prevent the bandage from slipping down. Keep in mind that while the bandage should be snug enough to stay put, do not wrap it too tightly. You should be able to slip two fingers in between the bandage and your pup's skin.
If the bleeding doesn't stop or slow down after you have applied the gauze and bandage you need to take your dog to the vet so they can treat the wound.
Lots of clients ask us if it's okay for their dog to lick their cut paw. While a little licking could help kill bacteria that are on the site of the injury, excessive licking can reopen the wound and cause infection. Don't let your dog lick their cut paw. Bandaging the cut can help keep your dog from licking the injury, however, some dogs can get so preoccupied with licking their wound they may require an Elizabethan collar or another device while their cut paw pad heals.
As your dog's wound heals it will be very important to keep the bandages clean and dry. This can be a challenge, but using a waterproof bootie, or securing a plastic bag around your dog's foot and ankle whenever they go out can help to keep the cut clean and dry.
You should change your dog's bandage every day to help prevent infection and to provide you with an opportunity to assess the wound to make sure it's healing properly. If you discover any signs of discharge, excess redness, swelling, increasing pain, or an odor you need to take your dog to the vet.
Once you have removed the old bandage you will want to carefully clean the foot with warm soapy water, and dry it thoroughly before putting on a new bandage.
By taking your pup to the vet at the first sign of infection you are helping to prevent the wound from getting more painful and severe. Your vet will be able to thoroughly clean your dog's cut paw pad, provide antibiotics to fight infection, and pain meds to help your dog cope with the pain of a cut paw.
The first aid steps above are not a replacement for proper veterinary care. It is always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your pet's health. If your dog's wound is serious - or if you are unsure whether your dog's injury is serious - take them to the vet for treatment. Your vet will give your pup the care they require and tell you how to care for your dog's wound as it heals.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.