While the pads of your dog's paws are much tougher than the bottoms of your feet, they can still suffer from cuts and other injuries. Our Rock Springs vets and team explain what you should do if your dog has a cut paw pad.
Your Dog's Paws
Nature created the pads on your dog's feet to protect the inner workings of your dog's foot. If your dog injures one of its footpads, you should treat it as soon as possible. Here are a few things you can do to help your dog's foot heal.
What To Do If My Dog Has a Cut on His Paw Pad
Although your dog's footpads are thick and rubbery, they can be damaged by painful cuts, tears, burns, or puncture wounds. Here's what you can do to help if your dog's paw pad is injured.
Contact Your Vet
Your dog's feet are very important in his or her daily life and must be in good condition to keep your pet fit and happy. If your dog's paw pad becomes cut or torn, contact your veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you whether an examination is required or if you should take your pet to an emergency animal hospital. Until you can get to the office, your veterinary team may be able to give you important advice on how to care for your dog's foot.
Take a Close Look At the Injured Pad
Examine your dog's pad carefully for signs of anything stuck in your dog's foot, such as a piece of glass or a thorn, as well as any debris, grass, or gravel that may be lodged in the wound. Clean tweezers can be used to gently remove loosely embedded debris.
If your dog has a large piece of glass or other foreign object lodged in their foot, contact your nearest emergency vet immediately for advice on what to do to keep your dog as comfortable as possible while transporting them to the emergency vet.
Clean The Cut
Swish your dog's foot around in a bowl or bucket of soapy warm water to clean the wound and help dislodge any remaining debris. Rinse with clear water.
To remove debris and clean your dog's paw, use a hose to gently spray the foot with clean water. Squeeze a small amount of liquid hand soap or dish soap onto your dog's paw while rinsing to help kill bacteria.
Another effective method for cleaning a cut on your dog's pad is to rinse the wound with an antiseptic solution, such as diluted chlorhexidine solution.
Control The Bleeding
After you've removed any foreign objects that could aggravate the cut, apply pressure to the paw pad with 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 may take several days to heal.
Assess The Severity of the Injury
Minor cuts and scrapes on your dog's paw pad can often be treated at home, but deeper cuts require veterinary attention.
If your dog's wound is ragged, deep, or has debris lodged in it, take him to your veterinarian or the nearest emergency veterinary hospital. Serious cuts will be cleaned and dressed by your veterinarian, and antibiotics may be prescribed to help fight infection.
To cushion the bottom of your dog's cut paw pad and absorb any blood, use nonstick sterile gauze pads. This should also help to alleviate your dog's discomfort when walking on the foot.
To help keep the gauze in place, wrap your pup's entire foot in a self-sticking bandage, such as Vetwrap or Well & Good. Most well-stocked pet supply stores carry these wraps, and some brands are even coated in bitter flavoring to keep your dog from chewing on the bandage.
Wrapping your dog's feet from toes to ankle prevents the bandage from slipping down and swelling of the toes. Remember that the bandage should be snug enough to stay in place but not too tightly wrapped. Two fingers should fit between the bandage and your dog's skin.
If the bleeding does not stop after the gauze and bandage have been applied, it is time to visit the veterinarian.
Many clients ask us if they should let their dog lick his cut paw. While some licking can help to kill bacteria on the injury site, excessive licking can lead to wound reopening and infection. You should not let your dog lick his cut paw. Bandaging can help to prevent licking at the site, but some dogs become so preoccupied with licking the wound that an Elizabethan collar or another device may be necessary for your dog as their cut paw pad heals.
As your dog's wound heals, it's critical to keep the bandages clean and dry. Wearing a waterproof bootie or wrapping a plastic bag around your dog's foot and ankle whenever they go outside can help keep the cut clean and dry.
You should change your dog's bandage on a daily basis to avoid infection and to allow you to examine the wound to ensure proper healing. Take your pet to the veterinarian right away if you notice any signs of swelling, excessive redness, discharge, odor, or increasing pain.
After removing the old bandage, gently clean and thoroughly dry the foot with warm soapy water before applying the new bandage.
Taking your pet to the vet as soon as you notice signs of infection will help to prevent the wound from becoming more severe and painful. Your veterinarian can thoroughly clean your dog's cut paw pad and prescribe antibiotics to fight infection as well as pain relievers to help your dog cope with the pain of a cut paw.
The first aid measures listed above are not a substitute for proper veterinary care. When it comes to your pet's health, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Take your dog to the vet if his wound is severe, or if you are unsure whether his injury is severe. Your veterinarian can treat your dog and advise you on how to care for his 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.