Cuts on your dog's paw can be even painful and affect the way they walk or run. Here, our vets in Boynton Beach discuss what to do for your dog's paws if it gets a cut.
What are Paw Pads?
There are 3 kinds of paw pads on your dog's foot: the metacarpal pad, the primary pad, and the metatarsal pad located just above the foot. These pads provide the dog with shock absorption when your dog runs or jumps and help with balance.
About Dog Paw Pad Injuries
Dogs have very little protection on their feet since they don't wear shoes normally. It is not uncommon for your dog to injure their paws. Injuries to the paw can be caused by broken glass or stones, chemicals in your home can cause burns, and heat from hot sidewalks on very hot days that cause blistering.
Healthy foot pads are crucial, so injuries need attention. If your dog limps or licks at her pads check your dog's paws.
Different Types of Injuries:
Depending on the severity of the injury your vet may recommend bringing your pet in for emergency veterinary care. Here are some scenarios that may qualify as an emergency:
- Cuts, Abrasions & Scrapes - Sharp objects like glass and rocks can easily cut through a dog’s pad and cause wounds.
- Punctures – dogs can get puncture wounds from a variety of things, such as sticks in the woods or yard.
- Burns (from streets, sidewalks, or rocks) – When the temperatures are high, the ground warms up and can cause burns to your dog’s pads. Your dog will not always react to the hot ground right away and by the time they do, it may be too late.
- Chemical Burns– Household products cause chemical burns, like cleaners, fertilizers, cement, bleach, pool chlorinators, and some laundry detergents.
- Cracks – Paw pads can crack when they get dried out just like your skin dries out.
- Bug Bites or Stings – Dogs often get stung or bitten on their paw pads.
- Foreign Objects – Things such as sticks, thorns, and pebbles can become a problem when stuck in your dog’s paw pad.
- Frostbite – Though your dog has a fat layer to aid in temperature regulation, in extreme cold, they can still get frostbite on the pads of their feet.
Treating a Paw Injury at Home
If the wound is minor, it is okay to take care of it at home. But inspect it regularly to ensure no infections take hold.
- Clean the wound - To clean out the cut you need to gently run/pour cool water over the paw and cut. Make sure to gently remove any stones, sticks, glass or anything else stuck, if the foreign object is not coming out easily don't force it and go see your vet to remove it. You may need to use tweezers to get smaller pieces of debris.
- Control any bleeding- If you notice that the wound is bleeding you will need to hold pressure on it until it stops bleeding.
- Contain/evaluate the wound - Now that the wound is cleaned and is no longer bleeding, this is a good time for you to evaluate the wound and decide if you need to see the vet. Deep or jagged cuts may require sutures for optimal healing.
- Bandage - Place a nonstick gauze pad directly over the cut and secure it with paper tape. Then wrap your dog’s foot using roll gauze. The bandage should be tight enough to stay on, but also needs to be loose enough to allow circulation to your dog’s food. You should be able to slide two fingers under the bandage. To prevent the bandage from slipping off, wrap up to and including the next joint on your dog’s leg.
How Long Does it Take for the Paw Pad to Heal?
Cut Paw Pads:
Your dog’s cut paw pad will heal faster if it’s protected until fully healed. Keep him quiet, and prevent him from running or chewing at the bandage (the cone of shame may be needed). After your dog’s pad has healed enough that it isn’t painful to touch, it will still be tender and vulnerable to repeat injury. Avoid activities that could damage the heating pad, if your dog is willing try using a bootie to protect the foot. Healing time will vary depending on the size of the cut.
Burnt Paw Pads:
If your dog steps into a chemical substance, hold the foot under running water for several minutes. Then you will need to wash the paw in mild unscented soap. Rinse thoroughly. You should be wearing gloves to avoid skin irritation.
Burns from heat can also happen naturally when your dog has been outside on very hot days. If you notice them licking their paws, you may want to run cold water on your dog's paws to help the burn and provide some relief.
Should I Let My Dog Lick his Cut Paw?
No you shouldn't let your dog lick the wound. They could transfer unwanted germs into the wound.
When Should I Take my Dog to the Vet?
There are many reasons to take your dog into the vet but if you notice any of these things, go to the vet right away.
- Excessive or uncontrolled bleeding
- Deep lacerations that require sutures
- Large or deeply embedded foreign object that may need surgical removal
- If there is discolored or foul-smelling discharge
- Chemical burns/ Severe burns
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.