A dog's paw pad is a lot tougher than the bottom of a human foot, however, they could still get cut or injured. In this blog, our Memphis emergency vets share the steps you should take if your dog cuts their paw pad.
The Paws of Your Dog
Your dog's paw pads are naturally designed to keep the inner workings of your pup's foot safe. If your dog injures one of the pads on their feet it's very important that you treat the injury as fast as you can. Here we share the things you can do to help your canine friend's foot get better.
What You Should Do If Your Dog Cuts Their Paw Pad
Even though the pads of your dog's feet are rubbery and thick they can still suffer from painful tears, puncture wounds, cuts, or burns. If your pup injures their paw pad here is how you can help.
Call Your Vet
Your dog's feet have an important role in their daily life and have to be in perfect condition to help maintain your pup's happiness and health. If your pooch cuts or tears their paw pad call your vet to inform them about what has happened. Your vet can tell you if an examination or trip to the emergency animal hospital is needed. Your veterinary team could also offer you key advice on how to care for your dog's foot until you arrive at the office.
Look Closely 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 your dog gets a large piece of glass or other foreign item lodged in its foot call your nearest emergency vet immediately. They will give you advice on what to do in order to help make your dog as comfortable as possible while taking them to the emergency pet clinic.
Clean Your Dog's 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 with an antiseptic such as diluted chlorhexidine solution.
Manage The Bleeding
If you were able to remove any foreign objects that can make the cut worse, place pressure on the paw pad with a clean towel or cloth. Sometimes, a cold compress can help slow down the bleeding by constricting the blood vessels. Shallow grazes might not even bleed at all, although deep cuts can take a bit of time to stop bleeding.
Determine The Severity of the Injury
Minor cuts and scrapes on your dog's paw pad can often be managed at home, but for deeper cuts, you will need to seek veterinary care for your pooch.
If your pup's cut is deep, rugged, or has debris lodged in it, you must take your dog to the vet or closest emergency animal hospital. Serious cuts will be cleaned and dressed by your vet, sometimes vets prescribe antibiotics to help fight and prevent infection.
Bandage The Cut
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. You are able to purchase these wraps at most pet supply stores that are well-stocked, several brands even come coated in bitter flavoring to keep your dog from chewing the bandage.
Wrapping your dog's feet from toes to ankle will help prevent the toes from becoming swollen, and keep the bandage from slipping down. Remember that while the bandage needs to be snug enough to stay in place, not to 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 the gauze and bandage have been placed you need to take your dog to the vet.
Many clients ask us if they should let their dogs lick their cut paw. While some licking can help to kill bacteria on the injury site, excessive licking can make the wound reopen and cause infection. You should not let your dog lick their 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 very important to keep the bandages dry and clean. This can be hard, but using a waterproof bootie, or securing a plastic bag around your dog's foot and ankle every time they go outside can help keep the cut clean and dry.
You will want to change your dog's bandage every day to prevent infection, and give you the opportunity to examine the wound to make sure it is healing properly. If you see any signs of swelling, excess redness, odor, discharge, or increasing pain, you need to go to the vet.
After removing the old bandage you should gently clean the foot with warm soapy water, and dry it thoroughly before putting on the new bandage.
Going to the vet at the first sign of infection can help prevent the wound from getting more severe and painful. 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. When it comes to the health of your dog we always say erring on the side of caution is best. If your dog's wound is serious - or you don't know if your dog's injury is serious - take them to the vet for treatment. Your vet will be able to provide your pooch with the treatment they need and advise 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.