Even though your dog's paw pad is a lot tougher than the bottom of our human feet, they can still get injured or cut. In this blog, our Iredell County veterinarians discuss what you should do if your dog's paw gets cut.
A Dog's Paws
By nature, your dog's paw pads are designed to keep their feet, and the inner workings of their paw safe. If your dog injures a paw pad you have to address the injury as fast as possible.
What To Do If Your Dog Cut His Paw
Even though your dog's footpads are thick and rubbery they can still get injured as a result of a puncture wound, burn, cut or tear. Here are some things you can do if your dog's paw pad has been injured, and how you should help:
Call Your Vet
Your dog's feet have a key part in their everyday life and have to be in perfect shape to help keep your pooch happy and healthy. If your dog's paw pad gets torn or cut you need to call your vet and inform them of the situation. Your vet will tell you if your dog requires an examination or if they need to go to an emergency animal hospital. Your veterinarian could also offer you essential advice on how you can take care of your dog's foot until you can get them to a veterinary clinic.
Closely examine 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 a 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 has a large piece of glass or other foreign object lodged in their foot call the closest emergency vet straight away for advice on what to do in order to make your dog as comfortable as possible while transporting them to the emergency vet.
Clean The Cut
Add a fair amount of warm soapy warm water to a bucket or bowl and swish your pup's foot around in it in order to help clean the wound and dislodge any debris that has been left behind. Then rinse their paw off with clear warm water.
You may also rinse away any debris and clean your pup's paw by gently spraying it with clean water using a hose. And to help kill any bacteria add a small squirt of dish soap or liquid hand soap to their paw while you are rinsing it.
Another way you can clean your dog's cut paw pad is to rinse the wound with an antiseptic such as a diluted chlorhexidine solution.
Control 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 the Injury
Scrapes and cuts on your dog's paw pad that are minor can often be managed at home, however, deeper cuts will have to be cared for by a veterinarian.
If your dog's cut is deep, ragged, or has debris lodged in it you will need to head to your vet or the nearest emergency veterinary hospital. Serious cuts will have to be cleaned and dressed by a veterinarian, in some situations your vet might prescribe antibiotics to help fight any developing infections.
Bandage the Wound
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 reduce 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 keep their toes from swelling, and prevent the bandage from slipping down. Remember that the bandage should be snug enough to stay in place but not wrapped 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 a bandage and gauze you will need to seek veterinary care as quickly as possible.
Many clients ask us if they should let their dog lick their cut paw. While some licking can help kill bacteria on the wound, excessive licking may reopen the wound and cause infection. You should not let your dog lick their cut paw. By putting a bandage on the wound you can help prevent your dog from licking at the site however, some dogs become so preoccupied with licking the wound that an Elizabethan collar or another device might be needed for your dog as their 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 will want to change your dog's bandage on a daily basis to avoid infection and in order to give you an opportunity to examine the wound to ensure that it's healing properly. If you notice any sign of swelling, excess redness, discharge, odor, or increasing pain, it's time to head to the vet.
After you remove the old bandage it's a good idea to gently clean the foot with warm soapy water, and dry thoroughly before applying the new bandage.
Heading to the vet at the earliest sign of infection will help prevent the wound from becoming more severe and more 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. It is always best to err on the side of caution with 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 - head to the vet for care. 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.