While the pads at the bottom of a dog's paws are much tougher than the bottoms of a human's feet, they can still get cut or injured. In this blog, our Los Angeles County vets share the steps you should take if your dog cuts their paw pad.
The Paws of Your Dog
Your dog has pads at the bottom of their paws that are naturally designed to keep the insides of your dog's paws safe. If your dog injures one of their footpads it's essential to have the injury cared for as fast as possible. Here our vets at Animal Hospital of Redondo Beach list some of the steps you can take to help your dog's injured foot.
What To Do If My Dog Cut Their Paw Pad
While the pads your dog has on their feet are rubbery and thick, they could still get hurt from burns, painful cuts, tares, or even puncture wounds. If your pooch has an injured paw pad here is what you can do to help.
Call Your Vet
Your dog's feet play an essential role in their everyday life and need to be in tip-top condition to help keep your pet fit and happy. If your pup has cut or torn their paw pad contact your vet to let them know what has happened. Your vet will be able to let you know whether an examination is required or whether a trip to the emergency animal hospital is necessary. Your veterinary team may also be able to provide you with essential advice on how to care for your pup's foot until you can get to the office.
Closely Examine the Injured Paw
carefully assess your dog's injured paw pad looking closely to see if there is anything stuck in it like a thorn, debris, bits of gravel, or a piece of glass. You can gently remove any loosely embedded debris with clean tweezers.
Call your nearest emergency vet immediately if there is a large piece of glass or other foreign object lodged in your dog's foot, the vet will give you advice on how you can make your pooch as comfortable as possible while taking them to the closest animal hospital.
Clean The Cut
Add a generous amount of warm, soapy water to a bucket or pail to swish your pup's foot around in, this helps clean the wound and dislodge any debris that may still be in the wound. Then Rise your dog's foot with clear water.
You may also gently spray your dog's foot with clean water from a hose to help rinse away debris and clean their paw. To help kill bacteria add a small squirt of liquid hand soap or dish soap to your dog's paw while rinsing.
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 Injury's Severity
If your dog just has a minor scrape or cut on their paw you should be able to address it at home, however, you will need to bring your pooch to the vet if they have a deeper cut.
You also need to take your dog to the vet or closest emergency pet hospital if their cut is deep, ragged, or has debris lodged in it. Serious cuts have to be cleaned and dressed by your veterinarian, sometimes they will also prescribe antibiotics to help prevent or treat an infection.
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 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 gauze and a bandage, you need to take your dog to the vet for treatment.
While a bit of wound licking could help kill bacteria that are on the injury site, excessive licking could reopen the wound or cause an infection. If your dog has an injury on their paw do not let them lick it. By bandaging the wound you can help keep your dog from licking at the site, however, some dogs can get very preoccupied with licking their cut and require an Elizabethan collar or another appliance while their wound 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 to check the wound to ensure 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.
Once you have taken off the old bandage we highly recommend gently cleaning your dog's foot with warm soapy water, and drying thoroughly before putting on a fresh bandage.
Heading to the vet at the earliest sign of infection will help to 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 measures detailed above aren't a replacement for professional veterinary care. When it comes to the health of your beloved pup it's s always best to err on the side of caution. 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 can give your canine companions the quality care they require and provide you with the advice you need to take care of your pup's wound as it heels.
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.