Even though your dog's paw pad is much tougher than the bottom of our human feet, they can still get injured or cut. In this blog, our Somerset veterinarians discuss what you should do if your dog's paw gets cut.
A Dog's Paws
Your dog's paw pads naturally shield their feet and the inner workings of their paws. If your dog injures a paw pad, it's vital to consult a veterinarian quickly for a thorough checkup and immediate attention to the problem.
What To Do If Your Dog Cut His Paw
Your dog's thick, rubbery footpads may still sustain injuries from puncture wounds, burns, cuts, or tears. Here are some actions you can take to assist your dog if its paw pad gets injured, along with guidelines on how to provide help:
Call Your Vet
Your dog relies heavily on their feet for their daily activities, and maintaining their paw health is crucial to ensure your dog's happiness and overall well-being. If your dog's paw pad sustains a tear or cut, it's essential to contact your vet and apprise them of the situation promptly. Your vet will assess whether your dog needs an examination or immediate attention at an emergency animal hospital. Additionally, your veterinarian can provide valuable guidance on caring for your dog's injured paw until you can transport them to a veterinary clinic for a complete exam.
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 its foot, call the closest emergency vet immediately for advice on what to do to make your dog as comfortable as possible while transporting them to the emergency vet.
Clean The Cut
Pour a generous amount of warm, soapy water into a bucket or bowl, then gently immerse your pup's paw in the solution. This will not only aid in cleansing the wound but also assist in dislodging any lingering debris. Subsequently, thoroughly rinse their paw with clear, warm water.
Alternatively, you can use a gentle spraying method to wash away debris and cleanse your pup's paw. Employ a hose to shower clean water onto the affected area delicately. To ensure effective bacterial elimination, consider adding a small squirt of dish soap or liquid hand soap to their paw during the rinsing process.
Treat the wound with an antiseptic solution, such as a diluted chlorhexidine solution, for another effective method of cleaning your dog's injured paw pad.
Control The Bleeding
Assuming you've already removed any foreign objects that could exacerbate the injury, use a clean piece of cloth or towel to apply pressure to the paw pad. In certain instances, using a cold compress can be beneficial in reducing bleeding by constricting the blood vessels. While shallow grazes might not result in bleeding, deeper cuts may require time to cease bleeding completely.
Evaluate The Severity of the Injury
Minor scrapes and cuts on your dog's paw pad can often be treated at home, but veterinarians should be consulted for deeper cuts.
If your dog's cut is deep, has a ragged appearance, or contains lodged debris, you should promptly visit your vet or the nearest emergency veterinary hospital. Veterinarians are responsible for cleaning and dressing serious cuts, and they may prescribe antibiotics in certain cases to combat potential infections.
Bandage the Wound
Use non-stick sterile gauze pads to cushion your dog's cut paw pad and absorb any blood. This will also alleviate your dog's pain when they walk on the injured foot.
To secure the gauze in position, wrap your pup's entire foot with a self-sticking bandage like Vetwrap or Well & Good. You can find these wraps at the most well-stocked pet supply stores, and some brands even come with a bitter flavoring coating to discourage your dog from chewing on the bandage.
Wrap your dog's foot from the toes to the ankle to prevent toe swelling and ensure the bandage stays in place. Remember that the bandage should be snug enough to remain secure but not overly tight. You should be able to slip two fingers between the bandage and your pup's skin.
If the bleeding persists or fails to slow down despite applying a bandage and gauze, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Many clients frequently inquire about allowing their dogs to lick their cut paws. Although some degree of licking can aid in bacteria elimination from the wound, excessive licking can lead to wound reopening and subsequent infection. Refraining from allowing your dog to lick their cut paw is advisable.
To deter licking, consider applying a bandage to the wound. However, in cases where dogs become overly fixated on licking the wound, it may become necessary to use an Elizabethan collar or a similar device to facilitate the healing process of the paw pad.
Maintaining clean and dry bandages becomes crucial as your dog's wound heals. Although it may pose a challenge, you can ensure this by utilizing a waterproof bootie or by securely wrapping a plastic bag around your dog's foot and ankle whenever they venture outside.
To prevent infection and closely monitor the healing process, make it a daily routine to change your dog's bandage. Regularly examining the wound is essential. If you observe any signs of swelling, increased redness, discharge, an unpleasant odor, or escalating pain, you must schedule a visit to the vet.
Upon removing the old bandage, it is advisable to delicately cleanse the foot with warm, soapy water and thoroughly dry it before applying a fresh bandage.
Seeking immediate veterinary attention at the first hint of infection is vital to prevent the wound from worsening and causing additional discomfort. Your veterinarian will comprehensively clean your dog's injured paw pad, prescribe antibiotics to combat infection, and provide pain medication to alleviate your dog's suffering from the cut paw.
The first aid steps mentioned earlier do not substitute for proper veterinary care. It is always advisable to prioritize caution when it comes to your pet's health. If your dog sustains a severe wound, or if you're uncertain about the seriousness of your dog's injury, take your dog to the vet for treatment. Your veterinarian will administer the necessary treatment for your dog and guide you on how to tend to your dog's wound during the healing process.
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.