Every canine has paw pads – those thick, rubbery parts that leave prints when your dog walks through the mud. Paw pads serve many of the same purposes as the soles of your shoes – they absorb shock, create traction, and offer protection from whatever’s underfoot.
While paw pads are thick and resilient, they aren’t foolproof! These paw pads can be injured, which is a painful experience for your pup, since they need to put pressure on their paw pads in order to move around. That’s why you should pay attention to signs that your dog has suffered a paw pad injury, and proceed with these treatment options if an injury occurs.
How to Tell If Your Dog’s Paw Pad is Injured
Different types of injuries can affect your dog’s paw pads. The most common of these include:
- Cuts caused by stepping on glass or other sharp objects.
- Burns caused by standing on extremely hot asphalt.
- Irritation caused by walking on spilled chemicals or deicing products.
If you witness any of these situations first hand, you might realize immediately that your dog has injured one or more paw pads. Even if don’t notice an incident, you should regularly check your dog’s paws and look for other signs of injury, especially after spending a lot of time outside. Watch for:
- Limping or reluctance to put weight on a certain paw
- Excessive licking
- Bleeding, discolored, swollen, or blistered paw pads
What to Do If Your Dog Experiences a Paw Injury
The type of care you seek depends on the way your dog injured his or her paw. Follow these tips:
Treat Cut Paw Pads
- Carefully remove any visible glass or debris from the wound with tweezers.
- Wash the injured paw with soap and water.
- Apply pressure to the paw pad with a clean, absorbent cloth to stop the bleeding.
- Wrap the paw in a bandage.
- Take your dog to the vet if the cut is deep and won’t stop bleeding.
Treat Burned Paw Pads
- Run water from the garden hose over your dog’s paws or apply ice to the burned area.
- Apply antibacterial wash and put booties on to protect your dog’s paws.
- Take your dog to the vet for serious burns where blisters have formed.
Treat Chemically Irritated Paw Pads
- Flush your dog’s paws with warm water. Keep the water running until all traces of the chemical are gone.
- Take your dog to the vet if you suspect exposure to a toxic chemical.
How to Avoid Paw Pad Injuries
While it’s possible to treat paw pad injuries, it’s best to avoid them in the first place. Protect your dog on outings with these tips:
- Comb through the area where your dog will be playing. Remove all sharp objects and rinse away any residual chemicals.
- Steer clear of broken glass or other debris in the street while going on walks.
- Encourage your dog to walk on the grass while taking summertime walks. Avoid stretches of hot sand and pavement.
- Clean between your dog’s pads to remove pebbles, burs, thorns, and other irritants before they cause an infection.
- Apply Vaseline to your dog’s paw pads before going on wintertime walks to act as a great salt barrier.
- Wipe off your dog’s paws with a dry towel when you get home from wintertime walks. This removes any deicing salt clinging to your dog’s paws so it doesn’t linger long enough to cause irritation.
- Have your dog wear booties while outside to provide a barrier against salt, ice, snow, broken glass, and hot surfaces.
Treat Your Dog’s Injured Paw Pads at Germantown Vet
If your dog shows signs of injured paw pads, the experienced team at Germantown Vet Clinic can diagnose and treat the injury. For help restoring your dog’s health, or for any other pet needs, please contact us online or call 240-252-7467.