Since most dogs don’t wear any type of shoes or protective paw wear in general, it isn’t uncommon for your furry friend to sustain injuries to their paws on occasion. Though the pads of a dog's feet are tough and thick from their daily use, they are still susceptible to injury from sharp objects or hot sidewalks that can cause blistering or discomfort for your dog. Lets go over some helpful insight into the common causes of injuries that dogs can suffer from.
What Causes Injuries to a Dogs Paw?
There are multiple ways in which dogs can injure their pads from their daily walk in the morning, or the afternoon hike in a heavily wooded area, or even walking through a spill in the kitchen. There is a multitude of ways dogs can injure their paw pads, some of the most common causes of injury are:
Cuts, abrasions, scrapes from sharp objects like glass and rocks can easily cut through a dog’s pad.
Punctures – dogs can experience puncture wounds from a variety of situations, but most often, it is from sticks in the woods or certain types of vegetation or nestles that commonly grow all over the planet.
Burns from hot terrain – When the temperatures rise, walking surfaces such as grass, dirt, or pavement can heat up and can cause burns to your dog’s pads. Your dog will not always react to the hot asphalt until it’s too late. Some surfaces can easily reach 145°F or more under the right circumstances.
Chemical Burns – Several household products can cause chemical burns. These include but are not limited to general household cleaner products (toilet, drain, metal, oven), fertilizers, cement, bleach, chlorinators used in pools or bodies of water, and some laundry detergents. For dogs as well as children, it is heavily advised to make sure that all these materials are properly stored away and out of reach of dogs and children alike.
Cracks – Paw pads can crack when they get dried out and from extreme temperatures and terrain.
Frostbite – Though your dog has a fat layer to aid in temperature regulation, in extreme cold, they can still get frostbite on the pads of their feet.
What to do if your dog has an injured pad?
If the wound in question is minor and doesn’t seem like a serious issue, there are a multitude of helpful first aid practices that you can perform in order to treat your dog's injured paw pad. Some of the ways you can help treat the above mentioned issues are:
Carefully and thoroughly clean the wound with cold water.
If the area in question is actively bleeding and there is no clear debris stuck in the wound, apply light pressure with a clean cloth, gauss, or other medically sanitary material to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding doesn’t stop or is excessive, bring your dog immediately to a vet.
If your dog has a cut or abrasion with dirt in the wound, you may need to soak the paw to help loosen it, then rinse with cold water.
Safely remove any debris on the surface with clean tweezers. It would be best if you did not dig with a tweezer or attempt to widen the wound to remove foreign objects. If your dog has something deep in their paw pad, bring them to the vet.
Apply antibacterial ointment to the wound
To bandage the area, use a non-stick gauze pad over the injury, then gently but firmly wrap the area with a gauze roll, then use medical tape to secure it. You may also use vet wrap, which is elastic and sticks to itself. Don't wrap the foot too tight as it will cut off circulation.
Keeping Your Dog’s Paw Pad Healthy
Even though the pads of a dog's paws can withstand a significant amount of wear and tear, it is critical that you check them regularly to ensure that they look healthy and that you dog is not in any type of discomfort walking around on them. Injuries to pay may be small at first, but can quickly get worse if they are ignored or left unattended. With these tips, you can be rest assured that your pets paws can stay strong and healthy for as long as possible.