Paw pads play an important role in every step of your dog’s life — literally and figuratively.
These paw pads are the thick, spongy, and rubbery part of your dog’s paw that absorb shock and make contact with any surface. And since dogs use their pads for almost every activity, they can be prone to injuries that require immediate attention.
If you’re looking for advice on how to treat a dog’s paw pad injury at home, here are the things that you need to know.
What are the Common Paw Pad Injuries?
Paw pads develop and become tougher as your dog gets older. But sometimes, your pooch still can’t avoid threats from different injuries. Some of the common dog paw pads injuries you might encounter, for example, are lacerations, punctures, and abrasions.
These injuries naturally happen since dogs are exposed to different kinds of surfaces. Because of that, a dog paw pad cut might occur when your dog accidentally steps on glass shards or other sharp objects.
Since paw pads also insulate and protect your dog’s paws from extreme temperatures, they can also get injured or burned. Stepping on acidic chemical spills, for instance, can also hurt your pet’s toes. In several cases, highly acidic substances can also cause burns and discoloration on their paw pads.
Symptoms of Paw Pad Injuries
There are times that we’re not able to notice if our dog’s paw pads have been injured or pinpoint the exact time where the injury happened. Still, it’s important that you immediately observe any changes in mood or movement that could hint that they feel hurt.
Some of the symptoms include limping, bleeding, discoloration, and excessive licking on the injured paw. Your dog may also avoid putting too much weight on the affected leg.
How Can You Prevent Paw Pad Injuries?
To prevent any paw pad-related injuries, observe the areas where your dog plays or stays in. It helps to also keep your home clean to avoid the risk of injury. Keep an eye for any sharp objects or rough surfaces that could cause injuries.
It also helps to keep your dog away from surfaces with extreme temperatures. During summer, for example, look for cooler and greener areas where you can take your dog for a walk. You can consider making your dog wear socks or boots to better insulate its paws from extremely cold temperatures during winter.
Basic First Aid for Paw Pad Injuries
Here are some of the basic first aid steps that you can do at home to prevent your dog’s paw pad injury from getting worse.
- Clean the wound
First off, you will need to clean the wound with antibacterial soap and running water. Washing the wound will help dislodge tiny particles that could have caused the injury or puncture. After cleaning the wound and you still notice foreign objects lodged onto your dog’s paws, you can gently remove them by using tweezers.
However, tiny deep-seated debris in the affected pad should be left untouched. After all, removing the foreign objects could cause further pain and could aggravate the injury. Do not forget to swab the injured pad with betadine or a sterile saline solution to further disinfect and speed up dog paw pad injury healing time.
- Control the bleeding
If the injury involves bleeding, you will need to contain the wound by applying pressure. Use gauze pads or other clean absorbent materials that can help exert pressure and absorb the blood on the paw pad. You can also apply a gauze pad to the injury to help ease the pain from walking.
Keep the dressing in place by wrapping from the paw and toes, then up to the ankle. This will prevent the bandage from loosening and slipping off during constant leg movements. Just make sure that the bandage is wrapped tightly to maintain pressure on the injury. Just make sure it’s not too tight so it won’t cause any pain in the affected part.
Dogs sometimes tend to lick their wounded paw pads which could heighten the risk of infection. By properly bandaging the affected part, you’re preventing the entry of bacteria as well as any delays in the healing process.
- Change the bandage regularly
Keep the wound clean by constantly changing the bandage. By giving your dog fresh bandages, you can pay attention and observe the recovery process. If your dog tends to chew the bandage, try spraying it with an anti-lick product. You can also tape a plastic bag over the dressing to keep it dry, or remove the gauze (if your dog is resting) so the wound can dry off and heal faster.
It’s a good sign if the cut has stopped bleeding or dried off after a few days. But if you notice signs of discoloration, swelling, or funky odors after giving first aid, then it is best to seek help from your veterinarian.
- Soothe the burns
It can be painful to walk barefoot on scorching hot cement, and a dog’s paw pads are no exemption. If your dog’s paw pads suffer from burns, you can use an ice pack to soothe and cool the injured area. Aside from that, you can also use cold running water to treat the burns.
Stepping on chemical spills can also result in burned paw pads. When that happens, flush out the chemicals with running water until all traces of the substance have been removed and washed away.
Avoid Serious Injuries from Getting Worse
By conducting the proper treatment at home, you can help your pet recover as quickly as possible from its paw pad injury. That’s why it always pays to be armed with the right info about your dog’s health and safety.
To learn more about canine health, explore our blog today.