Injured dog paw pads and wounds

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The pads at the bottom of your dog’s paws are thick and strong, but they can cause injury. The first sign is usually limping and/or foot licking. Three common ways dogs damage their paw pads are:

  • laceration
  • sores
  • Remove the thick outer protective layer

laceration It refers to the dog’s foot pads being cut by broken glass or sharp stones. If the wound goes all the way through the tough pad and into the softer tissue underneath, it will be painful and may bleed.

sores It can be caused by a minor scrape, fungal or bacterial infection, or allergies. Usually the first sign is your dog licking his paws. If there is an infection, there may be a foul odor or discharge.

Wear pad When your dog “runs” off the mat. It’s painful, and your dog may not want you to touch his paws.

Raw paw pads

Prolonged running on hard surfaces may cause the pad to separate from your foot. Sometimes, a dog’s paw pads are torn off, leaving only the original tissue underneath, and other times, they are only partially torn open with a flap of skin.

Your dog’s paw pads will grow back, but it will take time. Most injuries can be treated at home, but if your dog has a deep cut on the pad of his foot and is bleeding, you should see a veterinarian. The wound may need to be irrigated, and she may need antibiotics to prevent infection. A study of military and pet dogs with paw lacerations found that 27 percent experienced short-term complications.

If the wound is not serious, get out your first aid kit and begin treatment:

Clean the wound

Gently rinse the wound with water or an antiseptic such as chlorhexidine. Gently remove debris such as rocks, dirt or glass. Don’t push anything that digs deep into your foot.

control bleeding

Use a clean towel to apply pressure to stop bleeding. Use ice packs to promote vasoconstriction. Deep cuts and puncture wounds may cause heavy bleeding. Uncontrolled bleeding is a veterinary emergency.

protect wounds

Many pad injuries can use a bandage and/or boot for protection while they heal. Boots, like Ruffwear Grip Tex or Canada Pooches Hot Pavement Boots, can help protect paws and keep them clean. (Whole Dog Diary Evaluate summer and winter boot options. )

You can use a disposable paw bandage, such as PawFlex MediMitt, or make your own using non-stick gauze or a Telfa pad secured with washi tape or Vetrap. (Don’t make the bandage too tight or it will restrict circulation! You should be able to slide two fingers under the bandage. If the bandage slips, put more tape on top of the bandage.)

If your dog’s paw pads are burned off a small area, a liquid bandage (such as Nutri-Vet Liquid Bandage Spray) can provide a layer of protection. But use it with caution as it can sting.

Keep wounds and bandages dry to prevent infection. Most paw bandages need to be changed daily. If you are using commercial boots, clean and dry them before reapplying.

let it heal

An injured dog needs rest. Walk your dog on a leash only and limit running and jumping indoors. Prevent chewing bandages, which may require the use of an Elizabethan collar).

Be patient while your dog heals. Even after the pad is sealed, it can take several months for the keratin (outer) layer to return to its normal strength. Use boots or other paw protection during long walks or runs, and if your dog is in pain, call it a day. You can also use our homemade ointment (see sidebar) to help protect his pads from environmental hazards.

Soothing Dog Paw Cream

Author: CJ Puotinen

Dog Paw Butter protects feet in hot and cold weather, soothes cracked or sore paw pads, and prevents winter salt burn. It can also be applied to a chapped nose. Keep some for yourself and friends as this is an effective lip balm and a great moisturizing salve for cuticles, hands and feet.

Combine in wide-mouth pint-size glass canning jars:

raw material:

  • 1⁄3 cup olive, sunflower, sweet almond or jojoba oil
  • 1⁄3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter or mango butter
  • 2 tablespoons beeswax (chopped or beaded)


Place the jars in a saucepan with a cup of water, forming a double boiler. Over low heat, stir the ingredients gently with wooden chopsticks until completely combined.

Optional: Add the contents of the vitamin E oil capsules

Optional: add 10 drops tea tree, lavender, chamomile or other essential oil

Keep a metal spoon in the refrigerator while you make the salve. To test the consistency, dip a frozen tablespoon into the melted mixture and spread it on your hands. If it’s too hard, add a little oil; if it’s too liquid, add more beeswax. When it’s suitable, pour it into a small jar or jar and apply to your dog’s paw pads as needed. (Click here for recipes for homemade shampoo and rinse.)