Taking Care of Your Dog's Paw Pads
Many people mistakenly presume that their dog's feet and pads are tougher than they are and can handle almost anything. After all they are thick and spongy to touch, they give him traction, absorb shock, protect him from whatever he walks on, handles various weather conditions and so on. But in fact while they are pretty resilient they are not armor and dog's can get injured or burned on their feet and it can be very painful for them. When they step on something sharp it is more obvious or if a foreign body imbeds itself into a pad. But burned pads are not as easy to predict or spot. In the summer if it gets hot the pavement can be hot too. We put on sandals, walk on the grass and avoid those things with our bare feet because we know it will be too hot for our bare feet. But we do not realize it is the same for our dogs. Dogs sadly often have burned paws from pavements or metal surfaces that are too hot for them to walk on but owners have not realized.Advertisement
Here is a look at how to spot if your dog has paw pads that need some medical care, some alternatives to walks when the surfaces are too hot and how to treat injuries and burns.
Pad Injuries Your Dog may Get
Some common injuries that can happen to your dog's feet include;
Burned from pavements or roads that are too hot
Walking on hot roads after swimming has softened them
Lacerations, abrasions or punctures from stepping in something sharp
Chemical spill burns
Symptoms of a Pad Injury
Not wanting to go for a walk when you call or refusing to keepwalking while you are out
Licking his paws or chewing them
His paws looking darker than usual
A part of his pad might even be missing
Reluctant to put weight on to the injured paw
Treating an Injury to Your Dog's Paw Pad
How you treat the injury depends on its severity, the cause and the symptoms. For minor injuries or burns you can treat this yourself with the use of first aid much as you would if your child did it. If it is more serious or you are not sure of its severity a trip to the vet is best to make sure it gets the right treatment and infection does not occur. Here is a look at some first aid treatments for minor injuries to your dog's paw pad.
Treating a burn –
Keep the area clean and cool by flushing it with cool water and applying a cool compress when you can. If you are out move him onto a grassy areas, if he cannot walk you may have to carry him. If the burn looks deep or there are blisters take him to your vet. He may need antibiotics or medication to help with the pain. Otherwise if he cannot get back home with you call for a lift from a family member and when home wash his feet with a cleaners that is gentle. It needs to be kept clean and bandaging is an option though that will need to be changed often. You will also need to stop him from licking the area as much as you can. If your dog will allow you to put a sock on it do that, though only if you know he will not chew and swallow it. There are lick deterrents you can buy now like a spray that may help too. Ways to cool the burn include an icepack, a running faucet or a running hose.
If he has an wound you need to first see if there is anything still in it like glass. Any debris needs to be removed. Then it needs to be washed with clean water. Try moving the paw in a swishing movement in case there is any tiny debris still in the wound. When it is clean put pressure use a bandage or clean material that is absorbent to stop the bleeding. Small cuts will stop bleeding quite quickly but deeper cuts may need you to now take your dog to the vet.
If he steps into a chemical that injures him you need to immediately was the paw in cool running water and keep it there until all signs of the chemical are gone.
There are things you can do to prevent injuries occurring to your dog's paws so try to remember these tips.
In hot months take your dog for walks in the cool hours of the morning or evening
Check the pavement or roads with your own feet before letting your dog walk on it
Put booties on your dog to walk in if they need protection from hot or cold
Avoid metal and asphalt surfaces and walk on grassy areas
If your dog needs to step onto a hot surface to get somewhere like into the car lay down a cool wt towel for him to stand on
Inspect areas where you let your dog play for glass and other sharp objects
Wash away chemical spills before your dog can play in it
When walking your dog check the ground ahead of you to try and avoid nasty surprisesAdvertisement
Visiting the Vet
Dog's paws are slow to heal because they walk on them and aggravate them. That is why even with a minor injury you might want to still get your vet to check on it and monitor it. Your vet knows how to check for debris, bandage properly and whether something else needs to be done for your dog. He or she will also be able to advise you on how to care for it at home.