Dogs are often explorers at heart, bounding through various terrains with excitement and vigor. But as they explore, their paw pads, an imperative part of their anatomy, are constantly exposed to varied surfaces that can result in a common injury—paw pad tears.
Anatomy of Dog Paw Pads
Dogs have five pads on each paw, comprising four toe pads and a larger central pad. Both front legs also include an additional pad known as the carpal pad located similar to our wrist area. Some dogs even have them on the back. Their primary function is to serve as shock absorbers while also assisting dogs in braking at high speeds.
Paw pad tears usually don’t occur on carpal pads since they are not in constant contact with the ground. However, highly active dogs may experience tears even in these areas, further underlining the need for proper paw pad care.
Prevention Tips for Paw Pad Injuries
Creating a safer environment starts with being mindful of your dog’s territory. Beware of harmful objects like glass, rocks, or sharp metal fragments that could potentially injure your dog’s paws.
Seasonal precautions should also be considered. Avoid walking your furry friend on hot pavements in the summer, and consider dog boots for winter to safeguard against extreme temperatures or icy shards. Frequent use of salt and chemicals on roads during winter could also be harmful to your dog’s feet.
For dog owners who indulge in hiking or adventurous outdoor activities, maintaining a pet first aid kit is crucial. Remember, dog paw pad tears can be quite painful, and your dog might resist you treating the wound. Having a handy muzzle can be instrumental in such scenarios.
What To Do If Your Dog Tears A Paw Pad
After any paw injury, the first aim should be to reduce its severity. Start by carefully but thoroughly flushing the wound with warm water.
Tweezers can be useful retrieving any debris or foreign objects that may have caused the injury. However, if the embedded objects are deep within the skin or resist removal, it’s best not to force them out. Seek professional veterinary assistance to avoid worsening the condition.
Likewise, if bleeding continues after applying pressure with a clean towel for about 10-15 minutes, treat it as an emergency and rush your pet to a vet.
Nursing a Torn Paw Pad Back to Health
Once the wound is clean, apply an antimicrobial wound spray or an antibiotic ointment for minor cuts. Frame the wound with a non-stick sterile pad and wrap it neatly with nonstick gauze. Secure everything with medical tape, then snugly bind your dog’s foot with an elastic bandage, ensuring it isn’t too tight.
Change paw bandages daily and keep applying the wound spray. To check the bandage’s tightness, do the thumb rule check. If you can slide two fingers under the bandage, it’s not too tight.
It’s best to keep your dog calm and limit their physical activity during this recovery period. Any intense activity might reopen the wound, incurring the risk of more bleeding.
Preventing the bandage from getting wet is essential for optimal recovery, especially when taking your dog outside. Using medical waterproof boots or covering the bandaged foot with a plastic bag can help.
Dealing with Non-Bleeding Paw Pad Injuries
Not all paw pad injuries bleed, especially if the cut isn’t too deep. However, that doesn’t mean your dog is not in discomfort. Look for signs like favoring one foot, excessive licking, whimpering, low energy, or unusual disinterest in activities.
Healing time for paw pad injuries can vary, depending mostly on how severe the original injury was, the regularity of bandage changes, and how effectively the recovery period was enforced in terms of limiting activities. No one likes to see their furry family member in distress, so keep yourself prepared, and you can ensure their speedy recovery, getting them back on their feet in no time.
Paw pad injuries are common, but with proper care, your dog can make a full recovery. The key is to find the cause of the injury and treat it as quickly as possible. If you see any signs of discomfort or pain in your pet’s paws, contact your vet right away.