While canine paw injury prevention is key, it is also important to know how to deal with a paw injury if it does happen. Here are a few tips for identifying and treating sore and hurt paws.
Identify sore feet.
Being in tune with your dog’s activity level and personality can help you identify if they’re suffering from a paw injury. You should be able to tell if your dog is staying off his feet or favoring a paw. Look for the obvious – cuts, blisters, or in extreme cases a “sloughed” pad.
Less noticeable will be abraded or thin pads. In this case look for small wet dots the size of a ballpoint pen or moist areas on the pads. These are areas where the pad has worn down to the capillaries. This condition is painful, as there is very little pad left on which to walk.
Treat sore feet.
- To treat a cut pad, make certain there are no foreign objects left in the wound. Splinters, gravel, and glass are just a few things to look for.
- Flush the wound with the sterile eye-skin washes or use a saline solution (1-tsp. salt to a quart of warm water) and dry the paw. You may want to apply an antibiotic ointment then wrap the paw with a non-stick pad.
- A boot will protect the dressing and keep the area clean between dressing changes.
- For bruised pads, try to reduce activity to allow the pads to heal more rapidly. If left to their own, dogs will often regulate their activity to facilitate quicker healing.