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How to Treat Dog Foot, Leg and Paw Pad Injuries

Updated on April 24, 2014

How to Heal a Dog's Injured Paw Pad

D

og owners encounter all sorts of questions relating to their pets. Make this your headquarters for learning about pet health and more.

Find out how to clean and care for your dog's foot injury. A dog's paw pads are prone to injury from glass, hot pavement and healing can be difficult due to the paw pad's exposure to bacteria and pressure from standing on the injured foot. Jumping, running, falls and even play can lead to leg injuries, and improper treatment following an injury can lead to an even more serious situation.

Follow these easy vet-recommended steps and your dog's injured paw will be healed in no time!

Canine Foot, Leg and Paw Injury Links - Learn More on How Injuries Occur and How to Help and Injured Dog

Visit The Sick Dog Blog for in-depth information on symptoms of dog illnesses, treatments, and how to help your sick or injured pet.

Check out these links for more on canine foot injuries, paw pad injuries and leg injuries.

Canine Paw Pad Injury Treatment

How to clean, bandage and treat a dog's injured paw or foot at home.

A

dog's paw pad is prone to injury, and paw pad injuries can be difficult to heal, but follow these tips and your injured dog will be well on his way to recovery.

Competitive Musher Edward Long offered these tips for pet owners who have a dog with an injured foot.

1. Start by cleaning and removing any debris from the paw pad. Soak the dog's foot in warm water for 15 minutes. Add Epsom salts to help soften the skin, cleanse the dog's injured paw, and rinse away bacteria and debris.

2. Swish the dog's foot through the water to painlessly dislodge debris.

3. After the dog's foot soaks for 15 minutes, use an anti-bacterial soap like Dial to wash the dog's paw pad. Thoroughly wash and rinse the foot.

4. Use paper towels to pat dry.

5. The dog's paw should be examined for any embedded debris, like glass. Use tweezers to gently remove any debris, or visit your vet for further assistance.

6. Disinfect the paw pad injury with Betadine. Pour the Betadine directly onto the wound or use a sterile gauze pad to dab generous amounts of betadine onto the paw injury.

7. Allow the Betadine to air dry.

8. Apply a dab of antibiotic ointment onto the wound to help promote healing.

9. Bandage the foot using rolled gauze. Bandaging is not common practice for pets, but the foot is the exception since it's exposed to all sorts of bacteria and dirt. Wrap the gauze around the foot and ankle in a "figure 8."

10. Cover the gauze with a self-adhering Ace Bandage. This will make for a more durable bandage suitable for walking.

11. When the dog goes outside, cover the bandaged paw with a plastic bag or sock, with the bag or sock secured around the ankle with tape. This will keep the bandage clean.

If the dog bites at the bandage, get an Elizabethan Collar (also known as an "e-collar" or "lampshade collar") from your vet's office or from major pet supply stores like Petco.

Wash, disinfect, dress and wrap the dog's foot wound twice daily until healed.

If you see any signs of infection, like increased redness, swelling or discharge, visit the vet for an exam. It's likely that your vet will prescribe oral antibiotics.

Related Reading:

- First Aid for a Dog's Foot Injury

- Cleaning Your Dog's Wound

- Symptoms of an Infection in Your Dog

Dog First Aid and Wellness Reading

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Dog Nail Injuries

How to help a dog with a broken or injured nail.

A

dog will a broken or cracked toenail will often experience excruciating pain, limping and significant bleeding.

In some instances, the vet will need to administer general anesthesia to de-shell or trim back the damaged portion of nail, otherwise proper healing will not occur.

Dr. Michael Levine, DVM, offered these tips for treating a nail injury at home.

If a dog's toenail appears to be damaged, trim the dog's nail as much as possible and use caution to avoid the live portion of the nail, also known as the quick.

Stop bleeding by applying styptic powder, or in a pinch, use cornstarch or even flour to help promote clotting.

Once the bleeding is stopped, the foot must be washed with an anti-bacterial soap like Dial, and then disinfected using Betadine.

Next, apply a dab of antibiotic ointment. The dog's injured nail must be cleaned, disinfected and dressed twice daily until healed.

Conclude by wrapping the foot and ankle in rolled gauze using a "figure 8" pattern. And then use a self-adhering Ace bandage to wrap over the gauze, as this will enable the dog to walk on the foot.

Oral antibiotics and veterinary attention are often required for proper healing of canine nail injuries.

Related Reading:

- More on Canine Nail Injuries

- Paw Injuries in Dogs

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First Aid for a Pet's Foot Injury

How to Treat Your Dog's Injured Foot & Help Prevent Secondary Injury.

L

eg and foot injuries are among the most common traumatic injuries in dogs and administering proper first aid will help prevent further damage until you can get to the vet.

In many cases involving a dog with an injured paw, foot or leg, additional damage occurs after the initial trauma, making for more pain and longer recovery.

According to Dr. Michael Levine, DVM, it doesn't take much to injure a dog's foot. Normal activities like running and playing can result in cuts, sprains, torn ligaments and even broken bones.

Pet owners should always seek veterinary attention for a leg or foot injury, but administering proper first aid at home will help in the meantime.

Begin by visually examining the foot, looking for any wounds, nail breakage, swelling or other abnormalities. If nail damage is present, trim the excess portion of nail, wash the area, disinfect before proceeding.

If the dog's nails appear to be in good condition, or once you've stopped the bleeding in the case of a dog with a damaged nail, the next step is to examine the rest of the toes and paw. Check between toes for debris and slowly manipulate each toe and the foot joints, checking for evidence of pain, swelling and discomfort.

In the even that a joint is misaligned, this can indicate fracture or dislocation. Do not try to re-align the joint; instead, splint the foot and seek immediate veterinary attention.

If there is a wound (or in the case of a broken nail involving bleeding) foot must be washed with an anti-bacterial soap like Dial. Then, remove any embedded debris with tweezers. Then, disinfect the wound site using Betadine. Antibiotic ointment can then be applied to any wounds.

The foot should then be wrapped with rolled gauze if a wound or broken nail is present. This cleaning, disinfecting and dressing process must be repeated twice daily until the dog is brought to the vet or until the injury heals.

If broken bones are suspect, splint the foot and ankle with coat hanger wire and gauze or an Ace bandage. Mold the coat hanger to the natural shape of the leg/foot and wrap around the leg and foot. Once complete, the foot should be immobilized, which will prevent further injury.

To help limit swelling and pain, apply ice compresses for 20 minute increments, several times a day.

Related Reading:

- Leg Injuries in Dogs

- How to Splint a Dog's Injured Limb

- Limping in Pets

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    • giovi64 lm profile image

      giovi64 lm 

      5 years ago

      Interesting lens!

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 

      5 years ago from Diamondhead

      Thanks for the information my dog is a great squirrel hunter he likes to chase them out of the yard. Do this requires some rather dangerous hairpin turns sometime he hurts himself.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      We have a 5month old black lab puppy and he just recently (2days ago) started limping on his front left leg. We have felt and sort of pushed everywhere on his sholder, leg, paw, paw pad and between the webbing and he never once whined or yelped. He will run on it if you throw a toy but walking around the house limping severely and doesn't like to (but will) jump up on the bed. we are not sure what is wrong and are a little tite on money any suggestions? Ideas?

    • waterandearth profile image

      waterandearth 

      5 years ago

      love this lens. my frenchie tore off her toenail the other day. :( it took a week for it to fall off and she was in agony but the vet said to clean it and just make sure she takes it easy. my poor little baby.... thanks for the tips.

    • profile image

      Edutopia 

      6 years ago

      Great lens, but as with all medical lenses for animals or people: take it with a grain of salt and consult a vet if there is anything that actually happens. That said really informative!

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 

      6 years ago

      Another VERY useful lens.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 

      6 years ago

      Good to know if my dog injures herself.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      enjoyed the reading for if it happens to my dog. 'thumbs up' on your lens.

    • profile image

      kyhillbullies 

      6 years ago

      Loved it

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      7 years ago from United States

      Sometimes I sure wish my puppies could talk to me and tell me what hurts :) Looks like some really great information. Of course, I am hoping I won't need it anytime soon. lol

    • River88 profile image

      River88 

      7 years ago

      Very informative lens and I LOVE your warning! I'm lens rolling this lens to my 2 about dogs. The more info pet owners have, hopefully, the better their pets will be treated. God bless and have a blessed holiday.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      9 years ago

      Useful info.

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 

      10 years ago

      Our biggest paw dangers out here are the goathead weeds. Those little buggers are evil to pups and people alike.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 

      10 years ago

      Very useful content. And a big welcome to Squidoo.

    • Lewister profile image

      Susan 

      10 years ago from Texas

      I once had my weim step on a huge piece of glass while we were out for a walk. Huge cut and really deep. He was so calm and patient while I freaked out. :-) Did basic first aid to take care of it. Wish I had had your lens to reassure me I was doing the right thing.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      10 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Lots of good information. We just got a puppy, so I'd better bookmark this one. (Welcome to Squidoo!)

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