A Bruise on a Dog's Paw

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Dogs are active and curious creatures, so injuries are inevitable when they're out on an adventure. If you notice a bruise on a dog paw, it's not necessarily something to worry about. Bruises can be common after a collision or impact. However, certain bruises that are accompanied by a wound or strong discomfort for your pet may be cause for concern.

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Bruises can be common after a collision or impact.
Image Credit: Aleksandr Zyablitskiy/iStock/GettyImages

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There are home remedies that can help with minor bruises, but if symptoms persist, a diagnosis can help determine the best mode of treatment for a bruise on a dog. If your dog is limping or seems to be in distress, have him rest in a comfortable place off his feet and contact your veterinarian. Bruising in dogs can be part of a larger injury. If your dog has more than one bruise and they don't seem to be caused by an injury, they may indicate a serious disease or blood disorder.

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Causes of a dog paw bruise

A bruise on your dog's paw or paw pad is most often caused by an injury that caused pressure to the foot. Your dog may have jumped off a surface and fell in an awkward way, or she could have stepped on something sharp or hard while out on a walk.

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If you don't think the bruise was caused by an injury, however, it could be another serious illness or a reaction to medication, food, or the environment. She may have a serious disease, like cancer or diabetes, or may have a blood disorder, such as hypofibrinogenemia or hemophilia A. Contacting your veterinarian is the best step in finding out the cause.

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Treatment for a bruise on a dog

The majority of the time, a bruise on a dog will go away on its own within two weeks. If it doesn't, however, or if it gets worse or larger over time, it's a health concern. Also watch for bruises that show up in groups, as multiple bruises can be a sign of blood clots and other serious health problems.

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To reduce swelling and discomfort, there are various at-home remedies to help your dog's bruised paw pain. A warm bath with Epsom salts can lower levels of inflammation and increase circulation. In addition, applying ice wrapped in a paper towel to the impacted area can help bring down swelling and ease your dog's paw discomfort. If your dog's foot is bruised to the point that he cannot walk, carry him to the best of your ability.

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When to see the vet

Paw pad injuries that involve any sort of puncture or cut need to be dealt with right away by a veterinarian for testing to determine the cause and proper treatment. If your dog gets anything stuck in her foot and you're able to remove it in the meantime, do so and apply an antibiotic ointment, but if the object is lodged deeply, leave it for your veterinarian.

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Paw injuries are slower to heal since a dog can't have stitches there due to the skin texture, and it's more difficult to keep your dog off her feet. Finding games your dog can play while laying down, including interactive puzzles and snuffle mats, can help her stay entertained without too much movement.

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If the vet finds the bruise was caused by an impact, he will likely suggest rest and cold compressing. He may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication to help with the pain if the bruise was caused by an injury and may give intravenous fluids if your pet develops anemia. Wrapping paw pads is not commonly done since it blocks them from sweating. Your vet might suggest a brace to keep the leg in place and an Elizabethan collar to prevent the dog from chewing on the bruised area.

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