Active dogs are likely to take a spill or bump their paws from time to time. Many times taking a spill can result in your dog bruising its paw or leg. While most bruises are no cause for concern, it is important to monitor your pet's bruising and be well versed in the treatment of bruises.
A bruise occurs when your dog's skin is dealt a blow. This can happen if your dog falls from a raised surface, something is dropped on your dog or your dog hits a hard surface while running or playing. Your dog is bruised when it is hit hard enough to break the tiny blood vessels underneath the skin at the point of contact.
Bruises are purple or black in color. This coloration results as the blood from the broken blood vessels seeps out beneath the skin at the point of contact. Many bruises will be raised and swollen. It can be difficult to spot these signs in a dog, as its fur often covers any visible damage to the skin. It is important to gently check your dog for bruising if you know that it has recently fallen or bumped into something. Check for bruises if you see your dog walking oddly or favoring a specific part of its body.
Most bruises will heal on their own within 5 to 7 days. Icing the affected area will ease your dog's pain as well expedite the healing process. Cooling the bruised area with ice helps the broken blood vessels constrict, which both minimizes the extent of the bruise and aids recovery. If your dog is in continued pain after the bruise has been fully formed, hold a hot wash cloth on the injury. This will sooth the pain emanating from the bruise.
If your dog shows sign of chronic bruising it is important to take it to the vet immediately, as unexplained bruising can be signs of a more serious disease. Abnormal bruising is symptomatic of hemostasis, platelet disorders and some vascular conditions. If you suspect that your dog's bruising has resulted from anything other than a blow to the skin, it is important to get a professional opinion.