Dog paw pad injuries can be quite painful for your pup. Unless the pain causes your dog to walk on three legs, he will be putting pressure on the wound and increasing the risk of infection. Healthy paw pads are critical to keep your dog sound and protect his bones and joints. The thick, leathery skin on paw pads also protects the feet from hot and cold surfaces.
If you notice your pup is limping, don't ignore it. Examine his paw pads right away to see if you can find the problem.
Something in your dog's paw
In some cases, your dog may have a thorn in his paw or something similar that you can pluck out. If the thorn is small or only shallowly embedded, simply remove the object. In most cases, no additional treatment is necessary. For a larger thorn, use tweezers to pull it out and wash the paw pad thoroughly. If the wound is bleeding, you can bandage the foot, but this is not usually necessary.
If the bleeding doesn't stop, if the thorn is embedded in a joint, or if your dog starts to show signs of infection, take her to see a vet for additional treatment. Symptoms of infection for which to watch include pain, swelling, heat, and discharge from the wound.
Paw pad lacerations and abrasions
If your pup has a minor cut, abrasion, or other wound on his paw, start by gently cleaning the wound. Remove debris if possible using tweezers. Anything deeply embedded should be left in the paw pad until your veterinarian can give your dog a sedative or painkiller before removing the debris. Disinfect the cut with betadine or by washing with antibacterial soap. If the wound seems more serious, it is best to bandage the paw and head to the vet clinic for treatment.
Apply pressure to the paw pad to stop any bleeding. If the cut is still bleeding after 10 to 15 minutes, take your pup to the vet right away, as this can be an emergency. Cover the paw pad with gauze and wrap the paw with a bandage, such as a vet wrap. Check the bandage by inserting two fingers between the leg and the bandage. If your fingers don't fit, the bandage is too tight. Cover the bandage with plastic to keep it dry when your dog goes out and change the bandage as recommended by your veterinarian.
Veterinary treatment for wounds
Dog paw pads are a difficult area to treat, but in some cases, stitches will be necessary. Some situations when your vet may decide to stitch the wound include deep wounds, wounds that continue to bleed, and jagged wounds. Depending on the severity and cause of the wound, your vet may also prescribe painkillers and antibiotics.
During your dog's recovery, keep a close eye on the injury. If it isn't healing or if you see signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, a fever, or excessive panting, follow up with your veterinarian.
Paw pad burn injury
Your pup may suffer burn injuries on her paw pads from walking on extremely hot or cold surfaces or walking through caustic chemicals. Sooth burns caused by extreme temperatures by soaking your dog's feet in room-temperature water. Serious burns with symptoms such as paw pad discoloration and exposed tissue under the pad need veterinary treatment.
For chemical burns, rinse your dog's feet thoroughly with water, taking care not to get the chemicals on your own skin. Then, contact your veterinarian for further treatment. Your vet may recommend applying an antibiotic dog paw balm or ointment and wrapping the foot.