If it is a minor wound or injury that you can confidently care for at home, here are some essential first aid tips on how to handle an injured paw pad.
- Gently but thoroughly clean the wound with cold water
- If the area is actively bleeding, and there is no debris, apply light pressure to the area. If the bleeding doesn't stop or is excessive, you will want to bring your dog to the vet immediately.
- Safely remove any debris on the surface with clean tweezers. It would be best if you did not dig with a tweezer or attempt to widen the wound to remove foreign objects. If your dog has something deep in their paw pad, bring them to the vet.
- If your dog has a cut or abrasion with dirt in the wound, you may need to soak the paw to help loosen it, then rinse with cold water.
- You may use gentle antibacterial soap to help disinfect the wound, but avoid using harsh chemicals like rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.
- Use a dry clean cloth or towel to gently pat the area dry, avoid rubbing as it may irritate the wound
- Apply antibacterial ointment or coconut oil to the wound
To bandage the area, use a non-stick gauze pad over the injury, then gently but firmly wrap the area with a gauze roll, then use medical tape to secure it. You may also use vet wrap, which is elastic and sticks to itself. Don't wrap the foot too tight as it will cut off circulation.
You will want to be sure to wrap the toes to reduce the chances of swelling. Also, you may need to wrap above the ankle to help secure the bandage in place.
- Check the dressings at least once a day and apply new wraps.
If your dog is wearing a bandage on their foot, you must keep the bandages dry and clean. If your dog tries to chew or remove the bandage, you may need to use an Elizabethan collar, aka the dreaded cone. Also, you may want to buy canine boots to protect the dressing and add padding to the paw when your dog is outside.
Be sure you contact your vet for advice on properly dealing with chemical burns. Not all burns receive the same type of treatment. However, if you know your dog has come into contact with chemicals that can potentially cause harm, you will want to immediately flush the area with water for at least 20 minutes. Some chemical burns take hours to flush.