Dog’s paws are constantly exposed to a wide variety of environmental conditions, as well as daily wear and tear. Although they are quite tough due to their durable leather like consistency, they do contain lots of blood vessels, which can mean if your dog does cut himself he may bleed a lot; this is why caring for your dogs paws is paramount.
This time of year we need to be careful as snow and icy weather can potentially cause injury to our dog’s paws.
Potential injuries that can occur range from something as simple as your dog gaining cracked skin from the cold conditions, to more serious injuries, such as your dog cutting his paw on sharp ice.
In such weather conditions you should clean your dog’s paws upon return home, as rock salt and common de-icers which have been used on the local roads or paths, are poisonous if licked and consumed by your dog.
There are many hazards out and about that could do damage to your dogs paws, these are objects such as; glass, rocks, nails and similar, so be sure to take care and try to look around to avoid these hazards. Some things we can’t always spot, like small objects hidden in the grass such as thorns, burrs and grass awn.
It should be obvious if your dog has such a foot injury as he will normally stand with his paw raised off the ground, or may even be limping. So, if he does either of these take a look to see if anything is embedded into his paw. If you can see a foreign object in the paw, you should assess it to see if you can safely remove it. In most cases you should be able to remove the item yourself quickly and easily there and then, ensuring that you do not leave any of it inside the paw. If this is not possible you may have to wait until you arrive home where you can use a sterilised pair of tweezers to pull the object out. If the item is embedded in too much, you will require vet treatment.
For more serious injuries such as a cut in your dogs paw it is important to, as soon as you can, wash the wound with warm water mixed with antibacterial solution. If it is still bleeding apply pressure with a cloth, and if possible try to raise your dog’s paw above his heart. Once the bleeding has stopped you should apply a pressure bandage, which will help to protect the cut from getting knocked again when your dog walks along and also to aid healing. If the bleeding does not subside, or if the cut is significant you will need to visit the vet as your dog could have a deep wound that requires further treatment including antibiotics.
We know our dog’s love to play in all weather conditions, so by following the above advice you can try to avoid situations in which your dog’s paws can become injured, but if the inevitable happens you now know how to treat paw injuries in your dog.