Dog Carpal Pad Injury Flap

A dog’s paws serve a number of critical functions during everyday life. Besides providing a foundation for standing, walking, and running, your dog’s feet act as shock absorbers, protect against cold and hot temperatures, and indicate health issues that may be otherwise unnoticeable.

Because paws are essential to your dog’s health, it’s important to recognize when your dog’s feet are injured. One such injury to be aware of is a foot pad injury, a type of wound that affects your dog’s foot pads.

If you’re wondering whether your dog has a foot pad injury, you have come to the right place. Here, we’ll explain the symptoms of foot pad injuries in dogs and treatment options to consider.

Foot pad injuries in dogs come in a range of forms, including abrasions, blisters, burns, ulcers, tears, punctures, and lacerations. These paw pad injuries are most commonly caused by the surface your dog walks on. Sharp objects such as glass can puncture your dog’s soft foot pad, while hot surfaces such as concrete can burn through your dog’s feet. Additionally, your dog’s paws can be affected by rock, gravel, sand, as well as chemicals.

Although a dog’s paws are tough, they are not indestructible. Dogs can quickly injure their foot pads if they step on a sharp object or walk on a hot surface. If you notice a paw pad injury in your dog, contact your vet immediately to begin treatment.

Foot pads, located at the bottom of your dog’s feet, are crucial for a dog’s everyday life. Not only do they provide balance and traction, but they regulate the body temperature through sweating and provide shock absorption during walking, running, and jumping.

A dog’s foot is equipped with three types of paw pads: the digital pad, the carpal pad, and the metatarsal pad. Digital pads are the four small pads located on each toe. Their main purpose is to support your dog’s weight and protect the joints. Carpal pads, located on the forelimb, are similar to digital pads and help support your dog’s weight. Metatarsal pads, located in the center of the foot, are heart-shaped pads that support the dog’s body during activities. This pad is known as the metacarpal pad or palmar pad in the front feet, and metatarsal or plantar pad in the back feet.

Each type of paw pad on your dog’s foot is made of fat, connective tissue, and thick skin. Paw pads on dogs are soft yet tough, allowing them to act as a cushion for your dog’s feet.

A paw pad tear is a common injury in dogs. It can occur from stepping on foreign objects like glass, rocks, or metal, and in the winter, ice is often the cause. Along with four toe pads, dogs have a larger pad in the center of their paws, as well as carpal pads on both front legs.

Help your dog regain a beautiful skin

For these delicate doggies, you have to adopt a sound care routine. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to your dog’s kibble. It is interesting to note that coconut oil will not make the dog fat. The energy released by the oil is immediately consumed by its body and not excess fat ends up being stored. Once again, look for higher quality oils such as the organic oil, cold pressed types.

Another good tip is to add beer yeast to your dog’s diet. It is a perfect food supplement that is rich in vitamins and zinc. Be sure to choose a composition without sulfite. Or better yet, include in your dog’s diet food that is high in omega 3, such as salmon.

Last but least, there are products than can be applied to the skin of the dog which restore the skin microflora. When you are enjoying special moments with your dog, take the opportunity to hydrate his pads. Creams made from beeswax are excellent.

Remember to keep a stock of socks or shoes to use at the slightest recurrence as they will help your dog heal and recover completely.

The Anatomy Of Your Dog’s Paw Pads

There are five parts to your pup’s pads, and knowing their structure is important for communicating with your vet in a paw pad injury situation.

  • Claws: while dogs can’t flex and retract their claws outwards the way their feline counterparts do, claws are still one of the most useful tools a dog has. They can be used to dig in the dirt, injure enemies, and offer traction in slippery terrain; they also help your pooch hold onto prey, food, or toys.
  • Made of a hard fingernail-like substance called keratin, these nails have an inner core with nerve endings and blood vessels inside, called the quick. Great care must be taken when trimming a dog’s nails, as cutting into the quick by mistake can cause your dog pain, shock, and distrust in your intentions. For the best results and the cleanest cut, either trust your dog to a professional or use a guillotine-style cutter rather than a flat nail clipper, which may cause nail splintering or jagged edges.

  • Digital Pads: These are roughly equivalent to human finger pads and take the brunt of a dog’s weight while out for a walk. Because they are the first part to contact the ground during a stroll, they’re also an excellent indicator of how your pooch is faring – too hot, and they need to cool down. Too rough and/or cracked, and you might need to stick to soft, grassy areas for a while until they heal.
  • Metacarpal Pads:This is the large “central” pad that looks a little like a cartoon nose when viewed at a certain angle. This cushion takes a lot of the stress of a doggie stride and allows it to bounce back and keep walking or playing.
  • Dewclaw: Scientists believe that canine dew claws are the leftover remnants of what may have once been thumbs! While they don’t serve much active purpose for most dogs today, they can unfortunately get snagged and torn in canine mishaps, so it’s important to examine them if your dog is showing signs of paw injury.
  • Carpal Pad: Think of the carpal pad – a small circle that sits on the highest back portion of the paw and lower leg – as being a little like emergency brakes. If the dog is traveling in slippery or steep conditions, it gives them an added boost of traction to keep their footing secure.
  • Did You Know…

    No Sweat! Your dog also sweats from their paw pads, believe it or not. That’s why, as adorable as doggie shoes are, they shouldn’t be worn for extended periods of time – it would be like humans wearing sneakers but never socks, as it would chafe and sweat would accumulate uncomfortably. Pads can also sweat when the dog is nervous or anxious, just as we would get clammy hands in a stressful situation like a job interview. Some dogs even habitually chew at their paw pads the way we might bite our fingernails!

    There is no “optimal” condition for a dog paw in terms of roughness or smoothness. Just as the soles of various human feet will vary widely depending on the way they live (and the terrain the person walks upon), dog paws will always reflect their environment, since they naturally walk “barefoot” everywhere they go. If your pup has rough, callused paw pads but spends a lot of time outdoors or out on hikes with you, there’s no need for alarm! He is simply building up what is essentially a pair of shoes to contend with uneven, grainy, or rocky terrain without hurting the padded layer of fat and blood vessels that are present in paw pads. Likewise, if your dog’s sporting smooth, callus-free paws, it probably just means that they see far more carpet and linoleum than dirt and sand.

    While calluses can provide a lot of protection over time, it’s important to remember they aren’t shoes. From an evolutionary standpoint, human creations like asphalt, concrete, and glass are very new inventions and hold far more heat and cold than natural materials normally would. This can equal bad news for a dog out on a walk in extreme conditions, as even the most callused pads can’t insulate against prolonged direct contact with high or low temperatures. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t put your bare hand comfortably on the walking surface for more than a few seconds, it’s a danger for your dog and you should avoid walking them in that area. Below are a few commonly-asked questions addressing paw pad injuries and general care:

    Q: What should I do for dog paw pad freezes and burns?

    A: Even if you’re careful to avoid walking your dog on dangerous surfaces, some pups tend to get into trouble and take “unauthorized” strolls where they shouldn’t. If this happens and your dog comes home with red paw pads, blistered, or swollen, it’s important to act right away. First, comfort your dog and gently inspect his paws visually – is the damage uniform across all four paws? This is one of the best ways to make sure that it was a surface that injured your dog, and not an environmental aspect (e.g., broken glass, chemical exposure, or an insect sting). If it’s a serious injury, your dog will be limping, whining, and avoiding putting weight on their paws.

    If it does look like temperature is the culprit, get a bowl of room-temperature water to soak your pup’s paw pads while you hold them. Keep a tube of dog-safe antibiotic ointment and soft gauze in the house, and soak his paw; dry the area, apply ointment, and loosely bandage your dog’s injured paws if necessary. Isolate them from triggers that may cause them to become hyperactive (such as other pets or someone knocking at the front door) – they’ll be more likely to relax and stay off their pads so they can heal. If the pads still look red and/or swollen after a day or two when you remove the bandages, take your dog to the vet for further examination and treatment.

    In the winter, be aware that cold temperatures aren’t the only danger to your pup’s paws: the ASPCA recommends a thin coating of petroleum jelly over the paw pads before walking in wintery conditions. The American Kennel Club even has a handy recipe for making your own paw balm!

    Salt and ice-melting chemicals can also harm your dog’s paws – and digestion, if they attempt to lick it off. Add a thin layer of the jelly before the walk and wash or wipe their pads in room temperature water before letting them back inside: this will minimize exposure to ice-melting chemicals.

    Q: What should I do for dog paw pad cuts and scrapes?

    A: It’s a scary moment in a dog parent’s life when they realize their beloved pup is tracking blood behind them. The first step is to get your dog off their paws so you can get a close look at them – don’t hesitate to “bribe” them with treats and belly rubs so their paws are up. Gently grasp their leg at the ankle (or closer to the body to avoid accidentally hurting them further), and manipulate the leg to get the paw pad in good lighting. If there are any foreign objects embedded in the paw pad, swaddle your pup in a blanket or towel to prevent thrashing, and use a pair of tweezers to quickly remove the offending item.

    Just as with human wounds, hold a clean, absorbent cloth to any wounds that are openly bleeding to stop the flow of blood. If the wound hasn’t stopped seriously bleeding within 15 minutes, take your dog to the vet immediately for assessment. If the wound does stop bleeding, carefully clean the pad by dabbing with a paper towel or cloth soaked in room-temperature water, following up with antibiotic ointment and a clean gauze/vet wrap (a type of non-sticky ace bandage made for animals) combination. This dressing should be replaced frequently until your dog’s paw pad wound is closed and visibly healed, and they’re no longer hesitating to put weight on it.

    Q: What should I do for dog paw pad tears and punctures?

    A: Sometimes, more serious injuries are inflicted to dog paw pads – the American Veterinary Medical Association cautions that they may get ‘road rash’ from a fast trip down a steep embankment or run across an area with gravel or broken glass on the ground. If your dog’s paw pads look like they have been punctured or the pad itself is torn, it’s important to seek out medical help as soon as possible. A clean healing period will make all the difference in your dog’s quality of life after a pad tear, and pads can be very difficult to reconstruct through bandaging at home. Even at the vet, it’s likely that staples and stitches won’t be used because pads are notoriously resistant to these measures.

    What happens if my dog hurts her foot pads?

    Healthy foot pads are crucial so injuries need prompt attention. If your dog limps, or licks at her pads, take heed. She may have a foot pad that is torn, punctured, or burned.

    A torn foot pad doesn’t hold stitches well so cuts and punctures take longer to heal. Walking on the injured foot often opens up the wound and further delays healing. And if infection sets in, the dog may end up with more than just foot problems. Since even minor foot pad injuries can be stubborn, it’s a good idea to provide first aid at home and then see your veterinarian promptly.


    How long do carpal pads take to heal?

    Following rekeratinization of the paw pad, a pad toughener may be used topically to aid in resisting normal “wear-and-tear.” For superficial abrasions and burns, re-epithelialization may be complete by seven to nine days. With deeper injuries, healing may take up to 21 days, depending on the size of the wound.

    What should you do if your dog’s paw pad is ripped?

    Dogs with torn paw pads don’t rest and allow them to heal, however. Rather, they continue to act like dogs, running and playing and reopening their wound over and over. Just the pressure from walking can cause torn paw pads to reopen.