How do you tell if your dog’s paw is hurt? Tips and Tricks

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Like us, dogs limp for a variety of reasons. Unlike us, dogs can’t tell us what happened or where it hurts using words, which leaves us struggling to figure out why a dog is limping.

Your most valuable resource for determining why your dog is limping is your veterinarian. Before calling to make an appointment, however, most of us want to know a little bit about the common causes of limping in dogs, what to expect from a veterinary visit, and when a dog limping is a veterinary emergency.

Symptoms of Foot Pad Injuries in Dogs

Because every dog is different, not all foot pad injuries are easy to diagnose. Though the common clinical signs of foot pad injuries are limping, licking at the foot, and bleeding, some paw pad injury symptoms are a bit harder to identify. Listed below are the most common symptoms of paw pad injuries to look for in dogs.

  • Whining.
  • Excessive licking at the foot.
  • Limping.
  • Lethargy.
  • Bleeding at the foot.
  • Lack of interest in daily activities.
  • Excessive panting.
  • If your dog shows signs of any one of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately. The sooner an injured foot pad is treated, the sooner your dog can begin to recover.

    While visiting a vet is recommended for most foot pad injuries, you may treat mild foot abrasions at home. To treat a foot pad injury, first rinse the affected foot under cool water to remove debris. Next, apply an antibacterial ointment or solution, like Neosporin, on the wound. Finally, place a non-stick telfa pad over the foot pad(s) and lightly wrap with vet wrap or an ace bandage. The bandage should be kept clean and changed daily until the pads have healed.

    After treating a paw pad injury at home, owners should keep a close eye on their dog’s paw pad. If the toes become swollen or have a strange odor, contact your vet immediately. Because infection can cause significant damage to the foot as well as your dog’s overall health, it’s important to consult your vet if you notice any issues occurring in your dog’s paw pads.

    If you live in Colorado, a dog paw injury can happen anytime

    In the 15+ years we’ve run our veterinary clinic, we’ve seen dog paw injuries year round.

  • When it’s warm, we see dog cuts from metal lawn edging and barbed wire on old ranch properties.
  • In the winter, our veterinarians often see dog paw wounds caused by ice on sidewalks and roads. (Ice can be as sharp as glass!)
  • Dog Health : How to Know if a Dog Broke Its Paw

    Dogs have 2 more legs than we do, but despite their numerical advantage, they still limp when they have a hurt leg or foot. Although most limps need veterinary attention, there are a few first aid measures you can perform at home if your dog begins to hobble around.