A dog’s pads are more delicate and easier to injure than you may think. Pads are thick, spongy and rubbery, and dogs rely on them to do everything, absorbing the shock of walking and running, and even used for traction. Pads can also protect a dog’s feet from extreme temperatures. And when a dog’s pad is in contact with something sharp or abrasive, especially when he or she is running/walking, that pad can easily become cut or scraped. Your dog is not going to simply avoid rough ground or have the human-like perception to avoid small sharp objects, so pad injuries, especially with active animals, are common. These injuries can also be difficult to diagnose, because your dog may cut or scrape his or her paw and simply ignore the wound. A dog’s pad could even become burned when he or she walks on blacktop in summer or another surface that’s extremely hot.
Hopefully, if you dog does suffer an injury to his or her pad, then he or she will show symptoms. A dog’s pad can bleed easily, and the blood is an obvious symptom; other symptoms can include limping, licking, discoloration to the surface of the pad, and, in extreme cases, your dog may show a general reluctance to place weight on the injured leg.
The first step when you notice an injury is to clean it. If there is glass or another sharp object caught in the pad, then remove it immediately. You can swish the do’s paw in the water to clean away any possible debris or blood that may be present. And if the paw continues to bleed, then you’ll want to stop the bleeding. You can cover the wound with a clean cloth or bandage and apply a moderate pressure directly to the wound. If you can’t stop the bleeding, or if the wound is serious, then you will want to go to your veterinarian’s office as soon as possible.
There is no good way to prevent your dog from injuring his or her paw. You can be diligent, however, and know the areas in which he or she will run and play. And remember to keep him or her off the hot blacktop in summertime; grass and earth are much cooler to the touch than the roadway.