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What to Do if My Dog Cut His Paw Pad?

Even though the pads of your dog's paws are tougher than the soles of your feet, they are still vulnerable to cuts and other injuries. If your dog has a cut paw, our team of veterinarians in Pittsboro can guide you on how to handle the situation.

Your Dog's Paws

Dogs' foot pads are a natural protective layer for the inner part of their feet. However, if your dog gets a pad injury, it requires immediate attention and care. Here are a few steps you can take to help your furry friend's foot heal:

What To Do If My Dog Cut His Paw Pad

Although dogs' paw pads are thick and rubbery, they can still suffer from cuts, tears, burns, or puncture wounds. If your dog has an injured paw pad, here is what you can do to help.

Contact Your Vet

Your furry friend's paws are crucial in their day-to-day activities and should be in excellent condition to ensure your pet's wellness and happiness. If your dog has a cut or a torn paw pad, it's essential to inform your vet about the situation. Your vet will assess the severity of the injury and guide you on whether an examination or an emergency visit to an animal hospital is necessary. Additionally, your veterinary team can provide essential tips on caring for your pup's foot before you visit the office.

Take a Close Look At the Injured Pad

Examine your dog's pad closely, looking for signs of anything stuck in your dog's foot, such as a piece of glass or thorn, as well as any debris, grass, or bits of gravel that may be stuck in the wound. Loosely embedded debris can be gently removed with clean tweezers. 

If your dog has a large piece of glass or other foreign object lodged in their foot contact your nearest emergency vet straight away for advice on what to do in order to make your dog as comfortable as possible while transporting them to the emergency vet.

Clean The Cut

To clean your dog's wound, start by adding a good amount of soapy, warm water to a bowl or bucket. Swish your pup's foot around in the water to clean the wound and help dislodge any remaining debris. Rinse the foot with clear water.

Alternatively, you can gently spray your dog's foot with clean water using a hose to rinse away debris and clean the paw. Add a small squirt of liquid hand soap or dish soap to your dog's paw while rinsing to help kill bacteria.

If your dog's wound appears to be infected, it's recommended that you rinse it with an antiseptic, such as diluted chlorhexidine solution.

Control The Bleeding

If your pet's paw pad is bleeding due to a cut, first make sure to remove any foreign objects that could worsen the injury. Then, apply pressure to the affected area with a clean cloth or towel.

For deeper cuts, bleeding may take some time to stop, but in some cases, a cold compress can help slow the bleeding by constricting the blood vessels. Note that shallow grazes may not bleed at all.

Assess The Severity of the Injury

Minor cuts and scrapes on your dog's paw pads can often be managed at home, but you will need to seek veterinary care for deeper cuts.

If your dog's cut is ragged, deep, or has debris lodged in it, it's time to head to your vet or the nearest emergency veterinary hospital. Your vet will clean and dress serious cuts, and in some cases, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to help fight infection.


Use non-stick sterile gauze pads to cushion the bottom of your dog's cut paw pad and absorb blood. This should also help to decrease your dog's pain when walking on the foot.

To help keep the gauze in place, wrap your pup's entire foot in a self-sticking bandage such as Vetwrap or Well & Good. These wraps are available at most well-stocked pet supply stores, and some brands even come coated in bitter flavoring to discourage your dog from chewing the bandage.

Wrapping your dog's feet from toes to ankles will help prevent the toes from swelling and prevent the bandage from slipping down. While the bandage should be snug enough to stay put, do not wrap it too tightly. You should be able to slip two fingers in between the bandage and your pup's skin.

If bleeding does not slow and stop once the gauze and bandage have been applied it's time to head to the vet for care.

Prevent Licking

Many pet owners often wonder whether letting their dogs lick their cut paws is okay. While some amount of licking can help to eliminate bacteria from the wound, excessive licking can cause the wound to reopen and lead to infection.

Therefore, letting your dog lick their cut paw is not recommended. In order to prevent licking at the site, you can use bandages.

However, some dogs may become obsessed with licking the wound, in which case it may be necessary to use an Elizabethan collar or another device to prevent them from doing so until the cut paw pad is completely healed.

Ongoing Care

Keeping the bandages clean and dry is crucial as your dog's wound heals. Although it can be challenging, using a waterproof bootie or wrapping a plastic bag around your furry friend's foot and ankle whenever they go out can help keep the cut clean and dry.

It would be best if you changed your dog's bandage daily to prevent infection and examine the wound to ensure proper healing. If you notice swelling, excess redness, discharge, odor, or increasing pain, it's time to visit the vet.

After you remove the old bandage, gently clean the foot with warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly before applying the new bandage.

When you notice the earliest sign of infection, take your dog to the vet. This will prevent the wound from becoming more severe and more painful. Your vet will be able to clean your dog's cut paw pad thoroughly, provide antibiotics to fight infection, and pain medications to help your dog cope with the pain of a cut paw.

Final Word

While the abovementioned first aid steps are helpful, they cannot replace proper veterinary care. It is always better to be cautious when it comes to your pet's health. If your dog's wound is serious or if you are uncertain about the severity of its injury, it is recommended that you take it to the vet for treatment. Your veterinarian will be able to provide the necessary care for your dog and guide you on how to care for its wound as it heals.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog has a cut paw pad, contact our veterinarian at the animal hospital in Pittsboro for care. We can help your pet to heal and return to normal activities as quickly as possible.

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Pittsboro Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Pittsboro companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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