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What To Do If Your Dog Has a Cut Paw Pad

Although the pads of your dog's paws are tougher than the skin on the soles of your feet, they can still be susceptible to cuts and other injuries. If your dog has a cut paw pad, our veterinarians and staff at Harlingen can advise you on the best course of action.

Your Dog's Paws

The pads on your dog's feet serve the purpose of protecting the internal structure of the foot. If your dog breaks one of its footpads, immediate medical attention is necessary. Here are some things you can do to help your dog's foot heal.

What To Do If My Dog Has a Cut on His Paw Pad

Although your dog's footpads are thick and rubbery, they can be damaged by painful cuts, tears, burns, or puncture wounds. Here's how you can help if your dog's paw pad is injured.

Contact Your Vet

Your dog's paws are essential to their everyday life, and it's important to keep them healthy for their overall well-being. If you notice any cuts or tears on your dog's paw pad, you must report it to your veterinarian immediately. They can advise you on whether you need to take your pet to an emergency animal hospital or if an examination is sufficient. Moreover, your veterinarian's staff can provide crucial guidance on treating your dog's foot until you can visit the veterinary office.

Take a Close Look At the Injured Pad

Please take a closer look at your dog's foot pad to check for any objects like thorns or pieces of glass stuck in the wound, as well as any debris, grass, or gravel. If you find any loosely embedded debris, you can carefully remove it with clean tweezers.

However, if your dog has a large piece of glass or any foreign object lodged in their foot, please get in touch with your nearest emergency vet immediately for advice on how to keep your dog comfortable while transporting them to the emergency vet.

Clean The Cut

To clean a wound on your dog's foot, you can add warm, soapy water to a bowl or bucket and gently swish their foot around. This will help remove any debris. After cleaning, rinse the area with clear water.

Alternatively, you can mist your dog's paw with clean water from a hose and apply a small amount of dish or liquid hand soap as you rinse.

This will aid in killing any bacteria. Another effective way to clean a cut on your dog's paw is to rinse the wound with an antiseptic solution, such as diluted chlorhexidine.

Control The Bleeding

First, remove any foreign objects that might worsen the wound to treat a cut on your pet's paw pad. Then, apply pressure on the cut with a fresh cloth or towel. If the wound is deep, healing might take some time, but if it is just a superficial graze, it might not even bleed. Sometimes, using a cold compress can help reduce bleeding by constricting the blood vessels.

Assess The Severity of the Injury

Minor cuts and scrapes on your dog's paw pad are often manageable at home. However, it's best to seek veterinary care for your furry friend for deeper cuts.

If the cut is deep, ragged, or has debris lodged in it, take your dog to your veterinarian or the nearest emergency veterinary hospital. In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to fight infection in addition to cleaning and dressing the wound.


To help your dog with a cut paw pad, first use non-stick sterile gauze pads to cushion the bottom of the paw and absorb any blood. This will reduce your dog's pain when walking on the foot. 

Next, wrap your dog's entire foot in a self-sticking bandage, such as Vetwrap or Well & Good, to keep the gauze in place. You can find these wraps at most pet supply stores; some are even coated in bitter flavoring to deter your dog from chewing on the bandage. 

When wrapping the foot, be sure to cover it from the toe to the ankle to prevent the bandage from falling off and toe swelling. However, the bandage should not be wrapped too tightly, but just enough to stay in place. You should be able to fit two fingers between the bandage and your dog's skin. 

If the bleeding continues despite the gauze and bandage, it's best to seek veterinary care.

Prevent Licking

Many customers inquire with us about allowing their dog to lick a cut paw. Excessive licking can cause infection and wound reopening, even though some licking can help kill bacteria at the site of the injury. It is not appropriate to allow your dog to lick his injured paw. Although bandaging the wound can help keep your dog from licking it, some dogs get so obsessed with licking it that you may need to get them an Elizabethan collar or another device while their cut paw pad heals.

Ongoing Care

Keeping the bandages clean and dry as your dog's wound heals will be critical. This can be difficult, but wearing a waterproof bootie or wrapping a plastic bag around your dog's foot and ankle whenever they go outside can help keep the cut clean and dry.

You should change your dog's bandage daily to avoid infection and allow you to examine the wound to ensure it is healing properly. If you notice any signs of swelling, excessive redness, discharge, odor, or increasing pain, take your pet to the veterinarian right away.

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

By visiting the veterinarian as soon as your pet shows symptoms of infection, you can prevent the wound from getting worse and more painful. Along with giving your dog antibiotics to fight infection and painkillers to help him deal with the discomfort of a cut paw, your veterinarian will be able to clean the dog's paw pad thoroughly.

Final Word From Altas Palmas Animal Clinic

First aid measures listed above are not a replacement for quality veterinary care. It's good to err on the side of caution regarding your pet's health. Take your dog to the veterinarian if the wound is severe or if you are not sure if it is. In addition to treating your dog, your veterinarian can provide you with wound care instructions.

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 between its toes, please get in touch with our vets in Harlingen for prompt and professional care. Our veterinarians will help your pet heal and return to their normal activities as quickly as possible.

Welcoming New Patients

Our vets at Altas Palmas Animal Clinic are now accepting new patients! Our veterinary team is passionate about keeping the cats and dogs of Harlingen happy and healthy. Contact us today to schedule your pet's first appointment.

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