Oh no, your poor dog!
And poor you.
Dealing with an injured paw pad is so stressful.
But try not to worry – this article will guide you through everything you need to know to care for that wounded paw properly.
First, take a deep breath.
Minor pad cuts and tears happen all the time with active dogs.
And with some basic first aid and care at home, your dog will likely be healed up in just a few weeks.
I’ll walk you through this process, along with when it’s necessary to see the vet and when you can manage recovery yourself at home.
Follow the tips outlined here and your energetic dog will be back to running, playing, and exploring again in no time!
In the meantime, be sure to give your dog some extra love and snuggles.
That comforting care makes all the difference in keeping them calm and happy as the paw heals.
You’ve got this!
What To Do If Your Dog Cut His Paw Pad?
Inspect The Wound
Carefully inspect the wound to determine how deep and wide it is.
Look for any debris, dirt or glass shards that may be caught in the cut.
You’ll need to clean out anything stuck in the wound to prevent infection, and you can usually do this with a pair of clean (sterilized) tweezers.
Also check to see if the laceration goes all the way through the paw pad or just partially into the surface.
Deep cuts may need veterinary attention (but more on this later).
Clean The Cut
Gently flush the wound with clean water or a saline solution to remove dirt and debris.
You can make a saline wash by mixing a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water.
Avoid using hydrogen peroxide since this can damage healthy tissue.
Be sure to pat the paw dry after rinsing, with a fresh, clean towel.
Stop The Bleeding
Apply pressure to the pad with a clean towel or cloth for 5-10 minutes to stop any bleeding.
Elevate the paw above your dog’s heart level to help reduce blood flow.
If the bleeding doesn’t stop, you may need to apply a styptic powder or take your dog to the vet for treatment.
Bandage The Wound
Once bleeding is under control, apply antibiotic ointment to the cut and cover with a sterile bandage or gauze wrap.
Wrap snugly but not too tight. Change the bandage daily and keep the wound clean.
Try to limit your dog’s activity so the laceration can start healing.
When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet?
You should take your dog to the vet right away if the paw pad laceration is bleeding excessively, uncontrollably, looks very deep, you don’t have the supplies at home to treat, or you notice discolored or foul-smelling wound discharge.
Your vet can properly clean, close, and dress serious wounds.
They may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection or give pain medication to keep your dog comfortable during recovery.
Although paw pad cuts often heal well at home, don’t hesitate to call the vet if the injury appears serious or worsens despite your care.
It’s better to be safe and have a veterinarian evaluate the damage.
How Long Does It Take For A Cut Paw Pad To Heal?
Typically, a minor cut on a dog’s paw pad will begin to heal within a few days and should fully heal in two to three weeks. Though larger cuts, or cuts that get infected can take months to heal.
Either way, it’s really important to keep a close eye on the cut as it heals.
Check it every day for any signs of infection – things like swelling, redness, heat, oozing, or a bad smell.
If you notice anything abnormal, remember, you need to contact your vet right away – even if you have had a previous appointment or it was previously checked.
Don’t wait and hope problems go away – it’s better to be safe and have the vet examine anything that looks concerning.
Will A Dog’s Cut Paw Pad Heal On Its Own?
A dog’s cut paw pad will often heal on its own, given that the cut is minor and properly cleaned and protected from infection.
Dogs’ bodies are designed to heal small wounds naturally.
Keeping the cut clean and free of dirt is the most important thing.
Watch closely for signs of infection like swelling, redness or discharge though.
Then it’s time to call the vet.
Deep, serious cuts definitely need professional medical care to avoid complications.
Giving your pup plenty of rest, avoiding too much activity and providing a calm environment helps a lot with healing.
And of course, keeping a close eye on their comfort and behavior is key.
Should I Let My Dog Lick His Cut Paw?
No, allowing your dog to lick his cut paw is not recommended as it could lead to infection and delay the healing process.
I know it’s instinct for dogs to lick their wounds.
But with an open cut, all that licking can do more harm than good. Their mouth bacteria could easily infect the injury.
To prevent your dog from licking the wound, employing protective measures is crucial.
Utilizing an Elizabethan collar, commonly known as a “cone,” can prevent your dog from reaching the wound with his tongue, safeguarding it from potential bacteria and further irritation.
Another effective option is dressing the wound with a bandage or a bootie to shield it from dirt and your dog’s tongue, thereby preventing infection.
Moreover, maintaining a close watch on your dog’s behavior and distracting him with toys or interactive activities can also deter licking.
Anything to break the habit!
It’s paramount to ensure the wound stays clean and free from bacteria to facilitate a smooth healing process. In case you observe any signs of infection, inflammation, or if the wound doesn’t seem to be healing, seeking advice and treatment from your veterinarian is essential.
Licking might soothe your pup temporarily but ultimately slows healing and risks infection.
Seeing your dog suddenly injured and in pain is always alarming and deeplym upsetting.
Thankfully, however, minor paw pad cuts truly do look much scarier than they typically are.
Have hope – with attentive at-home treatment most small cuts heal in just 2-3 weeks!
Remember to stay calm, follow first aid basics, keep the wound clean, and monitor healing closely.
Be vigilant but not anxious.
Trust in your dog’s natural healing ability.
Protect and comfort them while their paw mends.
Should complications arise, never hesitate to enlist the help of your veterinarian.
Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel – soon this will just be a distant memory.
Before you know it, your dog will once again be running, playing, sniffing, and living their very best doggy life thanks to you!
Should you walk a dog with a cut paw?
No, it’s not advisable to walk a dog with a cut paw. Walking can cause further damage and contamination to the wound. Rest and limited movement are essential to facilitate healing and prevent complications such as infection or delay in the healing process.
When can you start Walking your dog again after a cut paw?
You can start walking your dog again once the cut paw is fully healed, usually in about two to three weeks for minor cuts. Monitor the wound closely, and if it’s closed, not swollen, and not causing discomfort, resuming walks should be safe.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.