Recovering from Paw Pad Injuries

Updated On: Friday, March 18, 2022 12:20:19 PM America/Los_Angeles

Paw pad injuries may seem much less serious than other common physical traumas dogs face like broken bones and torn ligaments, but that doesn’t mean they’re not painful or dangerous. If you’ve ever been surprised at how painful and disruptive a bad paper cut can be, you have a sense of how even a minor paw pad injury can affect dogs in their daily life. 

Photo by Camylla Battani

Common Causes of Paw Pad Injuries

  • Cuts and scrapes from activity or sharp objects
  • Chewing or over grooming
  • Ulcerated calluses 
  • Burns
  • Severe nail damage that extends beyond the nail bed 
  • Frostbite

How to Treat Paw Pad Injuries

  • Clean the wound: It’s best to refrain from harsher cleansers like alcohol and stick with warm water when washing a wound. Alcohol can further irritate the injury, and a squirming pup will keep you from fully removing any dirt and other debris. 
  • Assess the injury: After the paw has been washed, you’ll be able to better assess the injury. If it’s minor–think superficial scrape or small paper cut–and the bleeding has stopped, then it can likely be safely dressed. If the cut is deep or in a location where it might continually reopen (e.g. between the toes), then it may be time to head to the vet where your dog can get stitches if needed.
  • Dress the wound: If the injury is minor, then dressing the wound can prevent dogs from licking their paws, lengthening recovery time, and developing infections. Bandage the foot by covering the pad with a non-stick gauze pad and wrapping the foot with an ACE style bandage.  
  • Contact a vet if needed: Use your best judgment to determine whether or not the injury needs professional attention. Even if the injury isn’t “that bad”, getting it properly cleaned and treated can make recovery a quicker and less painful process. Vets will be happy to help you decide whether or not the injury warrants a visit, so there’s nothing to lose by making a call! 

How Long It Takes for Paw Pad Injuries to Heal

Recovery time is highly dependent on the type of injury and its severity. A minor scrape or cut can be healed within a couple of days, whereas infection of deep wounds can easily take double the time. The difficulty of paw pad injuries isn’t necessarily the healing time in and of itself. It’s that the injury is on a frequently used part of the body which makes the wound prone to reopening and infection. 

It’s important for dog pawrents to do what they can to limit activity and grooming so that the wound can heal as quickly as possible. Need extra time to heal? Use an indoor pet potty like DoggieLawn to keep paws protected from rough, outdoor surfaces. Subscribe to a real grass pee pad today so you have one less thing to worry about while you focus on your furry one’s recovery!