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Keeping a dog happy on all fours



Injury to a dog's feet can put him on the sidelines to summer fun.

Dog pads are subject to bruises, abrasions, bruises and puncture wounds. Although dog pads are designed with a thick layer of protective skin that acts as a shock absorber and traction-maker, they are tough but not invincible. Sharp rocks, shells, broken glass and other debris present dangerous cutting edges for vulnerable pads.  Watch the ground in front of your dog.  Avoid broken glass from careless revelers.  

If a dog pulls up sharply when running, begins to limp, favors one leg or chews their foot, check carefully for foreign objects or wounds.  

If a dog is sensitive to palpating the pad, a bruise - which is difficult to see - may be the problem. Easing up on exercise temporarily will give the pad time to heal.

A cut or torn pad is usually easily seen.  Heat felt on a particular spot of a dog's pad may indicate infection from a puncture that is otherwise hard to detect. Remove any pieces of sharp objects and stop bleeding with firm pressure.  If the wound is minor, triple antibiotic ointment and a wrapped bandage will suffice while it heals.  A thin feminine pad makes a sturdy dressing and a dog bootie or infant sock is useful in protecting the pad.

If bleeding is persistent, or the pad appears torn or deeply punctured, a visit to the vet is in order. Stitches or staples might be required.


  • Sam 5 years ago

    My rottie is sitting out the fun for a week with a ripped pad from something sharp at the dog park. What a bummer for him, stress for me. Watch the ground where your dog plays and do everyone a favor - pick up the nasty stuff!

  • Key West Collies 5 years ago

    Essex knows all about torn pads. She doesn't do it on really sharp rocks either. It is just the abuse she puts them through while doing fence patrol and all the loose rocks at the park. Then I have to take a week off from the park.