Dog Paw Care: How To Protect Your Pup’s Paw Pads

By Chelsea Hunt-Rivera / July 23, 2018

If you are a dog owner, it’s more than likely that sooner or later you’ll have to deal with an issue regarding your dog’s paw. Unfortunately, these issues can be quite a handful… Pun intended. Think about it, your dog uses their feet to do just about everything. So when there’s an injury to one of the paw pads, it can greatly disrupt their normal day-to-day life. The good news is, most part injuries can be dealt with at home. The not so great news is that it can be quite an ordeal to ensure that your dog’s paw heals properly.

In this article, will discuss the ways that your dog may injure their paws, how to prevent an injury, and what to do if an injury occurs. Dog paw care is incredibly important and it’s imperative that pet parents recognize certain signs of distress so that they can act quickly and efficiently.

The Importance Of The Paws & Paw Pad 

Your dog’s foot pads and overall foot health are incredibly important. Without healthy feet, your dog will likely have great difficulty navigating the world. The foot pads are the thick, rubbery part of the dog’s feet. They provide a question for every step as well as traction to avoid slipping. The footpads also protect bones and joints while the dog is running and walking. Furthermore, the footpads insulate the dog’s foot from extreme weather, both hot and cold, and help provide protection against rough terrain. Therefore, it’s easy to see how devastating it can be when something so important gets injured.

Injury to the Dog Paw Pad – What Happens? 

Injury to the paw pads can quickly escalate into much bigger issues if it’s not treated early and efficiently. From dirt to debris to bacteria and all sorts of unknowns, your dog’s feet are constantly exposed to different elements that can potentially harm them. Any sort of cut, tear, or crack leaves the paw in a vulnerable state for contracting an infection. Therefore, it is vital to recognize a paw injury, determine where it came from, and quickly address the problem.

If your dog is limping or licking at their paw pads, pet owners should investigate. Discovering the injury early on will make a huge difference in its healing process.

Dog Licking Paws 

Before we get into the wounds that can occur outdoors, we want to mention that paw pad injuries can be self-inflicted. Therefore, just because your dog stays indoors the majority of the time doesn’t mean they are immune to having issues with their paws. Some dogs are constant chewers. They may often have their whole paw in their mouth and be constantly gnawing at their feet. It’s likely that this is not a habit. It can be a tell-tale sign of a yeast infection. It’s actually quite common for dogs to have yeast growth in their feet and ears, but the constant chewing and cause quite a bit of damage. Luckily, pet owners can address the issue with four easy steps.

Wash the Paws Daily 

First, using an anti-fungal shampoo, wash the feet daily. This will help quickly and efficiently reduce the amount of yeast and the constant need to chew.

Wash the Dog Weekly 

Using the same anti-fungal shampoo (we recommend finding something all-natural), also give your dog weekly baths. If the yeast is forming elsewhere, a weekly bath with an anti-fungal shampoo will help rid the body of it.

Add Probiotics & Digestive Enzymes 

Diet, diet, diet! We cannot stress enough just how important a nutritionally balanced diet truly is. In so many cases, issues on the outside are a mere reflection on what is going on on the inside.
In terms of yeast infections, probiotics are the main necessity (for dogs and humans alike). Probiotics are what is known as “good” bacteria that live in the gut. They work to eliminate bad bacteria and yeast, therefore, providing natural protection against infection. When purchasing probiotics for Fido, make sure that they are specifically formulated for dogs and have a wide variety of strains.

Additionally, you may want to consider adding an additional supplement that includes digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes are powerful when it comes to eliminating yeast. Again, so many issues start in the gut but appear on the skin. By ensuring that your dog has a healthy gut, you will surely see the benefits elsewhere.

Reduce Carbohydrates 

Many experts agree that reducing carbohydrates in the dog’s diet (at least temporarily) has a direct correlation to a reduction in the risk of yeast infections. Whenever possible, we recommend feeding your dog a species appropriate raw food diet. A raw food diet is a wonderful way to ensure that Fido is getting all of the nutritional benefits that they need to live the best life possible.
Now, let’s get into the other ways that your dog may face a paw injury and what to do if it happens.

What to do for a Torn Paw Pad

If your dog has a torn a foot pad, there are a few first aid tips to make sure you cover. The severity of the injury will dictate whether or not you can treat the footpad entirely at home or if you will need to see a vet. Use your best judgment. You’ll likely know straight away if the pad can be treated with gauze and anti-bacterial wash or if it needs immediate medical attention. If you feel that the wound is significant, do not delay in taking your dog to the emergency veterinary clinic.

Clean the Wound 

First, clean the wound. While cleaning the footpad, look for foreign objects or debris such as metal shards or glass. Tiny sharp objects may have gotten lodged into the paw. If the debris is in a location where you can grasp it with tweezers, gently remove it being careful not to cause it to move deeper into the pad. Spraying down the dog’s feet with the hose is also helpful in dislodging tiny particles that may have gotten into the pad. If the foreign object is deep in the footpad, leave it alone until you can get to a vet. Digging deep into the pad it will only worsen the injury and cause your dog to be in a lot of pain. When disinfecting the wound, use a mild anti-bacterial soap.

Control Bleeding 

Next, in order to control bleeding, you’ll need to apply pressure to the wound. Use a clean towel and gently, but firmly apply pressure. If your dog is suffering from a minor tear, the bleeding will likely stop in a matter of minutes. However, deep tears and more severe wounds will take longer to stabilize. Additionally, you’ll want to be aware that bleeding can reoccur as the dog walks on the foot. It’s also important to know that if the bleeding doesn’t stop within 10 to 15 minutes, you’ll need to take your dog to the emergency veterinary clinic straight away. Dogs have arteries in their foot pads. Excessive or continuous bleeding can be a sign that an artery has been hit which will require mandatory veterinary intervention.

Contain the Wound 

Next, apply a bandage to contain the world. Dog owners can use gauze pads in order to cushion the bottom of the foot and continue absorbing any blood. The padding will also help reduce any pain while walking on the foot. In order to keep the gauze in its proper place, you’ll need to wrap the whole foot in a self-sticking product. You’ll also want to cover the paw from the toes up to and including the ankle. This will help prevent the toes from swelling and is covering the ankle will help prevent the bandage from coming off. Pet owners should also make sure that the bandage is not too tight. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to insert two fingers between the bandage and the dog’s leg.

Change the Bandaging 

Dog owners should also make sure that they are changing the bandage daily. Most dogs won’t necessarily love having a bandage on their foot and they will likely try to chew it off. Pet parents can opt to spray the bandage with an anti-lick product. It’s also important to keep the bandage dry. You can ensure that it stays dry by taping a plastic bag over it when walking outside. Also, as you change it daily, keep an eye on any changes in the paw pad.

These changes include:

  • Swollen toes
  • Dusty toes
  • Discharge
  • Foul odor

If you notice any of these changes it is imperative to see a veterinarian. These changes can be a sign of infection and have the potential to do irreversible damage to the foot.

What to do for a Burned Paw Pad 

Cuts and punctures are not the only way that dogs can injure their paw pads. A hot pavement can do more damage than you might think. Injury to the paw pads often occurs when the feet are exposed to extreme temperatures. Foot pads are known to be resilient and tough, but they can still burn on a hot sidewalk in the summertime or on icy surfaces during winter months. If you notice your dog is looking at their feet or limping after a walk in the summertime or winter, it’s likely that they are in some degree of pain.

Pet owners can soothe the pop pads by soaking the feet in room temperature water. Make sure to keep an eye on the pads and if they become discolored or if the tissue under the pad becomes exposed, immediately contact your vet. When burns become severe, they must be dealt with professionally.

Additionally, burns can be caused by chemicals. If your dog comes into contact with a chemical substance, hold the dog’s foot under running water for several minutes. Then, use a mild soap to wash the foot and rinse completely. It is also important for you to wear gloves in order to avoid skin irritation from the chemicals. Again, we aren’t all that different from Fido. What burns your pup can also burn you as well.

Next, you’ll want to apply antibiotic ointment to the burnt foot and then bandage it. It is important to change the bandage daily and closely monitor the injury. If the foot injury doesn’t begin healing or gets worse, contact your vet straight away.

Helpful Healing Tips 

Regardless of whether you have a playful pup or a couch potato, one of the most challenging parts of healing a paw pad is making sure it heals entirely. Chances are, your dog isn’t going to be thrilled with a bandage around their foot but it is necessary for the healing process. When bandaging a minor cut or burn, keep the bandage on for three days. After three days, cut the bandage off and assess the injury. This is where the difficult part comes in- ensuring the paw pad doesn’t get reinjured. In order to make this a bit easier, we recommend the purchasing a dog boot.

Dog Boot 

When going on walks, wear a dog boot. Fido will likely not love the boot, but it will ensure that the wound doesn’t reopen or get infected. Be sure to take the boot off once you’re back indoors so that the wound can breathe and continue healing.

What Can I Give My Dog For Pain 

Dogs are notorious for hiding pain. For this reason, you may not recognize that Fido has a paw injury for some time. Typically, when a dog does begin to show signs of pain, it’s likely been going on for a while thus leading pet parents to ask “what can I give my dog for pain?”

While there are certainly times that conventional medications are necessary, we want to warn our readers that they come with potential dangers. Make sure you’re always implicitly aware of you’re giving your dog and any associated side effects. The last thing you want to do is attempt to ease Fido’s distress and only cause additional issues to develop.  

Injured Paw Pads: When to See a Vet 

Luckily, most problems associated with the foot pads can be handled in the comfort of your home. However, it’s likely time for a vet visit if you notice any of the following:

  • Excessive bleeding or oozing of any kind
  • Sores on the paws
  • Crusting at the base of the toenails
  • Thick calluses that force the toes out of position
  • Deep cracks in the paws that bleed or ooze

Paw pad issues can be tricky enough to deal with on their own. The last thing you want is a secondary infection to develop. Don’t delay on getting your pup veterinary help if necessary.

Preventing Injury to the Paw Pads 

Obviously, prevention is the best medicine. Although a dog’s paw pads are incredibly resilient, they still need protection. The pavement in the summertime can get extremely hot and ice just as snow in the summer can do substantial damage.

Dog Boots 

Again, dog boots are a great investment for cold and hot climates. Many companies make dog boots that can withstand harsh winters as well as hot summers. Fair warning- it may take some time for your dog to get used to the shoes. It’s best to start the off wearing boots at an early age as many older dogs will refuse to walk once the boots are put on.

Paw Wax 

If you live in a region where it snows, we highly recommend researching a little-known secret called paw wax. Paw wax is a great way to protect against injury and prevent ice from forming in between the dog’s toes. Pet parents have raved about how effective it is for their snow loving pooch. Additionally, many dogs completely detest wearing booties (despite how adorable they look). Paw wax is a great product any dog who refuses to walk in shoes.

Stay Alert and Aware 

One of the easiest and most important things that pet parents can do is to always be aware of your surroundings. Survey the area that your dog spends the most time. Be sure that there are no glass shards, pieces of metal, or any other sharp objects that could do harm. Also, feel the sidewalk in the summertime. If it’s hot on your hand, it’s going to be hot on Fido‘s feet as well. If you wouldn’t walk barefoot, your dog shouldn’t either.

CBD for Dogs

By now you’ve likely heard of the incredible benefits that CBD can have for our four-legged friends. From easing anxiety to reducing the growth of cancer cells, we believe that CBD will soon find a place in everyone’s medicine cabinet.
CBD is derived from the hemp plant making it all-natural and non-toxic. There are virtually zero side effects associated with CBD for dogs which is something we can’t say about a single conventional medication.

Also, because CBD is derived from the hemp plant, it contains less than 0.3% THC which means that your dog won’t get any sort of “high” feeling from the supplement.

While most people are familiar with CBD’s anti-anxiety and pain relieving benefits, it may surprise you to hear that CBD can also help heal and prevent dog paw injuries.

CBD for Healthy Paw Pads

We highly recommend our Restore CBD dog treats to soothe your pets irritated feet. The Restore CBD dog treats are rich in Omega 6 and essential fatty acids. They are made with 100% pure hemp oil and all natural coconut oil. In fact, all of our treats only contain the best, all-natural ingredients. The Restore CBD dog treats not only prevent and heal cracked paw pads, but also ease and prevent:

  • Irritated, Dry, Itchy Skin
  • Dull Coats
  • Reducing Shedding / Dandruff
  • Allergies

In other words, with CBD you’re not only healing and preventing paw damage, but also healing and preventing a slew of other ailments.

CBD Oil for Dogs

As we’re sure you can imagine, there is a fair amount of pain associated with cracked and injured paw pads. Luckily, CBD oil has proven to be incredibly effective at reducing pain. In fact, CBD is so effective that experts are considering it to be a new drug class to treat chronic pain. Again, CBD is all natural and is non-toxic. Therefore, CBD has none of the side effects that are associated with conventional drugs and NSAIDs.

Dog owners may opt to treat their dog’s pain with our CBD oil tinctures. The tincture comes with an easy-to-use dropper that allows pet owners to have total control over how much CBD product their dog is receiving. The CBD oil can be administered it directly into the dog’s mouth, mixed in with their food, or placed on top of their favorite treat.

CBD oil is a great way to promote overall wellness as well as a way to cure specific ailments. It can be given long-term without any fear of potential adverse reactions or side effects.

Dog Paw Care: The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, we know that you want what’s best for your dog. At Honest Paws, we are all dog lovers, so we understand that it can be incredibly tough when something goes wrong with your four-legged family member. Luckily, there are ways to ensure that your fur baby stays as healthy and happy as possible and when something does come up, there are natural, effective ways to get Fido back on their feet as soon as possible. 


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About the author

Chelsea Hunt-Rivera

Chelsea Rivera is a Dedicated Pet Parent who loves to create amazing content for pet owners and is helping change pet wellness as the Head of Content for