A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the preventative measures to take to ensure your dog’s paws stay healthy in the field. Unfortunately, as we all know too well, even when you take all the right precautions, injuries happen. With that in mind, this week we thought we would share a couple of tips for tending to your dog’s foot injuries:
Clean- The first thing to do when you notice your dog has a pad or foot injury is to clean the area well. Do this by simply clearing the area with clean water. If you’re in the field, bottled water would be preferred to a stream as there could be bacteria present. Make sure that all debris around the wound is cleared.
Put Away- For the safety of your dog, it is important that you pull them from the field if you discover an injury. Continuing to run the field increases the risk of getting debris in the wound or worsening the injury. Debris in the wound increases the risk of infection to the area. An infection can quickly turn a minor cut into a major problem.
Antibiotic Ointment- Apply a moisturizing antibiotic ointment to the area to help prevent infection. This will help treat any bacteria that may have found its way into the cut as well as prevent new from entering. Make sure to apply only a light layer. There is no reason to glob the stuff on. You still want air to circulate through the area.
Bandage- Applying a bandage is not always necessary. In fact, allowing the wound to breathe is beneficial in the healing process. Only apply a bandage if your dog will not leave the injury alone or there is a high risk of debris getting into the area. If you do bandage the area make sure to use light weight gauze and only use 2-3 layers. Make sure not to wrap too tightly. This will not only bother your pup, but constrict blood flow which will slow healing. It needs to be stable, but not tight.
Make sure to apply a new wrap daily. Instead of immediately changing the wrap, give the wound time to breathe. This will help it heal. Also, always apply antibiotic cream before reapplying gauze. Covering the wound increases the chance of bacterial growth, but is necessary to prevent debris from entering. As soon as the wound is closed enough to prevent debris from entering, stop wrapping it.
Call a Vet- While most minor injuries can be handled at home. However, it is important to know when it’s time to get your dog professional care. If you cannot stop the bleeding of a wound, apply constant pressure to contain the bleeding and get your dog immediately to the vet. If any persistent redness, swelling or puss is in the area, it is also time to see a vet. Also, if the wound persists for a week or more with no signs of healing, it’s time for the pros. Finally, if you’re uncomfortable with the wound for whatever reason, it never hurts to check in with the vet.
Hopefully, this is not an issue you’ll have to deal with this season, but if it is, we hope these tips help you get through.
What’s your experience with paw injuries in the field? Are there any tips you would add?