As pet parents, we don’t always pay enough attention to our dogs’ paws. Like our own feet, a dog’s paws take on a lot of abuse, especially because they cannot wear shoes. You should inspect your dog’s paws regularly for any signs of damage or infection.
While most paw issues are not a great danger, some of them can put your dog’s health at risk, especially if they go untreated. Knowing how to treat your dog’s infected paw is essential for caring for your pooch.
Your Dog’s Paw Pads Are Important
Most of us think little of our dog’s paws until something goes wrong. The pads of your dog’s paws help to cushion the bones and prevent discomfort and damage. They also provide extra insulation during the heat of summer or the cold of winter.
A dog’s paws also keep him balanced while he is walking or running. The rough texture of his paws also helps to prevent your dog from slipping on slippery surfaces.
Although your dog’s paw pads are tough, they can become injured, especially if he walks on rocks or other hard or abrasive surfaces and foreign bodies. Checking your dog’s paws regularly will reveal any cuts or abrasions and skin lesions that may have occurred. If you see these, clean the areas and keep them covered. Minor cuts and abrasions will typically heal quickly without any further intervention on your part.
Your Dog’s Paw Pads Can Become Infected
Unfortunately, many of us do not realize our dogs have been injured on their paws until the infection starts to set in. By the time you notice any signs of infection, your dog’s paws could be in danger. If you notice any of these clinical signs, your dog’s paw is likely infected.
- Pus drainage
- Licking the paws constantly
- Biting at the paws
If you have noticed any of the above clinical signs, I am here to help you understand how to treat your dog’s paw infection and help him feel better again as quickly as possible.
What Supplies Will You Need for Treating Pododermatitis and Infections?
It is important to get your supplies together first. With these on hand, you will be able to treat your dog’s painful paw condition and get the infection under control before it spreads.
- Gauze pads & wraps
- Clean tissues
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Antibiotic ointment
- The best dog boots or sock
- Scissors for cutting gauze
Directions for Treating Dog Paw Infections
If your dog has been whimpering when putting weight on his paw or limping around, he needs immediate attention. Prompt treatment from you can stop the infection in its tracks and get your dog on the road to recovery. Don’t worry! This is not a difficult treatment process, and it will not cause your dog pain, though you do need to be gentle when handling his painful paw.
A word of caution: If your dog’s paw is severely infected, he has a fever, or at-home treatments are not working, go to the vet right away!
Clean the Wound
One of the first steps you will need to take is to clean your dog’s wound. Cleaning will help to remove any dirt and debris that may have settled into the wound. This step will also flush out any bacteria or pus.
You should flush the wound with hydrogen peroxide to remove any bacteria. Because this liquid also kills good bacteria, you should only use hydrogen peroxide once during treatment. From henceforth, use only water for cleaning.
Pour a small amount of peroxide on the wound. You should pour enough so that the peroxide completely flushes the wound and runs out. You will see it bubble up with white foam. This is normal and means the wound is being cleaned.
Gently Dry the Wound
After you have flushed your dog’s paw with hydrogen peroxide, dab it gently with clean tissues to remove any excess liquid. Your dog’s paw does not have to be completely dry before you proceed to the next step, but you do not want it dripping.
You have a couple of options here, depending on the severity of the infection and your preferences. Antibiotic ointment is a good choice for infections because it will go right to work on combatting bacterial infection .
If your dog’s wound only seems to have a minor infection, you may want to try a more natural approach. Coconut oil is a good choice because of its antifungal and antibacterial properties. In addition to helping with infections, you can also regularly use this natural oil to moisturize your dog’s paw pads and prevent them from drying out and becoming cracked.
This is another step where you have options. If your dog’s paw is severely infected, you will likely need to cut a small piece of gauze pad to put over the wound. This pad will help to absorb any drainage as the wound heals.
Next, use gauze to wrap your dog’s paw. If your dog is like many, he will likely try to chew the gauze off. Putting a sock or dog bootie over the gauze will help and will keep the bandaging from becoming dirty.
Keep Up With the Treatment
For two days, you will need to remove the bandages each day and go through the process above. Only, remember not to use hydrogen peroxide again. Use water to clean the wound.
After two days of treatment, you can leave the bandage off for a short time to let the wound get air. It is best to keep your dog indoors in a dog crate for the first couple of days to encourage him to rest his paw and allow it to heal.
My Dog Keeps Chewing His Bandages
Even if you use a sock or bootie, and have your dog’s paw secured, you may discover he continuously chews at the gauze until it is removed. Because his paw needs to be covered for the first few days, you may have to put him in a cone.
You do not have to use the uncomfortable plastic cones from the veterinarian. You can purchase comfortable padded cone collar covers that go right over the dog collar. These cones attach with velcro and will safely prevent your dog from licking his wounds.
What Is Pododermatitis?
Your dog’s paws go through a lot as he roams about, searching for new fun to be experience. Unfortunately, your dog can develop paw inflammation. Pododermatitis in dogs is simply an inflammation of the paw pads. This paw condition can be caused by some of the following.
- Immune-mediated disease
- Environmental contaminants
- Hormonal disorders
- Tumors (Benign or cancerous)
Sometimes, pododermatitis dog paw becomes a chronic problem that needs to be treated by a veterinarian. Your vet will need to determine if the pododermatitis is infectious, allergic, or caused by an underlying health condition. Answering the following questions can help your vet to reach a diagnosis.
- What type of environment does your dog live in and normally walk in?
- Does pododermatitis occur throughout the year or seasonally?
- Have you discovered any inflammation or wounds anywhere else on your dog’s body?
- What does your dog eat?
- Have you tried any treatments at home? How did the condition respond?
- Has your dog recently traveled to an unfamiliar area?
- Does your dog have any health concerns?
How Does the Vet Treat Pododermatitis?
Pododermatitis is best treated by your vet because there can be so many underlying causes. This condition can also lead to secondary infection. You need to learn the cause before attempting to treat the condition, especially if your dog’s paws seem to be chronically affected.
The treatment your vet recommends will depend on the underlying cause, which is why it is so important to take your dog to the vet first. It is important to note that if your dog’s pododermatitis is caused by allergies or autoimmune skin disease, there is no cure. Your dog’s symptoms can be kept manageable with medication.
Your vet has multiple options available for treatment. Topical ointments can help relieve irritation, discomfort, and itchy feet or paws. A vet may also ask you to soak your dog’s paw in a medicated bath. After tests like skin scrapings, your vet will know just how to treat your dog’s paw atopic dermatitis.
Depending on the cause of your dog’s pododermatitis and what the skin biopsy reveals, he may also need oral medications . Antibiotics, antifungal medications, and steroids may be prescribed. If your dog’s paw condition is chronic, consistent vet appointments will be important.
Protect Your Dog’s Paws
It is important to keep your dog’s paws protected at all times. Unfortunately, dogs can sometimes get loose and walk into areas that could harm their paws.
It’s not always easy to keep your furry friend safe, but fencing can be helpful. An invisible dog fence will keep your dog contained and keep him out of trouble when he is outdoors.
FAQ About Pododermatitis and Dog Paw Infections
When you notice your dog’s paws are swollen, irritated, and infected, you may start to worry. Thankfully, most paw conditions can be taken care of at home. If you notice the signs of severe infection, see your vet right away for treatment.
The following are some of the top questions dog owners have about paw infections and pododermatitis. The answers to these questions should help you better understand how to treat your dog’s paw condition.
1. How do you treat pododermatitis in a dog’s paws?
Treatment for pododermatitis will depend on the underlying cause. You can try to clean the paws and use coconut oil or antibiotic ointment. If your dog’s paws do not heal quickly, it is important to take him to the vet. Sometimes, dogs need ongoing treatment to help them overcome this paw condition so they can walk comfortably.
2. Does pododermatitis go away on its own?
This condition is sometimes peculiar. Vets often see pododermatitis resolve on its own. Unfortunately, the condition often returns, especially if the cause is allergies or an underlying immune system condition. Because severe cases of pododermatitis can cause a dog to become lame, it is important to seek treatment.
3. Is pododermatitis painful for dogs?
In its mildest stages, pododermatitis may not seem to bother your dog. Unfortunately, the inflammation can become severe. Your dog’s paws may even develop open sores. Pododermatitis can cause moderate to severe pain and could affect your dog’s ability to walk comfortably. This is not a condition that should be ignored.
4. Is pododermatitis curable?
In most cases, pododermatitis is a completely curable condition. As stated before, if your dog’s paw condition is caused by allergies or autoimmune skin diseases, there is no cure, though the condition can be managed with medication. With chronic pododermatitis, it is important your dog sees the vet regularly.
Take Care Of Your Dog’s Paws
As a dog owner, you do everything possible to keep your best friend healthy, safe, and happy. A big part of his care involves checking your dog’s paws regularly. If you notice any signs of injury, take appropriate action immediately.
Even minor injuries can become infected if they are not treated correctly. Even with great care provided by you, infections can sometimes happen. If you see any signs of infection, make sure to clean the wound and treat it with antibiotic ointment.
The infection should begin to clear within a couple of days. If your dog’s paw does not get well or seems to worsen, go to the vet right away.
While it can be stressful knowing your dog’s paw is hurting, try your best to avoid panicking. With the care steps above or from your vet, your dog’s paw will soon be like new again.