Pets rely on their paws to stay active and healthy. The paw pads are generally adequate, but accidents such as cuts, burns, scrapes and other abrasions are bound to happen. The risk is even higher for puppies, whose paws are especially tender.
Pet parents can follow these tips to treat paw ailments — and get their pet back on all fours in no time:
Determine the Severity
There are many hazards that can injure a pet’s paw. Rough surfaces such as gravel can slice through the paw padding, while hot concrete can cause burns. Sticks and bushes can cause cuts. In other cases, pets are their own worst enemies. Pets that lick or gnaw on their paws can cause cuts and cracking.
The first treatment step is to determine the severity of the injury. Go to the veterinarian for deep cuts or more serious injuries. If the wound is superficial, try these simple treatments:
Home Remedies 101
Step 1: Clean the wound. Rinse the wound with cool water or a diluted saline solution. An Epsom salt soak is another option to soothe an animal’s pain. Be careful not to rub the wound. For pets suffering from paw burns, apply an ice pack to the burn, or run the affected paw under cool water.
Step 2: Once the paw is dry, apply an antibacterial ointment.
Step 3: Bandage the paw with gauze or a pet bandage wrap. For added protection, cover the bandage with a loose sock or a pet bootie, though be sure not to secure the cover too tightly as it could restrict blood circulation.
Clean the bandages daily, and monitor the wound closely. If it isn’t healing properly, or if the wound becomes infected, the next stop should be a vet for an expert opinion.