First aid for paw cuts: How to rinse, bandage and stop bleeding
Paw cuts are one of the most common injuries veterinarian Trude Mostue get questions about. She shares her tips on how to treat a paw wound in the newest episode of the podcast “Unleashed".
Trude is the head of 15 veterinarians at the online service FirstVet.
She recommends you always to carry a little first-aid kit wherever you are. This kit could include some bandaging, antibacterial wash (like chlorhexidine), scissors, and cotton.
– I think the most important thing to do if you have a clean cut in the paw, and particularly under the paws, is to flush the wound, maybe just with some sterile saline water to make sure there’s no glass or dirt in the injury.
If the injury occurs during training or hiking and you do not have an antibacterial wash, you could use water to rinse.
– The most important thing is to flush it.
How to bandage a dog’s paw?
Once you’ve rinsed and cleaned the wound, Trude recommends you to dry it.
– Then you bandage with cotton between the toes. People very often say they know how to bandage their hand, but the difference between a human hand and a dog paw is that dogs sweat a lot through their paws. Therefore you have to make sure you put a lot of cotton in between the toes, for instance, before you put on the bandage.
If you don’t have any bandaging material with you, you could also use one of your socks for this purpose.
How to stop bleeding
What very often happens if you get cuts in the paws is you get a lot of bleeding.
– Some people panic when they see all this blood, but always remember that very little blood looks very dramatic. But it’s important to know how to stop the bleeding as well because they can bleed an awful lot.
Regardless of how much or how little your dog might bleed, you should try to put a pressure bandage on. A healthy dog that doesn’t have any blood diseases that stops the blood from clotting should stop bleeding very quickly, within minutes.
– Putting a pressure bandage on is quite a simple thing to do, even if you don’t have bandaging material. You can be creative. You put something firm on the top of the wound and put pressure on it, and then you just put a long strip of something – like your sock. Tie it hard, and the bleeding should stop after a little while.
Deep wounds might need stitching. A vet will decide if that is necessary.
Other paw care tips
The dogs’ paws are exposed to massive strain from sharp edges, ice, snow, road salt, gravel and hot asphalt. For the paws to adapt to the environment they are going to be in, and they should receive care throughout the year. Then the dog will not be uncomfortable, and the paws will stay soft and robust.
Regular use of Paw Care will prevent dry and cracked paws. Dead skin often causes cracking. Sand away hard skin regularly to keep the paws soft and good. A nail file can be used. Paw Care has a healing effect, but should not be used in open wounds.
White Fish Omega-3 can help strengthen the paws from the inside.
If your dog tends to get sore paws, you can use socks preventively.
For further details and more first aid tips, check out the podcast episode!