Dogs can develop sores on their paws and between their toes. When sores occur, they can be very painful and when untreated can cause infection. Although an injured foot isn't completely preventable, there are measures you can take to limit the dog's risk.
Broken glass or fragments, rough terrain, hot pavement and salt to melt ice on the roadway all can cause sores to develop on the dog's feet. Coming in contact with a sharp rock or broken concrete in the sidewalk can also lead to cuts on the dog's pads. In addition, a dog can tear or break his nail, causing severe pain in his foot.
A dog with an injured paw, pad or toe may limp or favour one leg. He may lick the injured foot continuously. A sore spot may become red, swollen and bloody. You may also notice a tear on his pad and when the tear is deep; it may ooze pus as a sign of infection.
Properly clean and dress open wounds to prevent dirt and debris from entering the infected area and prolonging recovery. It may be necessary to put bootees on the dog's feet to promote healing while maintaining the dog's normal active lifestyle. Paw wax, available in most pet stores, helps to heal dry, cracked paws. Seek veterinary care when the sore doesn't improve and your dog continues to display signs of discomfort.
Inspect the condition of your dog's paws, pads and toes regularly. Wash and dry his paws after he comes in from his walk or playtime outside. Refrain from walking on gravel, rocks or other rough terrain when an alternative like grass, concrete or sand is available. Allow the dog to test the surface he's walking on when it's unfamiliar to him and gradually ease him into his run or walk rather than immediately beginning at a swift pace. Keep his nails trimmed and cleaned to prevent them from tearing on a rock or other fragment.
Since dogs are frequently on their feet, sores can take a long time to heal. You'll likely need to regularly change the dressing on the paw, especially when it becomes wet or dirty, to ensure the wound stays clean.