How to Soak a Dog's Paw

Updated February 21, 2017

First aid for minor paw wounds in dogs sometimes involves soaking the foot. Your veterinarian may prescribe a medicated soaking solution, but if the wound doesn't require veterinary treatment, you have the option of soaking it in a homemade solution. Dry paw pads do not require this treatment; use it only for scrapes and minor cuts or sores. If your dog is in severe pain, has a deep gash or symptoms of an infection, take it to the veterinarian immediately for treatment.

Rinse the paw with running water or saline solution to irrigate the wounds and inspect the area for debris such as splinters. Remove small pieces of debris with a pair of tweezers.

Mix two cups of warm water with 1 tsp of Epsom salt or a drop of mild liquid soap.

Set the dog's foot in the solution for approximately five minutes.

Dry the paw with a soft towel, including the spaces between its toes.

Press a folded paper towel firmly on the area for about five minutes if you see any bleeding, and then remove your hands. Betsy Brevitz, D.V.M., recommends that you let the paper towel fall away on its own.

Repeat the soaking twice daily or as directed by your veterinarian until the paw heals.


Wash your hands thoroughly before handling a wounded paw to help prevent infection. Trim the fur with a pair of clippers if you have difficulty examining the skin. See the veterinarian for embedded pieces of debris or if a splinter breaks off. If you have trouble holding the paw in an open dish, pour the solution in a plastic baggie and secure it around the foot with medical tape. Cover the paw in a plastic baggie before taking the dog outdoors, and take it off when the dog comes indoors. Use an Elizabethan collar, if necessary, to discourage paw licking.


Do not use peroxide or rubbing alcohol on the wound.

Things You'll Need

  • Water or saline solution
  • Tweezers
  • Bowl
  • Epsom salt or mild liquid soap
  • Soft towel
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