Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sore, torn dog foot pads: How it happens and what you can do about it

pug torn toe

I snapped this photo of Liam about a week ago, when he was resting up after having a whale of a time at the Oregon Humane Society Pug Crawl (photos from that day right here, in case you missed them). At first glance, he just looks relaxed and peaceful. But look a little closer at the top foot pad in this photo.

Do you see it?
torn pug toe

The bottom edge of this foot pad is bleeding. It's a very small injury, granted, but it caused poor Liam huge problems.

On the Monday after the crawl (so about 24 hours after his Portland adventure), Liam started limping. I spent quite a bit of time looking for a thorn in his foot, and I contorted his leg all over the place in the search for sore muscles, but then I spotted this scabby pad.

Turns out, injuries like this aren't at all uncommon in the aftermath of an active day spent on pavement. I'll never be entirely sure what happened to Liam's paw, but it's likely that he either stepped on something sharp, or he stumbled and scraped that foot on something abrasive. He was able to ignore the pain in the heat of the moment, as he was probably much more interested in greeting other pugs and their people, but at home, the pain took over.

Scrapes like this respond well to antibiotic soaks. Four times per day, I made a foot bath of betadine and cool water, and I had Liam stand in that soak for 5-10 minutes. I dried his foot completely, and followed up with a spritz of liquid bandage.

As he was healing, Liam was banned from our daily walks. He wasn't happy about that at all, and three toys and two dog beds lost their lives to his frustration. But, I wanted that skin to heal up, and I thought that walking on yet more hot pavement wouldn't be a great idea. So the poor boy just had to stay home.

Within about a week, he was much better. And I'm thrilled to say that he's back to walking during the day (rather than tearing up his bed).

Prevention is the next step, and for Liam, that might involve booties. If his pads are sensitive, he might end up getting another scrape or scratch when we head to the Willamutt Strut later this summer. And, I'll need to be on alert during any outing to ensure that I'm not leading him onto paths covered with sharp debris. I'll also need to check his feet after every walk, and in the midst of long outings, so I can spot new injuries before they grow and cause him pain.

Do you have any dog foot pad tips you'd like to share with me? If so, I'd love to hear them. Share with me in the comments!


  1. Aww, poor Liam. This happened to one of my dogs after I took her on a long hike. She ran and ran and had a blast, but she was really sore the next day. I checked her feet and they were raw. I had never thought about this being something that could happen before that. I don't have any other tips though, unfortunately. Hope Liam's feetsies heal up nicely and soonly!
    P.S. Thanks for stopping by our blog!!! We love making new furiends.

    1. Thanks for commenting! I really love your blog.

  2. Poor guy! It's no fun to have to stay home from walkies! So hard to heal up a pup's feet. I wonder if some Musher's Secret would help? We used to use it on our three-legged dog, but it was more just to give her better traction on the hardwood floors rather than to protect her paws, but I believe it's original intent was paw protection!

    1. You know, that's a really good idea. I'll look into it!