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Torn Pads In Dogs

Torn Pads In Dogs

What Is Torn Pads In Dogs?

A paw pad injury is a common happening in dogs that can occur in various forms such as tears, burns, abrasions, blisters, lacerations, and punctures. Paw pad tears can occur from stepping on foreign objects like broken glass, sharp metals or stones, etc.

The four toe pads, a larger pad in the center of their paws, and carpal pads on both front legs are an integral part of your dog’s foot structure. Paw pads provide traction, balance, and stability, and help in shock absorption, and braking at high speeds as well. Paw pads consist of a pigmented (pink or black) thick fatty tissue layer. Since fat is insulating, insulation from the cold, allows the pups to walk on colder surfaces. The pads provide protection from ground surfaces and take on the wear and tear from walking and running.

The sensitive paw pads help the dog know what type of ground surfaces is present. Dogs spend most of their time outdoors such as Outdoor/ hunting dogs will have rougher paw pads. Farm Dogs find all sorts of ways to get injured than household dogs, although tears can happen to both working dogs and house pets.

The carpal pads are located in the areas of wrists and some dogs have them on their hind legs too. As carpal pads do not make contact with the ground at all times, torn carpal pads are rare and may occur in highly active dogs.

Symptoms Of Torn Pads In Dogs

  • Raw, sore, inflamed, or blistered paws
  • Lacerations or punctures
  • Loose flaps of skin on the paw pad
  • Damage to the webbing between toes
  • Limping
  • Limping that lasts longer than a day
  • Discolored foot pad
  • Refusal to walk
  • Pus discharge
  • Sudden obsessive licking or chewing at paws

Treatment Options For Torn Pads In Dogs

Medications: Neomycin-bacitracin-polymixin (Neosporin), silver sulfadiazine cream, or Acemannan-containing hydrogel.

NSAIDs like

  • Carprofen (Aventicarp, Carprieve, Rimadyl, Canidryl, Zinecarp, Rimifin, Carpox, Vetprofen)
  • Meloxicam (Muvera, Metacam,Mobic)
  • Firocoxib (Equioxx, Previcox)
  • Deracoxib (Deramaxx, Novartis)
  • Etodolac (Lodine, EtoGesic)

Other pain medications: Gabapentin, Amantadine, Tramadol etc

Home Remedies For Torn Pads In Dogs

When you see torn pads, clean the cut and wash it with lukewarm water.

Carefully remove any foreign objects, thorns, or debris using tweezers. This can be done for objects stuck deep in the pad.

When the debris or thorns appears stuck or cannot be removed with tweezers, do not apply force and seek veterinary care.

When there is bleeding in the wounds, apply pressure and control any bleeding with a clean washcloth. If the bleeding continues for more than 10 minutes, then you have an emergency situation before you and you need to take the dog to a clinic immediately.

Remove the ingrown nails from the area they have breached, which is most common in the side of the paws or the paw pad itself.

How To Prevent Torn Pads In Dogs?

  • Always be aware of the surroundings, and take care to remove any glass pieces, thorns, or other sharp objects in the backyard.
  • Trim off excess fur between the dog’s toes.
  • Keep your dogs away from the hot pavement in the summer.
  • Provide dog booties to protect your dog’s feet from extreme temperatures during the winter.
  • A first aid kit for pets is crucial, particularly if you and your dog do a lot of outdoor and hiking activities.
  • Torn pads can be very painful and your dog may vocalize and even try to stop you from nursing the wound, so keep a good muzzle readily available.

Affected Dog Breeds Of Torn Pads

Outdoor breeds, Sighthounds, farm dogs, etc. There is no breed disposition.

Causes And Types For Torn Pads In Dogs

1. Causes:

  • Cuts, tears, burns, abrasions, and blisters can occur at any time, even indoors
  • Foreign objects such as broken glass, jagged pieces of wood or metal, and other sharp objects cause cuts and tears

2. Types:

  • Laceration - A cut or tear caused by blunt trauma
  • Punctures of the paw pad are caused by a sharp and pointed object such as a nail, or knife. They may harbor foreign objects as sometimes they are deeper than they appear
  • Abrasion – Superficial injuries in paw pads when it is scraped or worn away or rubbed off; paw pads when running and playing on rough surfaces
  • Burns - Heat or chemical reactions
  • Frostbite - The toe pads freeze due to exposure to cold weather or water

3. Mortality:

There is no documented mortality due to this condition.

4. Diagnosis:

  • Complete blood count test (CBC)
  • Complete physical exam
  • Radiographs to look at the bones and joints
  • Orthopedic exam to check for joint pain or problems

5. Prognosis:

The prognosis for Torn pads is really good after treatment. When the original irritant is appropriately addressed, the pet should completely recover from the wounds. However, relapse will be a problem following medical treatment in affected dogs. Proper behavioral training will be sufficient for the dogs from preventing them from getting injured.

When To See A Vet For Torn Pads In Dogs?

  • Raw, sore, inflamed, or blistered paws
  • Lacerations or punctures
  • Loose flaps of skin on the paw pad
  • Damage to the webbing between toes

Food Suggestions For Torn Pads In Dogs

  • Lean meats – Including lean cuts of Ground meat (chicken, beef, bison, turkey)
  • High protein, Low-fat foods- pork loin, turkey, fresh fish, salmon, canned tuna Skinless, shrimp, Beans, Lentils, split Peas, etc
  • Omega3 fatty acids- Mackerel, tuna, sardines, Salmon, Herring, flaxseed, chia seeds, etc
  • Leafy green vegetables such as Spinach, Green Beans. Broccoli, cauliflower, etc


Check your dog’s paw pads frequently. Gently inspect the toes and look over the sides of the paw pads and between their toes for any wounds or foreign objects (like foxtails or burrs or thorns). Don’t miss out on any discoloration or swellings. When examining their foot, if your dog shows any signs of pain or tenderness, it’s time for closer inspection.

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