by Sam Mazzotta
Dear Paws4Pets: My dog “Bart” came inside from being in the backyard today and was limping a bit. I checked his paw, and it looks like he has a small cut on one of the pads. I’m not sure from where, but there is still a bit of ice and snow around the edges of the yard. I disinfected the cut, but I’m not sure what to do next – a Band-Aid, perhaps? – Worried in Burlington, VT
Dear Worried: A light gauze bandage, wrapped around the paw and taped in place, will protect Bart’s paw while the cut heals. Don’t wrap or tape so tightly that the circulation to the paw is affected — you just want to cover the cut.
Check the bandage daily and replace when it becomes damp or dirty (which, if Bart likes going outside, may be daily). If your dog licks or tries to chew away the bandage, pick up a cone-style or Elizabethan-style protective collar at the pet store, or from Bart’s veterinarian.
If Bart’s limp does not improve within about three days or the cut does not appear to be healing, take him to the vet to have the injury evaluated. Likewise if his paw becomes swollen.
Meantime, head outside and try to get rid of sharp-looking ice patches, if possible. Remove any debris from Bart’s run area and pick up any dog feces to reduce the chance of infection in his injured paw (or if he injures his footpads again for whatever reason).