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Paw Pad Burns in Dogs

Paw pad burns in dogs are painful.

Did you know that your dog's paw pads can be burned by walking or running on hot pavement? Many people think that a dog's paw pads are impervious to being injured or burned, but that is not the case.

Paw Pads Can Be Burned

Paw pads are special areas of a dog's body. Inside, they're made of fat and connective tissue and outside, they're made of specialized tough, thick skin. Paw pads act as shock absorbers, protecting the joints from excessive pressure when a dog's running.

Still, while they are stronger than regular skin, paw pads can be lacerated, worn down, and burned.

Paw pad burns can also be the result of a dog's paws coming into contact with a chemical.

How Can You Tell If Your Dog's Paw Pads Are Burned?

Flip your dog's paws over and examine the pads routinely, so you know what they normally look like. Burned paw pads may develop blisters, or fluid-filled sacs. The blisters can burst, resulting in open, oozing sores.

The blisters usually happen a few days after the burn occurs. Until then, you may not notice anything abnormal with the way the pads look, or you may be able to see blanched or raw-looking areas on them.

In severe burns, part or all of the paw pad may actually separate from the rest of the dog's skin, falling off of the foot.

Sometimes, the only sign of paw pad injury or burn is limping. Paw pad injuries and burns are painful, so your dog is likely to attempt to avoid walking on them, resulting in a limp and decreased moving around. Your dog may also lick incessantly at the affected pad(s).

Even if they are not burned, a dog's paw pads can be worn down, injured, and lacerated by running or walking on hard surfaces to which they are not accustomed. Don't allow your dog to run long distances on concrete or other hard surfaces without working up to it slowly first.

How Are Canine Paw Pad Burns Treated?

Paw pad burns are treated by cleaning them carefully, applying topical medications, and using oral antibiotics and pain medications. The bandages must be changed often.

The dog should be kept from using the paw pads on hard surfaces until they are fully healed.

How to Avoid Paw Pad Burns in Dogs

Avoid walking or running your dog on hot pavement. You may wish to use doggie booties if this is unavoidable.

You can learn more about other paw pad problems here: "Paw Pad Protection for Dogs."

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