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Mia Carter
Mia Carter, Animal Expert
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 822
Experience:  Specializing in the training and care of ill pets and special needs animals! Mom of 22 pets!
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My dog got blisters on her paws hiking. What can I do ...

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My dog got blisters on her paws hiking. What can I do to treat the wounds and prevent her from aggravating the sores?
Hello there!

Pad injuries can be very tricky to heal, but it can be done - it will just take a bit of creativity in terms of keeping her feet clean until the sores can heal.

Paw pad injurys can be difficult to heal, because the injured area is constantly exposed to bacteria, rubbing, pressure. Depending on the severity, you may want to have her foot examined by a vet. If the abrasion appears to be superficial, you can certainly try to heal it on your own by following these tips.

Begin with a trip to the drug store.
-You'll want a bottle of betadine/iodine (found in the first aid section, near the hydrogen peroxide & rubbing alcohol).
- Buy some epsom salts (also found in first aid area)
- Buy some rolled gauze
- And antibiotic ointment
- You'll also want some self-sticking bandages, which will be found with the ace bandages and joint braces. These bandages, which stick to themselves, can also be found at most pet supply stores, like Petco or PetSmart.
- You may also need a lampshade collar, also called an Elizabethan or "e-collar." They're available at pet stores like Petco.

Now, you'll begin by cleaning out your dog's injury. You'll mix two teaspoons of betadine per one cup of water. Add some epsom salts as well and make up a sort of foot bath in a tupperware container or similar. You'll want to get your dog to soak her foot in this for about fifteen minutes, as it will soften the skin and flush debris. Don't let your dog apply weight to the foot while she soaks - you want water to be able to flow into the wound freely.

Next, dump the foot bath and dry her foot. Examine to ensure that there's no debris wedged in the injured area. If there is, you can use tweezers to remove the debris.

Once the area is free from debris and clean, you can apply a bit of antibiotic ointment to the affected area. This is really only necessary for the first couple of days.

Next, you'll want to bandage the foot using rolled gauze. You really only need a couple of layers over the affected area. Wrap in a figure eight pattern, with the loops of the 8 around the foot and ankle. Wrap firmly, but not tight. Tape the end of the gauze to secure it.

Then, you'll apply some of the self-sticking bandage in a figure eight pattern over the gauze. Again, only a couple of layers are necessary. A huge, bulky bandage will just be cumbersome and she'll want to mess with it. Wrap firmly, but not tight.

After the foot is wrapped for a few minutes, check her toes to ensure that they don't feel cold. Cool toes will indicate that the circulation is impeded and the bandage is too tight! Re-check every so often for a couple hours after wrapping her foot. To determine the correct wrapping firmness, you can test by wrapping your own hand and wrist. You'll be able to feel what's just right versus too tight.

Some dogs will not mess with a bandage. Others will and I think your dog falls into this genre. If your dog tries to bite at the bandage, you can mist the outer wrapping (the self-stick bandage) with bitter apple spray BEFORE you wrap it on her foot. This will discourage biting at the bandage. If she still insists on biting at the foot, you can use a lampshade collar, also known as an Elizabethan collar or "e-collar." It will affix to her collar and prevent her from munching on the bandages.

You should change her bandage twice a day. It's really only necessary to bandage for a few days.

If the injured area appears to swell, increases in redness and discharge, or if it appears to become more painful, you may have an infection that will require a vet's attention. Also, if her paw doesn't seem to be healing, it's really best to take your friend to the vet so her foot can be properly examined. She may need antibiotics from the vet.

Best of luck! Let me know if you have any additional questions!

For information on basic pet first aid, or to learn what to include in your own pet first aid kit, visit:

-Mia Carter
Pet Expert

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