Dog injuries are not always obvious. Fur can hide lacerations and even caked-on blood. According to "The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook," the main cause of paw licking is allergies, which makes it more difficult to assess whether a dog is hurt or is dealing with a case of allergies. A nail injury can also cause dogs more pain than a human would endure in the same situation due to the close proximity of nerves to the nail and frequent use of all paws.
According to DogPro.com, owners should look out for licking and chewing at the paw, swelling, whining or limping as signs of an injured foot. Increased itching of a certain foot is another sign of possible injury. Any obvious sign of a displaced bone or toe needs immediate veterinary attention.
Road surfaces, ice salt and gravel can all irritate and possibly lacerate the pads of a dog's paw. Pavement, or asphalt, can grow hot enough to burn the pads of a dog's feet, and in a worst case scenario, cause blisters to form. According to Mike Richards DVM, there are boots made for working dogs to protect or prevent sore pads. Antiobiotic ointment and moisturizing lotion can help dogs with irritated or cracking pads. Paw wax can help a dog during the healing process; dogs heal slowly since they use their paws so frequently.
Patricia Gail Burnham, of Dog Channel.com, explains that clipping a dog's nails frequently will help prevent broken toes. In the event of a broken nail or toe, contact a vet. For nails that have been cut to the quick, Mike Richards recommends placing the injured nail into a bowl of flour to help stop the bleeding. If the bleeding doesn't stop after 15 minutes, a trip to the vet is necessary.
- paw image by pusti from Fotolia.com