It's likely your pooch's paws will get cut or burned at some point during his long life. When this happens, he'll need a 10-minute, doggie paw sitz bath to help with the cleaning and healing process. A sitz bath is used on humans and dogs when only a certain area needs attention, such as the paws or buttocks. Filling the tub with a few inches of water allows blood flow to that area and enables Rover to stay warm and comfortable.
What Is a Sitz Bath?
The name sitz bath is derived from the German word "Sitzbad," which means the act of sitting and taking a bath. It is used when a localized area needs cleaning. There are all kinds of sitz baths, but the most common among dogs is an Epsom salt sitz bath. The dog will either stand or sit -- or a combination of both -- for five to 10 minutes.
Why It Benefits Paws
Epsom salt is made up of magnesium and sulfate, which help soften a dog's pads, keep itching at bay and ward off infection. Repeatedly swish your pup's paw through the water to dislodge the item. You may not know when it comes out, especially if it's a sliver of glass or something clear. This is why it's best to keep the paws under water for 10 minutes.
Making the Sitz Bath
Fill the bath tub up with about 2 inches of warm water. Dissolve about 2 cups of Epsom salt into the water using a sterile spoon. Place your pup or instruct your dog to enter the bath by luring him with a small, tasty treat that he can eat in one bite. Have your dog stand in the sitz bath two to four times daily for one week, or until the wound is healed. Wipe his paws with a clean paper towel.
Tips and Tricks
Your pooch may or may not feel pain from whatever is causing his injured paw. Depending on his mood, you may need to use distraction methods to get him to stand or sit in the sitz bath. Have plenty of small treats on hand and use your comforting, reassuring voice during the process. Help him stay steady if he can't put pressure on his paw. If he likes games, such as hide-and-seek, engage him by placing a small towel over his head for a few seconds. When he wriggles it off, catch it and smile.
Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.