The signs of dogs running through fresh concrete adorn sidewalks everywhere, the footprints a mild but permanent annoyance to those who like their concrete to be pristine. The concrete that sticks to your dog’s paws when he is the culprit is not good news for him either. The stuff can be a serious skin irritant and toxic if swallowed. Don’t just walk away quickly on seeing your dog traipsing through somebody else’s concrete; attend to his paws as soon as possible.
Moisten some paper towels or clean cloths with water and wipe his paws immediately, removing as much of the concrete as possible before it dries.
Ask your dog to sit and place the concrete-covered paws in a bowl of tepid water mixed with a cup of white vinegar. If he has managed to get concrete on all his feet, run a few inches of water into the bathroom tub, add a cup or two of vinegar and get him to stand in that instead. Wait for several minutes. This solution helps neutralize the concrete.
Wash his paws with neutral or slightly acidic soap and a sponge, including between the pads. Concrete is highly alkaline so a slightly acidic soap will further neutralize it and a neutral one won’t make it worse. Try to remove all traces of the concrete. If there are bits clinging stubbornly to the fur on his feet, cut off the fur.
Dry his paws with a towel and get him to sit. If traces of concrete still remain, supervise him until they have dried completely. Do not allow him to lick his paws until the scraps of concrete are 100 percent dry.
Check his paws twice daily for the next few days. Look for blisters or reddening. If you notice signs of irritation like this, take him to your vet. The same goes if you notice him limping or favoring one foot.
If a large amount of concrete remained on your dog’s feet after washing or you think he might have licked some off, take him to your vet even if he seems well. Concrete is both a skin irritant and could be toxic.
Prevention is better than the cure so keep your dog away from freshly poured concrete and on a short leash when walking past construction sites.
Items You Will Need
- Paper towels
- Large bowl
- White vinegar
- Neutral or acidic soap
- Blunt-nosed scissors
- Steve Baccon/Digital Vision/Getty Images