Finzi’s cut pad: one of the most common dog walking injuries

I was out walking my dog Finzi this morning, and it was the usual mad chase through fields and ditches. She loves jumping into pools of water, and that’s probably where something went wrong.

She was walking normally but when I got back to the car, I noticed that she was leaving smudges of blood on the ground behind her. When I checked her feet, she had an obvious cut on the front of her back right foot – 1cm wide, around 5mm deep. She must have stood on a hidden piece of broken glass in the water somewhere. I thought I’d use this opportunity to show folk what to do if this happens at home.

It's important to clean a cut properly

First, clean the cut: I used salty water then Aloe Vera Veterinary Spray

It’s important to clean a cut to avoid infection and to promote healing. I used salty water (a teaspoonful of salt in a pint of warm water – see the tub on the bottom right of the picture) and then I sprayed it with Forever Living Aloe Vera Veterinary Spray.

Cut pad bandaging

A cut pad needs to be bandaged to protect the wound

I then applied a sterile non-adhesive dressing known as Melolin  followed by a simple conforming bandage (I used Mollelast) to hold it in place. The big challenge with dogs is that they tend to remove dressings, and so they have to be attached as securely as possible. I used Tensoplast, which is an adhesive elastic bandage, to create “stirrups” that attach to her fur, then protrude out of the end of the dressing, then fold back onto the top of the dressing. It’s hard to describe in words, but basically it stops the dressing from slipping off easily.

cut pad dressing

The elastic adhesive bandage is then applied over the whole dressing

I then used Tensoplast to wrap around the whole dressing. I have to add here that veterinary nurses do a far better job at bandaging than myself: I tend to be too impatient and in a hurry. So any vet nurses reading this: yes, I do know this is not perfect :-)

cut pad dressing

The elastic adhesive bandage is cut off carefully

Once it’s done, the Tensoplast is cut off leaving the right length so that it can be finished off at the back of Finzi’s leg. When dogs start to chew dressings, if they can get their teeth onto that end piece, then can pull and pull, unravelling it. So if the end piece can be kept out of reach (i.e. at the back of the leg), they’re less likely to be able to get started and the dressing is more likely to stay on.

cut pad dressing

The dressing is complete but how long will it stay on?

So the job is now done: it looks comfortable and secure. We need to keep it dry now, and will probably change it every 3 – 4 days if it stays on. The cut pad will probably take about 10 days to heal fully.

cut pad dressing

Finzi enjoying a drink of water after her minor ordeal

So far, Finzi has left her dressing alone. How long will that continue to be the case? If she does start to chew it, she may need an Elizabethan collar. Only time will tell.

This type of simple wound cleaning and dressing application is the type of home first aid that anyone should be able to do. The most difficult aspect is simply keeping the patient still, so it’s definitely a two-person job.


  • Tina Holmes says:

    Poor Finzi.. at least she was with the right person to fix a cut paw.. hope she get better really quick..

  • Hazel says:

    Hi Pete, hope Finzi leaves dressings alone, here’s a question, where can an owner get bandaging when needed?

  • V.A. Ireland says:

    Saffy has a torn nail bed but has had correct veterinary care. Can anyone suggest good ways of keeping the foot clean and dry? So far tried child’s sock, kept in place (for a while) with vetwrap, covered by plastic bag – not very good. Ideas/help very welcome – thank you!

  • Jacqueline Wells says:

    I read coconut oil rubded on pads keeps them supple

  • Tim says:

    my dog(108 lb newfoundland ) just cut the pad on his rear foot. I cleaned the wound and then put some topical antibacteria medicine (previously obtained from vet) with a a cotton gauze on the wound and then wrapped his paw with the self stick wrap to hold it in place.
    Then placed an old, clean sock over the paw and up his hind leg, above the joint. Used the self stick wrap to hold the sock onto his leg. I was able to get a finger between his leg and the wrap so it wouldn’t be too tight. Overall, he was very good with this. Then for his walks, I took an empty treat bag..the plastic is quite thick. I placed a plastic newspaper/shopping bag into this bag (so in effect..a bag within a bag) & duct taped them together to hold them in place (Innerbag is longer & wraps down over the side of the outer bag) .
    Then I placed this double bag over his sock/leg and duct taped the bag to his sock. This enabled me to take him for his walk. The bag within is key. The outerbag will develop a hole from a pebble etc…but won’t tear. The inner bag keeps the sock dry in case he’s on damp surface or steps in a puddle (I figured this out AFTER the first walk drenched his sock). He’s not thrilled with the bag but it enables him to continue on his walk and do his business. At home, I take the bag off and use any duct tape to repair some holes but then good to use again. I’ve already replaced the inner bag but no big deal. Will be happy when the pad heals.

  • Mike says:

    I put a sock over the dressing and taped the top. Seems the keep the stuff below the sock on for a little longer.

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