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You are here:   Articles this Issue | Field Guide to Dog First Aid - Foot & Pad Injuries / Hypothermia & Frostbite
Dog First Aid

Field Guide to Dog First Aid - Foot & Pad Injuries / Hypothermia & Frostbite

by Randy Acker, DVM

Are you well equipped and prepared to deal with any type of dog injury nature can sometimes throw your dog’s way? Foot & Pad injuries are very common among hunting breeds that tear through neverending briar patches and rocky terrain. Foot & Pad injuries can also ruin a hunting trip. It is important to learn basic foot bandaging procedures.

Cut Pads

  • Deep cut visible in pad
  • Profuse bleeding

  • Sharp rock, ice, metal or glass

Field Treatment
  • Remove any foreign bodies (dirt, rock, glass etc)
  • Rinse with antiseptic cleanser (Betadine, Nolvasn)
  • Apply antibiotic ointment
  • Bandage (see Diagram)

NOTE: Although pad cuts may bleed profusely, they are generally not extreme emergencies, and suturing is often optional. With proper bandaging and care, most pad cuts heal within 2 weeks.

NOTE: Entire foot must be wrapped in order to keep the bandage in place. In case of heavy bleeding, wrap pad with tight bandage for 2 hours, then rewrap with a looser bandage. Consider using dog boots over the bandage.

Dog Boots: Dog boots are useful in areas with sharp rocks, cactus, ground thorns or sandburs. You should probably have boots with you to place over foot bandages, since it is difficult to keep such bandages on for the duration. If your dogs gets accustomed to the boots at home, the dog will be used to wearing them if injured or if you plan to venture into rough terrain or cactus country.

Hypothermia & Frostbite

A relatively rare condition in dogs, hypothermia can occasionally occur as a result of prolonged exposure to cold temperatures or prolonged immersion in cold water.

  • Sluggish, altered behavior
  • General weakness
  • Low body temperature (95 degrees or less)

Field Treatment
  • Wrap dog in blanket
  • Warm with hot water bottles, car heater, or your own body

  • Frostbite most commonly occurs on the tip of the nose, ears, and tail.

    Field Treatment
    • Warm affected area rapidly with moist heat applications.

    TIP: Apply coffee from a thermos, then pat dry.

    Excerpt from Field Guide To Dog First Aid courteous of Wilderness Adventure Inc. Click here to buy the Field Guide To Dog First Aid.


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