Accidentally Stepped On Your Dog’s Paw? (Here’s What You Need To Do)

accidentally stepped on dog's paw at the beach

Some of my friends say that my dog has a leg fetish. Not a feet fetish but a leg fetish. Whenever he meets someone new, he loves to wrap himself around their legs like a cat. I’m guessing my cat’s behavior did rub off on him somewhat.

As adorable as it might seem, it has led to a number of unfortunate incidents of accidental ‘paw-stepping’. As careful as we tried to be, its hard to avoid not stepping on his paw when he tries to get in the way of our feet.

What should you do if you accidentally stepped on your dog’s paw? If you have accidentally stepped on your dog’s paw, the first thing that you need to do is closely examine your dog’s paw for any external injuries. Most dogs might feel sore for a while but will be ok in a few hours. Otherwise, you will need to take your dog to the vet for an x-ray.

Let us take a closer look at what to do if you accidentally step on your poor dog’s paw and what you should do after.

What Do You Do If You Stepped On Your Dog’s Paw?

It’s not the end of the world if you accidentally step on your dog’s paw. Our dogs are hardly creatures and can without some impact. However, I would still strongly suggest that you try and do the following just to be safe.

Check Your Dog’s Paw

checking a dog's paw

The first thing that you need to do after accidentally stepping on the paw is to check it for any signs of injury.

Does the paw still look normal without any signs of bleeding or swelling? Did you crack any of your dog’s claws?

Try gently pressing your dog’s paw to gauge its immediate response. If it screams or yelps out in pain, there might be some internal damage that you can’t see.

Ice The Paw

Cold therapy works well if there is some redness and swelling in your dog’s paw. The coldness will help to relieve some of the soft tissue injuries.

You can use a cold pack or just place some ice in a ziplock bag. Place it on your dog’s paw for about 10 minutes until the paw feels cold to the touch.

Repeat the cold therapy once every 6 hours.

If your dog shows any signs of discomfort or aggression, stop the treatment right away.

You can also rub some Aquaphor on your dog’s paw as a healing ointment but not too much. Chances are your dog will lick the Aquaphor off if it knows it’s there.

Observe Your Dog’s Body Language

No one walks normally after stubbing their toes against a hard object. In fact, the pain that I feel has to be one of the most brain-numbing experiences known to mankind.

Watch your dog for the next 24 hours to see how it walks. The paw might be fine but just a tad sore from being stepped on so don’t expect your dog to put much weight on it.

It might be limping around for a bit but if there aren’t any broken bones or damaged ligaments, your dog will be back to its active self in no time.

The dog might also be less active and sociable for now due to its tender paw. Just let it be for now but keep a close eye on its behavior.

Apologize To Your Dog

lady apologizing to her dog

Apologizing to a dog or cat might seem silly to non-pet owners but I do feel that our pets understand the message that we are trying to convey.

Animals don’t understand the words that we speak, but they definitely get the intention and tonality of our voices.

When apologizing to your dog, do it in a soft but cheerful voice. Make normal loving sounds while you give your dog attention and affection and tell it that it was an accident and you don’t mean it.

Our pets can pick up on our energy levels and your soothing voice will help calm your dog down and let it know that all will be ok.

Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

It is hard to not feel like the most horrible person alive when you accidentally step on your dog’s paw. It has happened to both my dog and cat and I felt awful each time.

And the louder they meow or yelp in pain, the more pieces my heart breaks into.

That being said, accidents happen. There’s no way you would have stepped on your dog’s paw if it could have been avoided. Sometimes, our pets just like getting in the way of things.

My dog loves hanging around my legs and my cat has the amazing ability to show up behind me without me knowing at all.

Can You Break A Dog’s Paw By Stepping On It?

Yes, it is very possible to break your dog’s paw by just stepping on it. The risk of a fracture is a lot higher if it’s a puppy’s paw or when the impact is great.

The bones in a puppy’s foot are still very soft hence a great enough force from your feet or shoe can cause severe internal injury.

The same injuries can happen to small dog breeds like the Maltese, Chihuahuas, Pekingese, etc who are a lot more fragile than say a Great Dane or a Labrador.

Even if your dog’s paw isn’t broken, the force can cause your dog’s nail to bend sideways which can be painful for your dog depending on where the bent occurs.

How Can You Tell If A Dog’s Paw Is Broken?

It can be difficult to tell if your dog’s paw is broken as the symptoms as similar to that of a sore paw.

The most obvious sign would be seeing your dog’s bone protruding from its skin. Otherwise, the common symptoms of a broken paw are:

  • Limping
  • Yelping in pain
  • Bad swelling
  • Holding its paw up in the air
  • Doesn’t want you touching its paw

Don’t attempt to fix or realign the paw with force. That will cause your dog a lot of pain and make matters a lot worse.

A dog in pain is one that can turn aggressive as well so don’t do anything like that.

When To See A Vet For Your Dog’s Paw?

bring dog to vet for limping

I have stepped on my pet’s paws many times and they usually end up being fine. My dog is more of a drama queen when ‘injured’ but recovers miraculously after some treats.

But if you notice that your dog’s paw doesn’t look right or if you have a young puppy, I would suggest that you take your dog to the vet for a check up.

A limp that doesn’t go away after 12 hours or seems to be getting worse requires medical attention as well.

If you know that you have accidentally stepped on your dog’s paw with a lot of force while wearing a pair of boots, you should consult a vet as well.

Shoes with hard soles can do a lot of damage to a soft paw regardless or how old or young your dog is.

The best way to check if your dog has a broken paw is with an x-ray. In the event that your dog’s paw is broken, it will need to be in a cast or splint to allow the bones to heal properly. Otherwise, it can cause future mobility issues for your dog.

The vet will also prescribe some painkillers to help your dog manage the pain.

Don’t be surprised if your dog is still limping after the splint or cast is removed. It can take quite a while for your dog to regain full muscular control of its leg.

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