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Dogs’ paws are designed to withstand a lot of wear and tear, but they are not impenetrable. Rough terrain, rocks or sandy soil can cause paw pad injuries that should be cared for immediately. Once the surface of the paw pad is opened, the protective barrier is broken and infection could occur.

Injuries that are not cared for may require therapy that could lead to extended downtime and poor body condition. Additionally, dogs adapt their movements to compensate for pain, which may create secondary musculoskeletal issues that could impede performance.

Abrasions are the most frequent type of paw pad injury. Bruises, cuts and puncture wounds also are possible, and the webbed skin between the pads is vulnerable to puncture wounds.

Take time to check your dog over for paw pad injuries, particularly if you notice a change in his movement or limping. A dog’s paws should be healthy and without injury.