Why won’t my dog’s cracked paw heal?

Original Question: Hi Dr. Greenway, we have a 4-year-old English Sheepdog and she sliced her pad open 3 weeks ago. We did a wound wash, wrapped it, and she licks it if it's not wrapped. She does not like us looking at it and tries to protect and hide it. She can put weight on it, runs around and is eating well, although she does pull it up a lot. My parents never took her to vet as they say "it will heal" but it has not started to close up. Thanks - Katie

Why won’t my dog’s cracked paw heal? Mar 1, 2018

Hi Katie,

Pad injuries take forever to heal.  They will be really difficult if there is actually a crevice into the pad.  The pad is so sensitive as well that I’m surprised its actually comfortable.  If you left a wound to heal without stitches to close it, then it’s called ‘healing by second intention’.  The body needs to fill the gap with biological ‘glue’ and new tissue.  This takes time and as they walk on it, the wound can stretch and open, effectively erasing some of the progress it has made.  I expect this to take at least a month or two to heal.  If the infection sets in you may have a more serious/expensive problem to deal with as well.  That risk will always exist so I’d recommend you have a vet look at it. In the meantime, keep it protected with a boot, clean it daily, monitor for infection, and possibly apply Polysporin to prevent infection.

Good luck.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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