How to Remove a Thorn From a Dog's Paw

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A carefree outdoor frolic may be cut short if man's best friend injures his paw. Thorns are common in wooded areas and can wedge between a dog's pads and the webs of his feet, causing lameness. Though most thorns are simple to remove, they must be taken out immediately to prevent breakage and infection. Responsible dog owners may choose to carry a canine first-aid kit when out for a stroll for easy extraction if a thorn is picked up.

How to Remove a Thorn From a Dog's Paw
(Michael Gann/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Warm, soapy water
  • Povidone-iodine surgical scrub soap
  • Tweezers, hemostat clamps or needle-nose pliers
  • Gauze bandage and white tape (optional)
Step 1

Inspect the dog's foot as soon as he appears lame. The sooner the lame foot is inspected, the easier it will be to find the thorn, according to the Gun Dogs Online website. A delay in attention risks the potential of the thorn breaking in the dog's foot, which may result in an incomplete extraction and infection.

Michael Gann/Demand Media
Step 2

Wash the area around the wound with warm, soapy water if available. The American Kennel Club recommends a diluted surgical scrub solution and advises that all injuries should be considered contaminated. If a soap or surgical scrub such as povidone-iodine is not available, flush the area with clean water.

Michael Gann/Demand Media
Step 3

Remove the thorn from the dog's foot using tweezers, hemostat clamps or needle-nose pliers. The thorn should be firmly grasped around its base and pulled swiftly out at the same angle it entered the foot. If the dog seems to be in extreme pain following the extraction, a veterinarian-approved pain medication can be administered.

Michael Gann/Demand Media
Step 4

Cleanse the point of entry once more, with soapy water or a disinfectant. The website Outside Online recommends applying an antiseptic ointment to the dog's wound and placing it in a protective boot to keep it dry. If you choose to wrap your dog's injured foot, do not to pull the bandages too tightly or you may restrict the dog's circulation. Use white veterinary tape to secure the bandage.

Michael Gann/Demand Media

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