Treating Splinters in Dogs and Cats

Dogs and cats enjoy time outdoors even as the weather gets colder. And as we spend more time indoors, entertaining and providing different environments for our pets to move around in, it is good to make sure they are not susceptible to splinters caused by broken glass, unsealed wood, holiday foods and other things outside while they are exploring. If you notice your dog or cat limping or excessively licking the pads of their feet, they may be experiencing an uncomfortable splinter.

Small splinters can be easily and carefully removed in your home so I have provided some healthy tips below that will help you care for your pet if he/she experiences the discomfort of a splinter.

What To Look For

  • Limping
  • Excessively licking the paws/pads
  • Swelling around the paw or pad of the foot
  • Redness

Healthy Tips

  • Look at your dog or cat’s feet carefully if you notice he/she is limping. Pay careful attention to the areas in between the toes and check for any redness, swelling, cracks or dried blood.
  • You can carefully trim the fur around a found splinter on your dog’s paw. Use clippers or scissors, making sure not to cut too close to the skin.
  • Gently wash the area that has a splinter with a mild soap cleanser or the antiseptic cleanser, Betadine.
  • Clean your tweezers with a small amount of rubbing alcohol before using them to remove the splinter.
  • Remove the splinter slowly. If it is sticking out enough, try wiggling it as you pull it out with the tweezers.
  • If you are having difficulty grabbing the splinter to remove it, try using a hot towel or compress and apply it to the area. The heat will help to bring the splinter out for removal.
  • Allow the blood from the wound as it is the pet body’s way of cleansing the wound and will help prevent infection.
  • For dogs – you can also place his paws into warm water to calm any swelling and soothe the area.
  • Do not use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to cleanse the splintered area. These can actually dry out the area around the wound and delay healing.
  • Use a good non-toxic cleanser or Betadine to clean and disinfect the area. If your dog or cat spends a lot of time outdoors, you will need to clean the area more frequently during the day.
  • If you notice that the area does not heal and your pet continues to limp or feel agitation, please contact your veterinarian right away.

Holiday Note: 
Please DO NOT give your dog cooked bones from meals prepared as the bones are more prone to cracking and can splinter in your dog’s mouth. Uncooked bones are always an exciting treat for your dog.
You can feed cats raw chicken from the kitchen but do not place a cooked chicken containing bones as they can also splinter, causing harm to your cat.

Pat Mulford •