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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think Smooch may have broke one of her toes on her front foot today. It is swollen and she doesn't want to put any weight on it. Is there anything that can be done to help it heal besides just rest? I don't mind bringing my dogs to the vet but if there is nothing they can do I would hate to waste my money.


2,525 Posts
You know, I ve never really thought about it, but my mom broke her whole foot and 3 toes one time. The doctors gave her one of those shoes with a flat wooden bottom and a set of crutches and sent her home.

I doubt there is much they can do for her except give her pain meds. But Im no vet so Id at least give them a call and ask. Sorry if I wasnt any help.

1,053 Posts
I'd definitely take her into the vet. I read something once about a dog having to lose its leg, due to a toe problem. Not that I'm trying to say the worst, but better to be safe than sorry. Good luck, hope she's better soon, and it's nothing serious!

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15,987 Posts
Well, I know for a person they just splint it and wrap it up and give meds for pain.
When Sasha had her foot operated on, it was the same thing. Check the area of
the break and see if it seems smooth. Unless it is a break where the bone is piercing
the skin, this is all I would do besides keeping him off of it for about a week.
It should heel fairly quickly. Use a popcicle stick for a splint and keep a sock over it
to help keep it free of being licked and duct tape the sock around his leg. More info
here than you need, but good for future use. Hope Roscoe feels better soon.


If it appears that your pet has an extra joint, the limb is likely broken (fractured).
If possible, fractures of the bones below the elbow or the stifle (knee) should be splinted at the accident site. This must be done carefully in order to avoid injury to both the pet and the first aid provider. Fractures are usually painful injuries, so it is best to muzzle (see section on muzzling) or cover the pet with a thick blanket or towel. If there is a wound on the fractured limb, bandage it first using the techniques discussed in the previous section. Do not attempt to replace a bone if it protrudes.


If the foreleg is broken, a newspaper or magazine makes a great splint. Roll the paper or magazine loosely and collapse it, forming a gutter shape. Place the leg in the gutter and tape firmly with any good tape (adhesive, duct, even Scotch). Other materials which may be used for splinting are wood, sticks, tree branches, cardboard, or light strips of metal. Be certain to tape above and below the fracture site. All splints should extend at least one joint above and one joint below the fracture site. A magazine makes a good temporary splint until you can get your cat or dog to a veterinarian.


The bones below the level of the knee (stifle) may be splinted by merely taping the broken leg to the other leg (mountaineering splint). Another splint that can be quickly and easily applied involves using wire hangers. Collapse a few of the hangers together and twist them together to form a malleable metal "bar." Bend the bar into a shape which resembles the normal angulation of the rear leg and tape this to the leg. Sticks of wood, thick layers of cardboard, etc. can also be used. As with splints on forelimbs, splints on rear limbs should extend at least one joint above and one joint below the fracture site.
If the rear limb has been fractured above the stifle (knee), it is not easy to splint effectively. It is best to get these patients immobilized and transported. Coat hangers can make an effective temporary splint on a rear limb. They should be bent into a shape following the normal angulation of the leg and then taped to the limb.


We use bandages for several reasons: to protect wounds from the environment, protect the environment from wounds, and to discourage the pet from licking or irritating a wound. They may be applied as support for strains or sprains and to prevent motion. Proper application is important.

The process of bandaging begins with careful cleaning of the wound. All dried blood, dirt, and debris should be washed away using mild soap and copious amounts of water. Hair should be clipped away so that it cannot lie in the wound, and, if possible, the area should be patted dry. The first step in proper bandaging is making sure the wound is clean.


After cleaning the wound, the contact layer is the first layer applied. Ideally, this layer should be sterile and inert. Stay in close contact with, but not stick to, the wound, be very
absorbent, be free of particles or fibers that might shed into the wound, conform to all shapes, allow drainage to pass to the next layer without becoming wet and minimize pain.
A Telfa-Pad, available at most pharmacies, comes closest to meeting these requirements.
After cleaning the wound, place the contact layer over the wound. It is desirable to apply an antibiotic ointment (such as Neosporin) to the pad, but this is not absolutely necessary.
Frequent bandage changes are more important. After cleaning the wound, a clean Telfa-Pad should be applied over the area.


After the contact layer is in place, apply the second (absorbent) layer to hold the contact layer snugly, but not tightly, over the wound. This layer is usually a cotton or dacron material which comes in various widths. Generally, 1-inch rolls are used for small limbs and the tail, 2-inch rolls are for medium-sized legs, and the 3- and 4-inch rolls are for large legs and the body. It is important to use the proper size. Materials that are too narrow often cause a tourniquet effect, especially if the wound causes swelling. If materials are too wide, they are difficult to apply smoothly. Any wrinkles or ridges may cause the bandage to become uncomfortable for your pet. Uneven pressure may cause necrosis (tissue death) of the underlying tissues.

Begin with just enough absorbent layer to hold the contact layer in place. If the wound is on a leg or the tail, proceed by wrapping from the toes or the tip of the tail towards the body. If you begin at the top of the leg or the tail, the bandage is more likely to restrict blood flow and cause swelling, which may cause tissue damage. Apply several layers of absorbent material, which will soak up the fluid from the wound and increase the patient's
comfort by cushioning the wound. Make sure the material you use as the absorbent layer is the proper width, and wrap from the toes or tail tip towards the body.


Finally, apply the outer (tertiary) layer, usually made up of porous adhesive tape or elastic tape (i.e. Elastikon, Vetrap). Wrapped from the toes towards the body, this layer should also be smooth and snug. Do not pull elastic tapes to their limits, as this will interfere with circulation and result in bandage failure. The tape should be in contact with the skin (hair) at the bandage margins, anchoring the bandage so it will not slip. The outer layer of a bandage should be applied smoothly and snugly, but not tight enough to cut off blood circulation.


Bandages should be checked frequently for any signs of swelling, discoloration or coolness of the skin, odor, or saturation of the bandage material. The bandage should be changed whenever any of the above are noticed or any time it appears to be uncomfortable for the pet. Wounds that are draining heavily may require bandage changes every 1 or 2 hours. Bandages over wounds with little or no drainage should be changed every 24 hours.

Prepare.org: First Aid for Animals


* Basic Supplies
* Vital Statistics (Heart Rate and Temperature)
* Basic First Aid Procedures
* Handling an Injured Animal (Restraint Methods)

Basic Supplies

* Gauze pads
* Roll of gauze or bandages
* Roll of cloth
* Thermometer
* Tweezers
* Hydrogen peroxide
* Antibiotic ointment
* Cotton swabs
* Instant cold pack
* Rags or rubber tubing for a tourniquet
* First Aid book

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Vital Statistics

Pulse and Heart Rate (Normal resting rates in beats per minute):

* Cats: 150-200 bpm
* Small dogs: 90-120 bpm
* Medium dogs: 70-110 bpm
* Large dogs: 60-90 bpm

Pulse should be strong, regular and easy to locate.

Checking the Pulse

* The easiest place to locate a pulse is the femoral artery in the groin area. Place your fingers on the inside of the hind leg and slide your hand upward until the back of your fingers touches the abdomen. Gently move your fingers back and forth on the inside of the hind leg until you feel the pulsing blood. Count the number of pulses in 15 seconds and multiply that number by four. This will give you the beats per minute (bpm).


* The normal temperature for dogs and cats is 100-102.5ºF. Your thermometer should be almost clean when removed. Abnormalities are indicated by blood, diarrhea, or black, tarry stool.

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Basic First Aid Procedures

Cats and Dogs

All of the following situations require immediate veterinary care:

* Fractures

o Muzzle animal.
o Gently lay animal on a board, wooden door, tarp, etc. padded with blankets.
o Secure animal to the support.
o Do not attempt to set the fracture.
o If a limb is broken, wrap it in cotton padding, then wrap it again with a magazine, rolled newspaper or a towel and two sticks. The splint should extend one joint above the fracture and one joint below. Secure it with tape and make sure blood flow is not constricted.
o If the spine, ribs, hip, etc. appears injured or broken, gently place the animal on the stretcher and immobilize it if possible.

3,876 Posts
Baylee broke her right pinky toe when she was about 4 months old.... the vet put a cast on her and gave her pain meds.... she said that dogs could actually live without this toe but without proper treatment, it could progress to more problems... she had to wear the cast for 2 weeks....we had to get it changed once, she figured out how to take it off by putting her leg in a ladder and pulling.... smart dogs i tell ya!

here's a cute pic of her in her cast....


1,788 Posts
Jenn said:
I'd definitely take her into the vet. I read something once about a dog having to lose its leg, due to a toe problem. Not that I'm trying to say the worst, but better to be safe than sorry. Good luck, hope she's better soon, and it's nothing serious!
I agree -- take her in.

14,576 Posts
Totally, Lisa, take her in. Even if there is nothing they can do physically for her, they can give her anti-inflammatories and pain meds. They'll probably tell you to rest her as much as possible (good luck with that).

23 Posts
My first girl Roxy broke a toe and when I took her into the vet, he said leave it. Wasn't gonna happen. I immobilized the toe and wrapped gaze around her foot to keep it in place. It was a constant struggle to keep her from biting it off.. but worked out great in the long run. Her toe fracture healed up nicely with the toe just sticking out to the side a tiny bit; had to know about it to notice anything. ..Willy.
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