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Spinters from Wood or Bones: Are they deadly or just painful?

paw spinterDogs can get splinters from running through the woods or even walking on the pavement. Some splinters can be shallow, while others may be deep. Both ways can be incredibly painful and your stoic best friend will probably do their best to limp along to keep up with you when they get one.

What do I do when my dog gets one in his paw?

First wash the dog’s paw with anti-bacterial soap.

Then examine the dog’s paw under very good lighting. You may even need to use blunt scissors to cut away hair that is obscuring the view of the splinter.

Sterilize some tweezers, either by boiling them quickly or heating the end over a hotplate.

Once the tweezers have cooled down, use them to GENTLY pull out the splinter from the dog’s paw.

When the splinter has been removed, coat the spot with an antibiotic cream to prevent infection. Cover it in gauze or bandage if you are worried that your dog will lick and bite it.


If you are unable to get the splinter out then go to the vet as soon as you can. The amount of pain a splinter causes is fairly high, so the sooner you get your pet to the vet, the better.


Not all splinters refer to the nasty things your pet can get in his paw. Eating food at a BBQ can also cause another kind… from bones. Best thing to do is don’t give the dog any treats from the table or the leftovers, but accidents do happen when summer is here and everyone is having fun.

First: If your dog swallowed a bone and is having any of the following symptoms then take them to the vet!

  • Your dog is unwilling to eat. Dogs know when they are able to eat. Refusing food, may indicate a bowel obstruction. Forcing your dog to eat when they have something in their throat could result in internal problems which will require immediate medical attention!
  • He is vomiting.
  • He has gotten into poison or ate something toxic (like uncooked tomatoes).


An easy remedy to this common problem: cotton balls (yea shocking, but it does work!).

Take some cotton balls (see how many according to weight below) and thoroughly soak them in water. Now before giving them to your dog tear the cotton balls into small pieces, this will allow the smaller pieces to migrate toward the sharp object and hopefully wrap around it or pad it before it exits the dog’s intestines. Finally keep your dog on a bland diet for a few days afterwards to allow his system to fully recover.

Give According to Weight:

5 – 10 lbs (2.26 – 4.53 kg) = 2 cotton balls

10 – 50 lbs (4.53 – 22.68 kg) = 3-5 cotton balls

50 – 100 lbs (22.68 – 45.35 kg) = 5-7 cotton balls

Make sure you consult your vet before trying to give your dog cotton balls.


Other things you can do:

  • Give your dog some Marshmallow root (not the candy, it is an herb that can be found at health food stores). This sweet herb serves as a lubricant and helps to expel, soothe and soften tissue while controlling bacterial infections. Also soothes inflammation in any hollow organ such as the lungs, food canal, urinary and reproductive system and will absorb mucous and poisons.
  • Canned pumpkin in its pureed form (not pumpkin pie filling) is also a great stool softener and a natural remedy for constipation. It helps soothe an upset stomach or indigestion in both cats and dogs. It is very rich in fiber and one or two teaspoons to your pet’s food will get their system moving in no time.
  • Salmon oil mixed in with some food also works well as a natural lubricant (mix it with some soft food).

Although these three alternatives are beneficial for helping to move things along the digestive tract, they will not help to protect your dog’s system by wrapping around the objects as will the cotton balls.

However if you feel uncomfortable with any or all of these home remedies then take your pet straight to the vet. It’s always the best thing to do when your pet needs help.

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The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.