I guess we've been lucky this has never happened before. However, it did mean that I was unsure how to deal with it. First I washed the cut with salty water, a couple of times, then I bandaged it loosely. Which left the problem of how to go outside for toileting without getting the bandage wet. (We've had lots of rain lately, which you won't find me complaining about after the fifteen or more years of drought we endured.)
Well, that didn't work all that well. There are a couple of plastic bags lying somewhere in the yard, lost within minutes of our going out in the dark.
Today, when we came back to Melbourne, I decided to scout the Net for more information, and found some sites that were quite helpful. I was pleased that Betadine was recommended on some of them, as I've got Betadine spray. So I've sprayed it and put a fresh bandage on, and we'll see how things look tomorrow.
One recommendation that seemed sensible was to wrap only a couple of layers around the paw, because if the bandaging is too thick, the dog will notice it more, and therefore be more likely to lick at it. (I recall from Penny's previous biopsy bandaging how important it is to keep the bandage dry.)
This squidoo says we should rebandage the paw twice a day, so I guess I'll do that.
The Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook says a fresh wound longer than half an inch should be sutured, but says if the wound is older than twelve hours, suturing is questionable. If I'd been in Melbourne I would have taken her straight to the vet to see if stitches would help. But we were too far away.
At the moment she seems to be comfortable, and in fact isn't even limping much. She's taking her weight fully on both front legs.
I'll call the vet tomorrow, to check whether I'm doing the right thing, and I'm going to ask about a recommendation by Julia Szabo on a dogster site, that the wound will heal faster if it is kept soft:
Then, to help speed healing, I applied some Buck Mountain Wound Balm, the same excellent ointment I used on my dog Tiki when he was fighting cancer. This stuff packs the triple healing punch of burdock, yarrow, and echinacea, and is a first-rate item to keep in the K9 first aid kit. Without some kind of ointment to keep the tissue soft, a wound takes longer to heal - and with the location of this wound, recovery speed really counts.
On looking at the Buck Mountain Herbal Gold site, I see that it is recommended for minor cuts and closed wounds, and that using salve on an infection that is not clean and dry might accelerate the infection, so I think I'll definitely ask for advice from the vet before doing anything other than keeping the wound clean and infection-free.
I might try using aloe vera, if the vet says it is important to keep the paw pad soft.