Your dog’s paws are made to endure years of tough play, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use some TLC along the way. Paws are actually quite sensitive! Dog paws are also important in protecting bones and joints from shock. If your pet’s paws become injured or sore, it could cause problems elsewhere in their joints. It’s worth a little time and attention to make sure your best friend’s tootsies stay in tip-top shape.
Here are 9 tips for taking care of your dog’s paws
9. Watch For Chewing And Licking
If a dog licks or chews at his paw pads, it may be a sign that there is some kind of irritant there, which should be cleared off before your dog causes damage to his pads. If the chewing or licking becomes excessive, it could be a sign of an allergic reaction, which requires a trip to the vet. Beagles, Bichon Frise, West Highland White Terriers, and Poodles are more susceptible to allergies. Chewing and licking can also be a sign of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or it could indicate that there is a small cut or sore. This behavior can delay healing, so keep an eye on your dog’s paws and treat any minor injuries.
8. Clean In Between
Foreign objects can become lodged in your dog’s pads. Check regularly between toes for foxtails, pebbles, small bits of broken glass and other debris. These pesky items can usually be removed with a pair of tweezers.
7. Practice Prevention
To reduce the risk of injury, keep your home and yard clear of pointy bits and pieces. Be conscious to avoid hazards such as broken glass and other debris when walking your dog. And keep this simple tip in mind-if you wouldn’t like to walk on it barefoot, neither will your dog!
6. Trim Those Nails
Your dog’s nails should barely touch the ground. If you hear a lot of clicking when your dog walks on hard surfaces, it’s an indication that it’s time for a trim. Nails that are too long can get snagged easily, causing injuries. They can also cause your dog to limp, and at the very least they are uncomfortable. How often you should trim depends a lot on your dog, and some breeds may not need to be trimmed much at all. Walking on hard surfaces also tends to wear down the nails a bit, as well.
Paw pads can crack and bleed if they get too dry. Do NOT use lotions or moisturizers meant for humans on a dog. They soften the pads and can lead to further injury. Instead, ask your veterinarian for a lotion recommendation. Apply it to your dog’s paws as directed, and take the time to give your pup some pampering. A nice paw massage is a great way to bond, and it may help your dog feel more comfortable with you examining his pads or even trimming his nails.
4. Use Winter Paw Protection
Winter is hard on everyone’s skin, even your dog’s! Bitter cold can cause chapping and cracking. Rock salt and chemical ice melts can cause sores, infection and blistering. Toxic chemicals can also be ingested by your dog when he licks his paws. After outdoor walks, wash your dog’s paws in warm water to rinse away salt and chemicals. You may wish to apply Vaseline, a great salt barrier, to the foot pads before each walk-or make sure your dog wears doggie booties.
3. Apply First-Aid
It’s important to have a doggy first-aid kit handy for minor injuries. If you do happen to find a minor cut or blister on your dog’s feet, clean it out with anti-bacterial wash and bandage the area as best you can. You may also want to apply a dog boot to prevent further damage. Keep an eye on your dog and don’t allow chewing or licking of the area, as this delays healing. For bigger injuries, head to the vet immediately.
2. Paw Checks
It’s important to do paw checks, preferably after playing outside or doing strenuous activities, as those are the most likely times for injuries to appear. It’s also when your dog is most likely to get something stuck in his pad or between his toes. Take a look and clear any debris, and watch out for injuries or blistering. If your dog’s paws are getting too beat up, it’s time to find some less harsh ground on which to walk or play.
1. Slow and Steady
If you’re about to begin a new exercise program with your dog, start off slow. Paws may become sensitive, chaffed or cracked, particularly when starting your dog out on hikes and runs.