Paw Care: Taking Care of Your Dogs Feet

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Yes, your dog’s feet are made for walking, but did you know that those little paws are also designed for protecting? Your dog’s foot pads give additional cushioning that aid in protecting both bones and joints from shock. They provide good insulation against intense weather conditions, and help your dog to walk over rough ground. Plus, pads support the tissue beneath their paw.

With all the work he has to do, it is not surprising that your pooch’s paws take a bit of a beating every so often. With the paw care guidelines below; you can keep a spring in your darling dog’s step.

How to Care for Your Dog’s Paws

1. Try pampering your dog’s paws with pedicures. His nails need to touch slightly just above the ground when he walks. If his nails tend to click or get snagged over the floor, then give him a pedicure. Talk to your vet or a professional pet groomer for advice regarding the types of nail trimmers that would seem best for your pet, and how to properly use them.

2. Do the snip and trim. Try trimming the hairs on your dog’s paw on a regular basis to keep him from painful matting. Comb his hair out especially those from between the toes. Trim even with his pads.

3. Explore in between. Because foreign objects could easily become lodged in your pet’s pads, do not forget to clean them. Check between his toes for pebbles, foxtails, bits of broken glass, and other debris. All these pesky items can be easily removed with a pair of tweezers.

4. Moisturize, moisturize, and then moisturize. Your dog’s pads can easily get dry and cracked so ask your vet about good pad moisturizers designed especially for dogs. Do not apply hand moisturizers for humans as it could soften the dog’s pads and lead to unwarranted injury.

5. Give your pet a soothing deep paw massage. Just like giving someone a hand massage, a paw massage will also help in relaxing your dog; thus, promote better blood circulation. Rub between the pads at the bottom of his paw, and then rub between each of his toe. Your pooch will certainly be forever grateful for that extra TLC.

6. Take it slow and steady. If you intend to start a new exercise plan for your dog, start off slowly. Paws are likely to be sensitive, cracked or chaffed, especially when taking your dog out for hikes and runs.

7. Use  first aid. Because it is not unusual for your dog to acquire cuts or suffer from other wounds due to accidentally stepping on broken glass or other debris, make sure that you also have in your cabinet that first aid kit. Small wounds can be cleaned using an antibacterial wash and then wrapped with a bandage. Deeper cuts, however, will require seeing your vet for treatment.

8. Help him deal with summertime sores. Have you tried stepping barefoot onto a very hot pavement? Ouch! Well, that pricking pain of extreme heat can also be felt by your dog. To keep him from acquiring burns and blisters, steer him away from hot pavements and sand.

9. Muddle through wintertime blues.  Bitter cold is definitely hard on everyone’s skin. Your dog is certainly not exempt. After outdoor walks, make sure that you have washed your dog’s paws with warm water so that salt and other harmful chemicals are rinsed away. To keep his pads from getting chapped or cracked, apply a paw protectant. Letting your pooch wear doggie boots to protect against freezing ice and dangerous salts and snow-melting chemicals is also advisable.

13 COMMENTS

  1. ive just discovered coconut oil , dont know where ive been hiding anyhow i use it on my Rockys nose wrinkles and was wondering would it be paw appropriate ??

  2. My beloved pets
    Always like to put an all standout stance
    When he doesn’t want to walk.
    He does this yo the point that his paws
    are raw.

    He is very stuborn.
    What can I do?

  3. I have heard several people mention Musher’ s Secret online for protection of dog’s feet during the bad cold snap earlier in January, and I’m willing to try it as a massage balm. Before I’ve only used Vaseline on mini-Doxie right before she goes to sleep to where she’s in bed and doesn’t track it around. If I haven’t done it in a few nights, she always licks my hand like “thank you” and I feel so guilty! But she doesn’t want it every night – hard to guess!

  4. I have heard from friends who have hunting dogs, that they use Pam Spray on the dogs paws to keep them from dealing with Winter problems for hunting. Is this good for their paws? :)

  5. I live in a cold Canadian winter climate where the streets and sidewalks are often salted. My vet recommended a product called “Bag Balm” which is normally used on cow udders. You put it on before you go outside to protect the pads from the nasty cold/salt. Even so, sometimes we just have to watch the amount of time outside. It’s just too cold for anyone–human or dog–for safety.

  6. I especially like the recommendation for foot massage, and will do that. But, could you please be a little more specific. You say to put a lotion on the pads but a couple of suggestions for the exact ones would be great. As well, please please discuss very specific pad care when pads are already cracked and the dog is limping. Names of proven products would be great! Thank you.

  7. Excellent article. I have always massaged my Labs paws & she loves it. He back left is ticklish & tolerates the back right Buuuuutttt she love her front paws done & will constantly offer them up.

  8. I am actually really surprised you didn’t mention boots like Neopaws in this article! Our Golden Retriever has very sensitive paw pads but loves taking long walks and we always had to pace ourselves before until we discovered these. We have used the winter boots for 3 winters now; they help protect him from frostbite as well as the salt & calcium they spread in the streets here, they also prevent snowballs from building up between his toes. We will buy the summer ones this year for those hot summer days where we walk on pavement. It’s always a little embarassing when I walk him but I’ve seen such a huge improvement when I look at his paw pads and he can play outside as long as he wants!
    http://www.neopaws.com/index.php

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