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In the midst of winter when the snow is falling, or the rain is pouring and the sky is constantly grey, it is easy to overlook things such as your pets’ paws and how healthy they are. But failing to keep your pets’ paws healthy can lead to more sinister and more serious health problems. There are certain things that you should look out for in winter time.
Overly Long Nails
Overly long nails are similar to long fingernails, they will always keep growing and therefore require regular maintenance. If your dog’s nails are too long it can increase the chances of them catching on something sharp and causing a tear or split in their paw. Although it is sometimes unimaginable to brave the winter temperatures, your dog needs to be walked regularly in order to stay healthy. Walking on concrete pavements will file down your dogs’ nails, which will prevent them from getting overly long claws! However, you need to be careful when walking on salted or gritted pavements, as this can be very drying on your pet’s paws.
Your usual walking route will look quite different in the snow, and all the usual smells will be covered, so keep a close eye on your dog so he doesn’t go missing. Winter is a good time to make sure your pet microchip details are up-to-date, so if your pup goes missing in the snow, you are more likely to be reunited.
It’s quite easy for dogs to contract fungal and viral infections in their paws, which can work their way underneath the claw and cause swelling and a lot of pain for your canine friends. Infections on the paws often result in abscesses. If you see your pet limping, licking their paws or crying in pain, it can be the result of an infection, so always take them to the vets to be safe and to get the best treatment.
Thick snowfall can be an enjoyable experience for dogs, but it can also hide sharp and dangerous objects on the ground that can stick into their paws, so always check your dogs’ paws after walks and stick to familiar walking routes that are usually safe. Different types of debris can get stuck in the pad of your dogs’ paws such as glass, thorns, and even sharp splinters and can lead to swelling and infection. Similar to having a splinter, one of the best ways to remove foreign bodies from your dogs’ paws is to use tweezers, but if you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself, or if the item has become lodged inside the pad or under the nail, then seek help from your vet.
In winter time it is important to be vigilant and keep in mind the health of your dogs’ paws, look out for signs such as swelling, inflammation, bleeding and monitor your dog’s behavior, as their limping and paw licking can be an indication of an issue that needs treating.
Rebecca Harper is a freelance writer and pet lover living in London. Alongside her writing career, she volunteers for dog charities and organisations to help increase awareness of the importance of dog microchipping and responsible breeding.