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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.