If you think of all the problems we would have if we always walked around barefoot every day, it is easy to see why dogs are prone to paw issues. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to take care of dog paws and simple ways to keep your pet’s paws healthy.
Terrain is one of the main factors to watch with keeping dogs paws healthy and protected. Being aware of debris that can cut or injure a paw can prevent an injury.
Rocky areas may have sharp jagged rocks. Similarly, certain types of gravel used on roads or driveways can also hurt dog paws. In the summer, pavement can become extremely hot and painful for your pet. Be mindful of this when walking your dog as he or she may not have the option to walk on a cooler surface. Likewise, in the winter, ice and road salt can also cause real harm to dog paws so it’s good to take some precautions and follow these winter weather tips.
In addition to the terrain, consider your pooch’s activity levels. Often active owners and pets who run, hike, and exercise together may find that the dog’s paws may become sensitive, chaffed, or cracked.
Before going hiking with your dog or going for runs together, he or she may need to build up their endurance or test out the terrain. Try to hike on soft terrain and stay clear of dense underbrush and sharp rocks that could potentially damage paws.
Keep in mind that most dogs will continue with an activity even if they are uncomfortable or hurt because they want to please their owner – so keep a close eye on your pup and only hike in dog-friendly places.
Dog’s nails can also cause issues for their paws. Keeping your dog’s nails short and trimmed is important because catching a nail can be very painful. Also, long nails can make wood floors and tiles difficult to walk on.
For older pets, slipping can lead to an injury. Typically, indoor and less active pets need more frequent nail clippings as their nails don’t wear down as quickly as they would if they were active. Checking nail length once a month is wise, but if you notice your dog’s nails clicking on the floor, it’s time for a grooming session.
If you dog frequently encounters rough terrain or need extra protection due to a high activity level, then investing in dog booties may be the smart move.
Dog booties are also helpful if a paw is already injured; paw injuries can heal slowly, and it is nearly impossible to keep a pet off his paws. Paw Wax is another helpful product. It coats the paw, softening and protecting it. Several types of wax are available and can even be helpful for dogs that skid or slip on slick floors. Using this wax regularly can help dogs whose paws are frequently dry or cracked.
To wrap up, healthy paws help keep pets happy. Some awareness and extra care is all you need to keep your dog’s feet in great shape.
About the Author
Laura Pakis is a certified dog trainer and Cynologist. She is an active member of the canine community and provides down to earth, easy-to-follow dog training advice on her website acmecanine.com. When not working with dogs she is writing about them or playing with her own, Penny and Autumn.