Dogs use their paws constantly throughout the day. Because of this, your dog’s paws must be cared for to keep up with how active your animal might be. The paw pads are soft and help protect bones and joints from shock while they move. The cushion is designed to protect during extreme weather conditions or walking on rough terrain. Paws should be cared for in order to keep your pet safe and healthy. Below are some tips to keep your furry friend’s feet in great shape:
- Keep nails trimmed— Whether you cut them at home or take your dog in for a pawdicure, try to keep them trimmed regularly. If you hear the nails “clicking” while your pet walks, it’s probably time for a trim. This routine can be overwhelming for some dog owners to do themselves. If this is the case, talk to your vet about a service they might recommend to keep nails at the right length.
- Moisturize Paw Pads— Just like our hands, pet paws can get dry and cracked. Human moisturizer can cause problems, so talk to your vet about the best paw moisturizer for your pet.
- Keep hair on paws short— Trim the hair on your pet’s paw to prevent matting. Try and keep the hair even with the paw pads. Comb the hair between the toes as well.
- Watch out for foreign objects— It is easy for small objects to get stuck in your pet’s paw pads. Check between the toes for pebbles, foxtails, broken glass, or other small objects. It is important to check for unwanted objects often to keep paws healthy.
- Paw Massages— Help keep your pet relaxed and get the blood flowing with a paw massage. First, massage between the pads on the bottom of the paw, then between each toe. A little pampering can go a long way!
- Care for cuts— Even if you’re taking preventative measures, your dog may still end up with occasional cuts or scrapes on its paws. Injuries that are smaller than a half inch in diameter can be cleaned with an antibiotic wash and covered with a loose bandage. For more serious cuts, talk to your vet about treatment.
- Seasonal care— Dog paws can be as sensitive to extreme weather conditions as a human foot can be. Be aware of how the weather might affect your dog’s paws and how to protect your pet during the summer and winter months.
In the summer, try and stay away from hot pavement or sand to avoid burning. If minor burns occur, use an antibacterial wash and wrap the paw with a loose bandage. Talk to your vet about any serious burns or blisters.
In the winter, the cold weather can cause an animal’s paws to crack or dry out. During freezing weather, people often use chemicals to melt ice. These salts and substances can be toxic if your dog licks its paws. When coming home from being outside, simply rinse the paws with warm water to remove any chemicals that may be leftover. You could also apply Vaseline to the paws before going outside to act as a salt barrier. Another alternative might be using dog-friendly booties to protect the paws.
It’s always smart to use preventive measures to avoid injuries to the paw. Also, make sure to clean up any debris at home or in the yard. Try and keep this tip in mind, if you wouldn’t want to walk somewhere barefoot, your dog wouldn’t either!