Top 10 Paw Care Tips for Dogs
dog’s feet sure are made for walking, but did you know they are also made for
protecting? Pads provide extra cushioning to help protect bones and joints from
shock, provide insulation against extreme weather, aid walking on rough ground
and help protect tissue deep within the paw. With all that work to do, it’s no
wonder your pooch’s paws often take a bit of a beating. Keep a spring in your
pet’s step with our top 10 paw care tips:
- Pamper With Pedicures: Your dog's nails should just about touch the
ground when she walks. If her nails are clicking or getting snagged on the
floor, it's time for a pedicure. Ask your veterinarian or a groomer for advice
about what types of nail trimmers are best for your dog and how to use them
- Snip and Trim: Trim paw hair regularly to avoid painful matting.
Simply comb hair out, especially from between the toes, and trim even with the
- Clean In Between: Foreign objects can become lodged in your dog’s
pads. Check regularly between toes for foxtails, pebbles, small bits of broken
glass and other debris. These pesky items can usually be removed with a pair of
- Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize: A dog’s pads can become cracked
and dry. Ask your veterinarian for a good pad moisturizer and use as directed.
Avoid human hand moisturizer, as this can soften the pads and lead to
- Deep Paw Massage: Similar to giving a human hand massage, a paw
massage will relax your dog and promote better circulation. Start by rubbing
between the pads on the bottom of the paw, and then rub between each toe. Your
dog will be forever grateful for the extra TLC!
- Slow and Steady: If you’re about to begin a new exercise program
with your dog, start off slow. Paws may become sensitive, chaffed or cracked,
particularly when starting your dog out on hikes and runs.
- Apply First Aid: It's not unusual for dogs to suffer cuts or other
wounds from accidentally stepping on glass, debris or other objects. Wounds
that are smaller than a half inch in diameter can be cleaned with an
antibacterial wash and wrapped with a light bandage. For deeper paw cuts, see
the vet for treatment.
- Summertime Sores: Imagine stepping barefoot onto hot pavement. Ouch!
It is important to remember your dog’s paws feel heat extremes, too. To prevent
burns and blisters, avoid walking your dog on hot pavement or sand. Signs
include blisters, loose flaps of skin and red, ulcerated patches. For minor
burns, apply antibacterial wash and cover the paw with a loose bandage. For
serious burns, visit your vet immediately.
- Wintertime Blues: Winter is hard on everyone’s skin, even your
dog’s! Bitter cold can cause chapping and cracking. Rock salt and chemical ice
melters can cause sores, infection and blistering. Toxic chemicals can also be
ingested by your dog when he licks his paws. After outdoor walks, wash your
dog’s paws in warm water to rinse away salt and chemicals. You may wish to
apply Vaseline, a great salt barrier, to the foot pads before each walk-or make
sure your dog wears doggie booties.
- Practice Prevention: To reduce the risk of injury, keep your home
and yard clear of pointy bits and pieces. Be conscious to avoid hazards such as
broken glass and other debris when walking your dog. And keep this simple tip
in mind-if you wouldn’t like to walk on it barefoot, neither will your