Having healthy paws are an important part of your dog's overall health and wellness. Our Charlotte vets provide tips on how to take care of you dog's paws to keep them happy and healthy.
Your Dog's Paws
Your dog's paws are tasked with bearing the totality of their weight and are essential for their every day activities.
The pads of your dog's paws, made up of fat tissue and elastic fibres, play a critical role. They help cushion the bones and joints from shock as they are mobile. They also protect the tissues that are within the paw, allowing your dog to be comfortable as they move around.
The pads of the paw also help dogs tell what kind of surface they are walking on and assist in regulating their internal body temperature.
How to Care for Your Dog's Paws
Check & Clean Paws Regularly
During your dog's daily travels, foreign objects like pebbles, prickly weeds, thorns, bits of glass etc., can get lodged in the paws. Try to check your dog’s paws on a regular basis, especially after being outdoors and use tweezers to carefully remove any debris.
Wipe or wash your dog’s paws as soon as they come in from outside. During the winter, this will also remove any snow/ice or de-icing products (road salt) that have been stuck. A cloth soaked in warm water and a gentle massage can help loosen any ice build-up.
Dog booties are a great during the winter as they protect your dog's paws from salt, ice, snow, and de-icing chemicals. The cold weather can also lead to dry, cracked paw pads and exposed skin on the pads are at risk of frost bite, which can also be protected by booties.
Keep Your Dog's Paws Trimmed
Dog’s paws need to be trimmed and groomed on a regular basis. Long nails can injure your dog and cause issues while walking or running. Your dog’s nails shouldn’t touch the ground when they are standing on a flat surface.
The fur between the toes should also be trimmed regularly.
The frequency in which your dog will require grooming will vary depending on breed as well as how active they are. A general rule would be about once a month.
If your dog’s paws get too dry, they can crack and bleed. There is no problem moisturizing them when this occurs, but be sure that you only use moisturizers that are meant for dogs. Moisturizers that are meant for humans can make their pads too soft.
Use First Aid
If your dog’s paws have a minor cut or wound, don't just wait for it to heal on its own. Clean it with an antibacterial solution, apply an antibacterial cream, and then wrap it in a light bandage.
Deeper cuts may warrant an emergency and should be examined by your vet. A deep cut may result in a cut tendon or another injury best taken care of by a professional.
To best avoid injuries to your dog's paws, search the areas in which your dog plays and walks to ensure they are clear of any debris or objects that your pup might step on. As you likely already do, avoid broken glass, pieces of metal, loose gravel/pebbles, and other hazards while out for your walk.
If it's not somewhere you would walk around barefoot, your dog probably shouldn't either.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.