Dog’s feet are surely tougher than ours, but they can still be damaged. I’m sure you have seen dogs limping due to cracks in their paw pads, suffering from blisters, cuts, or any other leg injuries.
This is why it is crucial that you keep their feet strong and healthy so that they can function at their best, hence happier.
Below you will find the 10 ultimate tips on how to take proper care of a dog’s paws.
1. Check The Paws After Outdoor Playtime
It is important to inspect their paws when they are back from outdoor activities. This is especially true if you take them out for an intense workout or long hours hike.
Make sure you check thoroughly and see if there are foreign objects trapped in between their toes such as foxtail, broken glass, splinters, or any other debris.
Also, don’t forget to wash their feet! You can use a paw cleaner or a dog doormat to wipe the dirt and mud off.
2. Trim The Nails and The Paw Hair Regularly
Keep in mind that claws that are too long can be bad for dogs. Not only they don’t look good, but will put a lot of pressure on the nail beds when touching the ground which can be painful.
While keeping your dog’s nails short is important, you need to be careful and make sure you don’t cut into the quick (where the blood vessels and nerves are). And the safest way to trim the claws is by using a nail grinder as it allows you to sand them down slowly and avoid unwanted injuries.
Also, don’t forget to trim the paw hair as well!
3. Moisturize The Paws
Just like our hands and feet, dog’s paws can get too dry to the point that they will crack and bleed, which means infections can happen too!
To prevent this from happening, use a dog paw balm to keep their feet hydrated.
Remember, you should never apply human hand cream or lotion on their paw as this can soften their pads and cause many problems.
4. Give Your Dog a Nice Paw Massage
Your dog will appreciate and love you more if you give them a nice deep paw massage while applying the moisturizer. Just like us, massage can help them to relax and promote better blood circulation.
One thing to note is that some dogs hate it when you touch their feet. If this is your case, you need to train your dog to acclimatize them to having their paw pads touched.
5. Paws Protection
Here is an interesting fact about dogs’ paw pads. Did you know that if you constantly expose them to harsher terrain, their feet tend to be rougher?
Similarly, if they stay home most of the time or only walk on smoother grounds, their feet will be softer.
If your dog is the latter, it may not be a good idea to hike with them on rocky terrains. But if your dog can handle the trail stamina wise and you would love to bring them along, get them to wear hiking boots to help protect their feet.
6. First Aid
It is not uncommon to find minor cuts or burns on a dog’s paws.
If you happen to see one, make sure you clean their feet with an antibacterial wash to disinfect the wounds and bandage them after. However, if your dog suffers from severe injuries, you should take them to the veterinarian as soon as you can to prevent any complications.
7. Be Vigilant While You Walk Your Dog
Be vigilant and always look if there is anything that could potentially injure your dog’s paws while you walk them, such as broken glass, sharp rocks, or any other debris.
Avoid letting your dog step on these hazards, and it may also be a good idea to constantly check the yard to ensure it is safe for them to roam around.
8. Prevent Your Dog From Walking On Hot Surfaces in Summer
This is something often overlooked by most dog owners. Imagine yourself walking barefoot on hot pavements in summer, I’m sure you won’t be able to walk for too long. The same goes for dogs.
The ground may be too hot for them and can potentially cause burn blisters. The best way to test the temperature is by placing the back of your hand on the surface for five seconds, if you can’t hold it, neither can your dog.
9. Get Your Dog to Wear Boots in Winter
Not only winter is harsh on our skins, but it can also cause your dog’s paw pads to crack.
Not to mention the road salts are toxic, it can lead to irritations and infections if they lick their paws after the walk.
Though you can wash their paws when they are back from outside, the best thing you can do is to limit their outdoor exposure or to get your dog to wear booties before they head out.
10. Observe Your Dog and See if They Do Lick and Chew Their Paws
If your dog licks and chews their paws, you may need to take a closer look at it.
The reason is that there may be irritants stuck in their pads, and it may also be a sign of them suffering from minor injuries. Note that licking will delay healing, and if you notice that your dog licks and chews their feet a lot, it may be better to visit the veterinarian.
Just before we wrap up, there is one common paw issue I would like to talk about, that is dogs’ paws smell like corn chips! This condition is also known as Frito feet and is due to yeast, bacteria, and sweat.
You can treat this problem by washing their paws with hypoallergenic shampoo and lukewarm water, and make sure you dry their feet thoroughly.
While it may look like there are plenty of things you need to do to keep your dog’s paws in tip-top shape, you know it is all worth it when you see the smile on their face and tons of tail wagging!