As a dog owner, it’s very important for you to know how to care for your dog’s paws. Dogs run, jump, and play daily on all kinds of surfaces. So over the years, their paw pads tend to wear out which can hurt their nails.
If you’ve ever wondered how to take care of your dog’s paws, here are some helpful tips that will show you to keep your dog’s paw in good condition.
9 Tips for Keeping Your Dogs’ Paws Healthy
1. Weather Conditions
Your dog’s pads are covered by a thick layer of keratin. However, they can still feel extreme temperatures when they touch hot or cold surfaces.
In summer, hot concrete, sand, and stones can burn your dog’s paws. The winter affects the skin all over the body, but also your dog’s paws, as they are in direct contact with icy surfaces.
They are likely to crack from the cold, which can get worse by the salt and de-icers that we use to melt the snow.
For this reason, you should take into account when and where you’re taking your dog for a walk. Once you get back home, make sure to wipe or wash your dog’s paws to remove any chemicals that may get stuck in their paws (more on that below).
2. Be Careful Where Your Dog Walks
The best way to take care of your dog’s paws is to check them constantly, especially after going for a walk.
It’s nearly impossible to make a thorough inspection of the surface where your dog will walk. However, you need to make sure there’re no thorns, toxic waste, and even pieces of glass in sight.
To reduce the risk of injury, keep your home and yard free of any objects that could damage your dog’s paws.
You should pay attention to your dog’s attitude and willingness to walk and any signs of pain or discomfort. If he’s reluctant to walk or keep licking his paws, watch it carefully.
3. Check and Clean Between The Paw Pads
Checking and cleaning your dog’s paws is a simple but important step in keeping his paws healthy.
You can use warm water and soap to regularly wash your dog’s paws, particularly when coming back from a walk. This alone can reduce your dog’s paw licking and chewing habit.
It’s important to check for any small stones, pieces of glass, or other debris that might get stuck in between your dog’s paws. Be careful when removing any object using a pair of tweezers to avoid causing any pain to your dog.
4. Moisturize Pads to Prevent Cracking
Your dog’s pads are very sensitive and need care. You need to keep them hydrated as they tend to get dry very easily.
Moisturize your dog’s paws regularly to prevent cuts, cracks, or scaling, as these small wounds make them more susceptible to burns and other skin problems.
Also, some dogs have particularly sensitive pads and suffer from frequent dermatitis. For this reason, there are products you can use to harden the pads, which are usually used in dogs that do a lot of sports activities.
However, it’s not recommended to overhydrate the pads as this can soften them too much and cause injury. If your dog’s paws are fine, there’s no need to moisture them. Healthy dog’s paw pads should be elastic, but hard and rough to the touch.
5. Massage the Pads
No kidding! Just like human feet, your dog’s paws can suffer from pain and fatigue. Relaxing massages will improve the blood circulation of your dog’s paws and promote healthy paw pads.
Gently rub your dog’s extremities, starting with the pads and working your way up and gradually increasing to the paws.
You can also roll a ball on his pads, massage them with your fingertips. Additionally, you can brush them with a soft comb with flexible plastic bristles.
6. Clip Your Dog’s Nails Regularly
If you notice that your dog’s nails sound against the floor when he walks, it’s time to cut them. Your dog’s nails should barely touch the floor when they walk.
Inside the root of your dog’s nail, there are nerve endings and blood vessels that grow along with the nail. So be careful to not cut them too short as it can cause pain to your furry friend.
When the nails are too long, they can break or chip if they get stuck on something. They can also be uncomfortable and painful to walk on. Additionally, they can even accidentally scratch you or damage your hardwood floor and furniture.
Ideally, you should get your dog used to cut his nails without fear. If this is not the case, you may need to train your dog to mentally get him ready when it’s time to trim his claws.
7. Cutting Hair
Trimming the hair on the pad is something that you should not miss. Cutting them out will help keep your canine friend from slipping when running on slippery surfaces.
In addition, hair tends to stay wet for longer periods of time, which in turn can cause fungal infections.
For this reason, it’s better to cut this hair if you notice it’s too long. First, you must comb the hair and then cut it.
8. Shoes for Dogs
If you’re going to take your dog for a long walk on rough terrains, such as urban pavements that may be too hot or steep places with sharp stones, you may need to have your dog wear booties.
You can put on adhesive pads, shoes, or disposable boots, these can be a great help to your pet in the following ways:
Prevent the dog from getting its legs wet or getting muddy on rainy days.
It avoids your dog’s paws burns on the hottest days or when it walks on snow or ice.
Protect your dog from injury when walking on rocky terrain if your dog is not used to it.
Protect your dog’s paws if it has wounds so that it can heal sooner.
9. Don’t Forget the Dewclaw
Dewclaws are dogs’ short claws. They may be the equivalent of the human thumb. Although they do serve a purpose, such as providing traction and stabilization to the carpal joint, this toenail generally can become a discomfort for the dog since it can be torn when running at high speed.
So, it’s a delicate toenail and it’s common to have it injured or with some other problem. For this reason, it’s important to keep an eye on it and apply healing creams if you notice any injury.
Taking care of your dogs’ paws and nails are something that you need to take into account in his daily care.
Hopefully, these simple tips will help you keep your dog’s paws healthy to make sure they maintain an excellent quality of life.
How do you take care of your dog’s paws? Did we miss any tips that should have been in this guide? Let us know in the comments below.