Our dogs rely on us for their health and safety, which is a big responsibility that must be taken seriously. Owning a dog doesn’t start nor end with bringing your dogs to companion animal registrations which to some people could already be daunting. While most people will be on top of the major areas of concern, such as diet, training and socialisation, there is one area that often gets overlooked. Your dog’s paws are one of the most important parts of their body, and it is crucial to take proper care of them.
Not only do your dog’s paws allow them to move around, they also provide protection from rough terrain and hot surfaces. Taking care of your dog’s paws is an essential part of keeping them healthy, so here are some tips on how to make sure you’re doing everything right.
1. Check Your Dog's Paws Regularly
Just like humans have different skin types, dogs have different paw pads. Some may be tougher than others while some may be more sensitive. You should regularly check your dog’s paws for any signs of injury or infection. Look for any cuts, scrapes, redness or swelling. Also check between the toes and pads of the feet for any dirt or foreign objects that may have become lodged there. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, contact your vet immediately as it could be an indication of a more serious problem.
2. Trim Their Nails
Another important part of caring for your dog’s paws is making sure their nails are trimmed regularly. Unkempt nails can lead to discomfort and pain when walking, so it is vital that you keep them trimmed regularly. Around once every two weeks is typical for most dogs kept as house pets. If you are unsure how to do this on your own at home, it is best to seek assistance from a professional groomer or veterinarian who can show you how to do it properly and safely.
3. Protect Their Paws from Hot Surfaces
During the summer months especially, hot pavement and even asphalt can cause serious damage to your pup’s sensitive feet if not protected properly from the heat. While we owners will have shoes to protect ourselves from burning-hot sidewalks, our dogs are not so lucky. It’s best to check the temperature of the ground before you take your dog out for a walk. You can either just use your own fingers to check or go the extra mile and get an infrared thermometer. Be sure that you always carry water with you when out on walks with your pup in order to cool down their feet after stepping on hot surfaces. You may also opt to put on some special booties that provide extra protection against hot surfaces or stay inside and have them use a dog litter like Puppy Go Potty.
4. Moisturize Their Pads
Keeping your pooch’s paw pads moisturized is key in preventing dryness and cracking which can lead to infection or other issues over time. There are many different products available specifically designed for this purpose; however, using a natural moisturizer such as coconut oil will work just as well! Simply massage a small amount into each paw pad at least once a week (or more depending on need) and then wipe off any excess with a soft cloth or towel afterwards.
A well moisturized and cared-for pad often makes a great shot in a professional pet photography session, along with close ups of their snout. They always look stunning in black and white.
5. Clean After Walks and Visits to the Park
One of the most common causes of infection in dogs is dirt or debris getting stuck between their paw pads or underneath their nails. This often occurs when they walk through mud or grassy areas outside. These areas can contain bacteria or parasites which can easily get transferred onto their feet if not cleaned regularly enough afterwards! To help prevent this problem from occurring, be sure that you clean your pup’s feet after every walk outside by wiping them down with warm water and mild soap. There are also commercially available dog wipes that are specially formulated to be gentle on their paws.
6. Pay Attention to Paw Odor
If you notice an unusual odor coming from your dog’s paw pads, then there could be something wrong with their feet such as an infection or irritation due to allergies or parasites like fleas or ticks. If this is the case, then it is best to take them to see a vet as soon as possible so that they get the proper care and treatment. Even if it’s not a major problem, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry.
By following these simple steps outlined above, you will be able to keep your dog’s paws healthy and strong throughout their life. As always though, if you have any concerns regarding the health of your pet's feet then it is best practice to consult with a qualified veterinarian who can give further advice tailored specifically towards your dog.