Could your puppy use a pedicure?
The answer is yes! Imagine how the bottoms of your feet would look if you did not wear shoes out and about. You might have a lot of the same problems your dog does! The blisters, tears on the pads, and mats between their toes are just the beginning.
What are dog paw pads made of anyway? Underneath the skin, there is a lot of fatty tissue. (That is why they are so squishy!) The fat helps insulate their paws when it gets cold outside. Paw pads are also responsible for helping your dog keep its balance, providing traction on slick surfaces, and even helping to absorb the shock from landings. It kind of makes you wish you had them, too, huh?
Before you worry too much, keep in mind that some amount of callous on their pads can be beneficial for them. It protects their paws when they walk on rough surfaces. In fact, not having any callouses can increase the risk of tearing their paw pads open.
How do you take care of your dog’s paws properly? Here are some tips to keep your puppy happy and their paw pads healthy!
10 Paw Care Tips for Your Dog
Tip #1: Check your dog’s paws frequently! Not just a passing glance or only when they are in pain. Spread their cute little toes and check the entire foot for potential problems. They could have burns or cuts. Pebbles, seeds, or other possible problem-causing objects can get stuck between their toes!
Tip #2: Make sure you don’t walk your dog in unsafe conditions. When it is hot outside, follow this rule of thumb: if you can not hold your hand on the pavement for a full seven seconds, then do not make your dog walk on it!
Tip #3: If it’s cold outside, you should still be careful. Products that melt ice can be dangerous for your pet. Not only can they make your dog’s paws crack, dry out, or even burn, they can even be toxic when your dog is cleaning themselves later.
Tip #4: Nasty surprises in the environment can be a hazard for your dog. Their paw pads can get cut, ice can build up, burns and blisters can develop, or even running and playing can cause a paw pad to get damaged!
Tip #5: Prevention is always a better plan than having to scramble for a cure. There are several preventative options to help keep your dog’s paws safe! There are moisturizers you can apply to their pads to start. One of the best options is the same thing we use- shoes! They make dog booties for your dog to wear. Granted, some dogs are more comfortable with the idea of wearing shoes than others.
Tip #6: Keep your dog’s paw fur well-trimmed. Doing this will help reduce the chances of something getting trapped between their toes. It will also make it easier for you to see potential problems. When their paw fur is well maintained, it lessens the risk of matting. If you don’t keep the matting in check, your dog may start biting their feet, and that can lead to other issues.
Tip#7: Do your dog’s paws smell like corn chips? That may be a sign of excessive yeast or bacteria on your dog’s feet. Your dog’s immune system usually keeps it down to a lower level, but sometimes environmental or food allergies can cause those levels to spike. Wipe their paws when they come inside to lessen the bacteria’s growth. If the problem gets more severe, talk to your vet about options.
Tip #8: Are your dog’s paws super thick and crusty? Do they have fur growing from the paw pads themselves? It could be canine hyperkeratosis. It may be a genetic problem or a symptom of an underlying condition. If you notice these signs, check with your vet; they may have some balms that can help provide relief.
Tip #9: Don’t forget the nails! If your dog’s nails are clicking on the floor or getting snagged, it’s time to get them trimmed!
Tip #10: Try giving your dog a paw massage! It’s just as beneficial as a hand massage for a human. It will promote better circulation in your dog’s paws. Start by rubbing the bottom of the pad and make sure to rub between the toes.
At times like this, you may be grateful for your shoes! Isn’t it nice not to have to worry about that problem for your own feet? A little awareness is all it takes to keep your pet’s tootsies happy and healthy. Luckily, taking care of your dog’s paws is very simple. As a general rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t want to walk on it without shoes, then don’t expect your dog too!