Top 7 Tips on Paw Care for Dogs

Schweizer Sennenhund Swiss Mountain Dog

Your dog’s feet were surely made for walking and running. However, did you know that they were also made for protection? Pads normally offer extra cushioning to help protect joints and bones from shock. They also provide insulation against any extreme weather as well as aid in walking on rough surfaces. Pads also offer protection to the tissues deep within the paw.

With all this work, no wonder the paws often bear the greatest brunt. With the following paw care tips, your dog will surely have healthy, painless paws:

1. Pamper the paws with pedicures

Whenever your dog walks, his or her nails should just touch the ground. If the nails are getting snagged or clicking on the floor or ground, then it is time for a pedicure. It is prudent to ask your dog’s groomer or vet for his or her opinion regarding what type of nail trimmers you should use and how to use them correctly.

2. Trim and snip

Trim your dog’s paw hair regularly to prevent painful matting. So how do you go about it? Well, simply comb the hair out. You should particularly do it more between the toes. Trim even with the pads.

3. Thoroughly clean the areas in between

With time, foreign items can easily get lodged in the dog’s pads. Ensure you check regularly between the toes for all form of debris such as pieces of tiny broken glass, pebbles or even foxtails. You can remove these pesky items and many more using a pair of tweezers.

4. Deep paw massage

Just like giving a human a massage, a paw massage will definitely work wonders for your dog. In addition to promoting better circulation, the massage will also relax the dog. Begin by rubbing in between the pads right from the bottom area of the paw. After this, rub between each toe. For this extra TLC, your dog will forever be more than grateful!

5. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

Over time, it is normal for your dog’s pads to become dry and cracked. Request a great pad moisturizer from your vet. Use as directed. It is wise to avoid any human hand moisturizer. This is because it can soften the pads as well as lead to significant injuries.

6. Be ready for first aid

It is quite unusual for dogs to suffer from wounds or cuts because of accidentally stepping on debris, glass or other objects. However, if this happens, you can use an antibacterial wash to clean wounds that are smaller than half an inch in terms of diameter. After cleaning, wrap him or her with a light bandage. Consult a vet for deep paw cuts.

7. Summertime sores

Just imagine stepping barefoot on a hot pavement. Ouch! It is more than important to remember that your dog’s paws normally feel extreme heat too. Avoid walking your pretty dog on hot sand or pavement. It prevents blisters and burns.

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Dr. Jade Marie Tomaszewski is a pathologist-in-training at McGill University, where she also did her degree in MSc Pathology. She obtained her medical degree (MD) from the University of the Philippines, after completing a BSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. In her (little) spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, curling up with a book and a large mug of tea, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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