Dog Paw Care: Top tips to ensure good paw health
Dog paw care is important because, even though a dog’s footpads are the toughest part of his skin, they are not immune to injury. In fact, because of their function, paws are prone to all kinds of injuries including, cuts, punctures, abrasions, and blisters. Incorporate a thorough examination of the paws and foot pads into your daily routine and you’ll pick up any problems early.
Also, watch out for signs that your dog has a problem with his paws. These can include limping, holding the paw off the ground and constant licking and gnawing at the paw. If you observe any of these behaviors carry out a visual inspection. Be gentle, because even a mild-mannered dog can snap out if hurt. In fact, it may be a good idea to muzzle the dog before you start your examination.
Don’t forget to look between the toes because debris, twigs, thorns, and pieces of glass can quite easily become lodged there and cause pain or discomfort. Remove any foreign objects and treat minor wounds with an anti-bacterial wash. Bandage the wound if necessary, being sure to change the bandage at regular intervals so that the wound does not become infected.
It may also be necessary to put your dog in an Elizabethan collar for a few days so that he does not pull the bandage off. More serious wounds like deep cuts which may require stitches should always be referred to a vet immediately.
Dog Paw Care: Common Hazards to Your Dog’s Paws
- Glass, tin cans, and other debris can cut or injure a dog’s paw.
- In rural terrain, sharp and jagged rocks can be a problem.
- In the summer months, pavement and sidewalk surfaces can become extremely hot and painful for your dog to walk on. In severe cases, this can cause blistering to the footpads.
- In winter, ice and road salt can be a hazard
- Dogs who are not used to high activity levels can develop sensitivity, chaffing or cracking of the paws if their activity level is suddenly increased. Often dogs will continue with an activity even if they are hurting because they want to please their owner.
- A dog’s claws can also be a problem if not kept short. Catching and tearing a nail can be very painful.
Dog Paw Care: Preventing Injuries
A few commonsense measures will ensure that your dog’s paws remain injury free. These include;
- Keeping your home and garden clear of sharp objects, which could cause injury.
- Watching out for, and avoiding, hazards like broken glass and sharp stones, when walking your dog.
- Avoiding hot sidewalks in the summer, road salt and ice in the winter.
- Keeping your dog’s claws trimmed to prevent the nails catching and tearing.
- Inspecting your dog’s paws daily and remove twigs, grass seeds and other foreign objects which may cause pain or discomfort.