How to Protect your Dog's Paws
Our four-legged family members can get just as cold in winter and hot in summer as we do. Their paws in particular, are quite vulnerable. If any paw pains are left untreated, they can cause plenty of discomfort. To help prevent any paw problems, read about how to protect dog paws for the coldest and hottest months of the year.
Clean and check
The best defence is a good offence. As pet parents, make it a habit to regularly check your dog’s paws after each walk. Pebbles, dirt, glass and other debris can sometimes get caught in their paws, so it’s a good idea to take a quick peek at your pooch’s paws after being outside. Keep a washcloth near the front door handy, to be able to wipe their feet. Pay close attention to between each toe.
Buying booties for your dog’s paws is one of the best ways to protect them in winter. Not only do they provide warmth to prevent frostbites, they also protect the pads from salt and chemicals. Canine booties can be found in most pet stores and online. Some dogs tend to not like them as they can be uncomfortable. Try having your dog wear the booties for short periods inside the house to get used to them and reward your pup afterwards. Make sure the boots aren’t too tight or too lose.
If your dog absolutely cannot stand booties, there are other options. Paw balm is used to create a protective layer on your dog’s paw pads. Apply a layer on your dog’s paws before going on a winter walk. After the walk, wipe their paws with a washcloth to remove any snow or ice. Lastly, apply another layer of balm to keep them from drying out and prevent any soreness.
Ice can be slippery and cold for our canine friends. It can also have sharp edges which can possibly cut your dog’s delicate paws, giving them small and painful injuries. If possible, try to avoid walking your dog on icy patches.
The heat can also be harmful for your dog’s paws. Paved surfaces can absorb hot temperatures, and your pooch will surely feel the heat if they are on the pavement or sand for too long. Some hot paw hazards include: pad burns, blistering, and tissue loss. Try taking your dog out for walks in the morning or evening to beat the heat. If you notice your dog has minor burns on their paws, you can apply antibacterial wash and protect the paws with canine booties. If the burn is more serious, visit your veterinarian.
Also similar to humans, dogs need to keep their nails trimmed. Having their nails cut will help prevent paw problems and possible infections. If you hear or notice your pup’s nails click-clacking when they walk on hard surfaces, then it’s time for their nails to get clipped. If you feel nervous about cutting your dog’s nails, you can ask your groomer or veterinarian for helpful suggestions.
Moisturize and massage
It’s possible for dog pads to become too dry, leading to cracking and bleeding. When moisturizing your dog’s paws, use pad moisturizers specifically designed for dogs and not human use. When rubbing in the lotion, give your furry friend a paw massage at the same time. This will help relax your dog and reinforce better circulation. Rub between the pads on the bottom of your dog’s paw, and between each toe. Your pooch will appreciate the pampering.