Your dog needs to rely on their paws and pads for everything, whether they’re playing fetch, going for a walk, a run in the yard, or a romp at the local dog park. But have you ever really stopped to think about how sensitive your dog’s paws and pads are? Just like our feet, their paws need to be taken care of, and could always use a little extra TLC. Depending where you live and how active your dog is, they can be exposed to all kinds of weather conditions as well as a variety of surfaces. Every pet parent wants to make sure their dog’s paws always get the best protection, so keep reading to find out:
Feet are something we humans tend to take for granted at times since we always go out and about with a pair of shoes on to protect them. Dogs don’t have that luxury, which is why their feet are well equipped with sturdy pads. The pads on your dog’s feet are composed of a thick layer of fur-free skin, which in turn encompasses a layer of fat and tissue, giving them their distinct “padded” shape. Texture and thickness on pads can vary depending on what types of surfaces your pet typically traverses throughout the day.
The pads on the soles of your dog’s feet not only help them be their fun, playful selves, but they also serve as a way to keep themselves balanced. Think of all the ways that your dog moves throughout the day, and then you’ll understand why it is so necessary for them to have a good solid support on their feet. Their pads also assist with stability and are an enormous help when it comes to shock absorption-- as anyone who has seen a dog leap over a fence or catch a ball mid air can attest to. Even though they may feel rough, the pads on your dog’s feet are very sensitive, much like our own two feet and should be cared after with some simple preventative actions. No one wants to see their pup have an issue with their paws, which can not only prevent mobility, but also be incredibly painful for them.
If your dog has a cut, an abrasion, or something lodged into their foot, there is always the potential that it can get infected if it goes unnoticed. In addition to these problems, if you don’t regularly monitor the status of your dog’s pads, they could possibly develop a bacterial problem. All dogs’ feet smell somewhat, but if you notice that the odor has become overwhelming, it’s time to take some action and clean and protect their paws.
The same goes if you notice abnormally thick and cracked pads, which might be hyperkeratosis. This could be the result of your pup’s pads needing a little care, or might be some other cause, so check with your vet just to be sure.
Dog owners should make it a part of their care routine to regularly inspect the paws and pads of their dogs’ feet. This is important daily maintenance, but it is especially crucial if your dog is exposed to areas with a lot of loose gravel or salt, uneven pavement, or unknown terrain such as a meadow or forest. When you come back from a walk in these types of environments, check each paw for signs of abrasions or cuts, as well as any foreign objects that might have become lodged in between their toes or under their nails.
If you live in an area that sees a lot of cold weather, try to do this daily as salt and ice-melt can easily get caught in paws or can harm the pads of your dog’s feet. It’s recommended that you try to wash off your doggo’s paws after going for a walk in these types of environments. Hot weather can also do a number on paw pads, so try and avoid walking your friend when the sun has warmed up the pavement to an unreasonable temperature.
Another great way to make sure your pup’s pads are always in peak condition is to incorporate a conditioning spray that will lock in moisture and absorb into the pad in seconds-- meaning there’s no mess on your floors! A spray on that does not leave a residue might be a better option for those pet owners who don’t want the hassle of wiping on a balm and dealing with the possible mess. Conditioning sprays will protect these sensitive areas, and if there are any areas of irritated skin, will quickly and easily soothe them.
Another way to ensure your dog’s pads are protected no matter what the weather or the environment, is to get them into some doggy boots. These are a great option for active pets who just love their walks, runs, and playtime-- even in the extreme cold or heat. Booties give dog owners confidence because they know that their dog’s feet are protected no matter what, without compromising their pet’s exercise routine. Make sure the boots you do get are water resistant or waterproof.
Regardless of whether your dog has long or short fur, it’s important to keep the area around their paws neatly trimmed and tangle-free. Not only does short, trim foot fur make it easier to spot objects or cuts, but it also helps your pup keep their balance and stability on potentially icy surfaces. Regular trimming also keeps the fur from potentially becoming matted as well, especially with dogs who have a thick or heavy coat.
By incorporating regular paw maintenance and conditioning into your care routine, you can prevent foot issues before they ever occur.
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