7 Tips for Year-Round Dog Paw Health

Dogs are continuously on their feet. Unlike humans, they run around barefoot their entire life. Most paw problems are not evident to many pet owners and therefore foot care is often ignored, but it is something that should be taken seriously because it can take a serious turn for the worse and cause a lot of discomfort and pain to our furry friends. Like our feet, our dog’s paws also need the same tender care. To keep your pup happy and healthy, here are seven tips that can help those tiny little paws stay healthy year-round.

Trimming Nails

Your dog’s overall health depends on nail care. Long nails can cause discomfort leading to permanent bone and joint problems and overgrown nails can cause painful injury as they grow into the dog’s pads. Trimming your dog’s nails on regular basis is very important to not just keeping your dog happy, but also comfortable.

Trimming Hair

Not all dogs need hair trimming but having long hair on the paws can cause painful matting which can eventually lead to skin infections and cause your dog to limp because of the pain caused by the infection and matting. If you want to keep your dog comfortable and healthy all year round, you will need to clean and trim your dog’s hair on a regular basis.

Doggie Booties

If you believe your furry friend is susceptible to foot injuries and requires extra protection, consider buying booties for the summer and winter months. Some dogs can benefit from them, especially if they have furry feet that collect ice and snow between the toes. Fit is super important for the booties to feel comfortable and to avoid rubbing against the dog’s paws. In this case, you may want to consider getting customized fitted booties just for your pooch.

Protecting Pads

Paw problems in dogs may not be obvious to pet parents, but it causes a lot of discomfort for our canine friends. If you are planning to take your dog out for a long run or walk, first check to see if his or her pads are cracked. A change in terrains such as hiking in the woods or too cold or too hot weather can not only cause injury to a dog’s pads, but they can also exacerbate existing issues. To remedy or prevent this from happening in the future, always wipe off your dog’s paws after a walk and use lotions and creams to keep your dog’s pads moisturized and healthy.  

Keep Your Dog’s Paws Dry

Excess of anything isn’t good and too much moisture can irritate your dog’s paws. Always dry his feet with a towel after a romp in the wet grass or a swim. At times excess moisture can come from paw licking, so try to encourage your pup to leave the habit behind. You can also try giving your dog weekly baths with a little bit of Epsom salt. This gets rid of the bacteria that causes your dog to lick his paws on a constant basis.

Use Non-toxic Ice Melter on Pavement

Some dog owners may find it strange, but this one tip is very important for the winters. Try to use a nontoxic ice melting salt on any pavement or driveways that your dog will have access to. Most of these ice melting concoctions contain rock salt, which can irritate the gastrointestinal system and even trigger seizures when eaten in large quantities.

Get Rid of Dog Paw Gunk

We often find icky sticky stuff on the ground to include tree sap, chewing gum, antifreeze, motor oil, you name it. Unlike humans, dogs don’t wear shoes, so they don’t have anything protecting them from getting all this stuff on their pads and into their mouths. Constantly check your dog’s paws on a regular basis for any gunk and clean them with a little bit of dishwasher detergent or olive oil to keep the gunk from getting in their mouths.  

When in doubt, it’s always best to practice preventive measures to avoid injuries or infections to the paw. Try and keep these tips in mind the next time you take your dog for a walk in the cold or hot weather.

Author: Michelle Anastasio-Festi

Photo Courtesy: PetMD