It is not uncommon for people to think their dog’s paws are indestructible. After all, nature made the pads to act like shoes. But the pads of a dog’s paws are as sensitive as they are strong. While the pads protect your pooch’s paws, as well as the joints and bones of the body, they are vulnerable to the elements.
Hot pavement, icy sidewalks, rocky terrain, gritty sand and wooded areas can be a dangerous place for a dog’s paws. Though the pads of the paws act like a cushion and protect the paws from a variety of surfaces, they can easily become damaged. Excessive heat from scorching black tops or sand on the beach can blister and burn a dog’s paws. Icy sidewalks can cause frostbite, and the salt often used to prevent slipping can be toxic. Rocky terrain and wooded areas can be particularly difficult since there are a host of potential issues, such as cuts from pointy rocks, embedded needles from pine trees, little pebbles getting caught in between the toes, etc.
So what can be done to help your furry companion stay healthy and remain active? Limit his time outside on hot and cold days, and be cognizant of the terrain he may be walking on. Check his pads regularly and be sure to clean out between the toes. Keep nails and hair trimmed to prevent injury or matting. Moisturize the pads with an appropriate moisturizer and don’t hesitate to give your furry loved one a paw massage. Just as our feet get tired, so can theirs!
Take your time introducing your dog to running, hiking or beach-going. Give their paws time to acclimate but beware of terrain that will only do harm, such as the hot pavement or sand. Be ready with first aid should your pooch’s paws need some attention. Do not be afraid to visit the veterinarian if you feel your furry friend’s paws need medical attention.
Your loving canine companion may be telling you something is up with her paws. Is she licking them incessantly? Chewing on them or biting at them? Pay close attention to between the toes or pads. If you are unable to find anything that seems to be causing the issue, other culprits such as allergies, obsessive compulsive disorder or boredom could be the problem.
Related: The importance of oral health care
Why does my dog smell bad?
Too close for comfort: Back away from the dog
In other news: Tiger parts in high demand
Family puppy found dead hanging from tree in Winchendon, MA
ASPCA: Top 10 Paw Care Tips For Dogs
AKC Canine Health Foundation: Keeping Dogs Paws Healthy