Dogs paw pads: 6 amazing and easy care tips
Let's talk about one of the most ignored part of the dog anatomy, the paw pads.Caring for your dog's foot (paw pads) is of utmost importance. They walk all day, everyday most often without shoes. They can suffer from burnt paws or blisters due to the following:
- Walking on gravelly surfaces on the streets
- Walking on over heated roads
- Rubbing their paws on rough surfaces
- Development of mats between the toes
There is a lot to be taken into consideration besides just trimming your dog's nails when it comes to caring for their paw pads.
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|Paw pads need care too|
What are paw pads?Paw pads are made up of pigmented skin (usually pink or black) which cover the paws fatty tissue. Since fat is insulative in nature, they give your dog's paws some protection during the winter season. They also make up an integral part of your dog's foot structure and work alongside your dog's nails to provide protection to the paws.
Paw pads are responsible for maintaining your dog's balance, absorb shock, provide stability as well as traction.
You must have noticed that your dogs paws are either calloused and rough or soft and smooth. The smoothness of the paw depends on a variety of factors like:
- If you're dog is young and hyperactive, goes in daily walks or hikes on rough surfaces, chances are that her/ she will have rough paws.
- On the other hand, if you have an older dog who does not go for walks much or if your dogs mostly spends time running on grass, your dog is more likely to have a smoother paw.
Maintenance of your dog's paw pads:
Form a habit of regularly checking your dog's paws:Gently spread their toes apart and check the sides of the paw pads for the presence of any abrasions, injuries or any foreign objects which may have got lodged between the paw pads.
Make sure to also check for the presence of any discoloration or swelling. Furthermore, watch your dog closely to see if he/ she shows any sign of being in pain while you are inspecting his/ her paw pads.
How to check if a surface is okay for your dog to walk on?Put the back of your hand on the hot pavement or the hike trail you want to take your dog on. Hold it there for 7 seconds. If you can maintain your hand on that surface for 7 seconds, then it is okay for your dog to walk on. If you cannot keep your hand on the surface, then it is not fit for your dog to walk on either.
On the other hand, snow ice or salt can also be detrimental to your dogs paws. The ice melt products are not dog safe. They can even cause drying out, cracking or burning of the paws. Furthermore, it can turn out to be toxic if ingested by licking the paws.
Keeping the paw pads healthy
Get your dog used to wearing dog bootiesDog booties are not always for making funny videos. Granted, when dogs wear booties for the first time, they have some pretty hilarious responses. But jokes aside, if you can get your dog used to wearing boots, nothing better than that. Look for boots which are well fitted, sturdy and non slippery kind.
Moisturize your dog's paws
If you don't find boots which stay on or if your dog simply hates wearing boots, you can try regularly moisturizing his or her paws with paw balm or paw wax. These paw balms create an invisible barrier on your dog's paw and repel dirt, salt and ice, thus keeping the paws healthy.
Always use the paw balms before taking your dog for a walk. You can also use some coconut oil for an everyday paw massage. It will keep the pads healthy, prevent any microbial infection and massaging your pup's paws will let him or her relax after a long day of constantly being active on the paws. Check out the the other amazing benefits of coconut oil for dogs.
Keep the fur in paw pads trimmed and mat free
Always make sure to keep the fur growing between your dog's paws trimmed and short. This helps to provide increased traction on slippery surfaces as well as helps prevent matting. It also makes it easier to inspect their paw for any injury or abrasion.
Dogs with single coat generally don't have much fur underneath their feet, but dogs with thick coats have fuzzy feet which can benefit from regular trims.
Dealing with toe tangles and matted fur
If your dog has matted fur between the toes, use olive oil to loosen the mat and then very gently try to comb it out. However, it's best recommended to leave it to the groomers to remove the matted fur as it can be a pretty painful process for your dog.
Dog paw pad cut/injury/wound care:Paw injuries are not very uncommon in dogs whether they are puppies or senior dogs. In case, your dog is hurt, always make sure to consult your vet before trying to fix the injury on your own. However, there are a few steps which can be taken immediately in case you are stuck or do not have an access to the vet:
- First, clean the wound with warm water.
- Do a second clean with Betadine.
- Clean out particles which might be stuck in the foot with tweezers.
- Dry out the paw pad with light motions. Be careful to not hurt the paw any further.
- Apply a 'dog specific' antibiotic ointment.
- Apply a bandage so that your dog does not lick off the antibiotic.
- Consult your veterinarian.
Paw pad blister treatment:
If you notice your dog's paws developing blisters due to walking on hot surfaces, reduce the walk time to allow the blisters to heal. Meanwhile, keep the blisters clean by washing with water. Do not use peroxide on the blister, it will slow down the healing process. Only apply Neosporin to the blisters twice daily until the sores heal up. Call your vet in case a pain medication is needed.
Other dog paw issues
Dogs' feet possess sweat glands which enable them to cook down during hot conditions. E0 also have scent glands which leave behind pheromones which indicate to other dogs of their presence.Most people complain of their dog's feet smelling like corn chips. This is due to the growth of yeast or bacteria under your dog's feet. However, if the smell is too strong, it is time to pay a visit to the vet. Your dog's paw pad might be suffering from some infection caused by environmental and food allergies.
HyperkeratosisCanine hyperkeratosis can either be genetic or an underlying medical condition. Under this condition, the paw pads of the dogs look crusty, thick, rough and it may seem like they have fur growing out of their paw pads or nose. Take your dog to the vet immediately if you notice any such symptoms. In the meanwhile, keep the paws protected and moisturized with paw pad balm to reduce the discomfort of your dog.
Make your own DIY dog paw balmI always prefer to know the ingredients of what I am putting on Delta. Thus, I prefer to make a paw balm for him.
For this DIY paw balm recipe you will need:
- A double boiler or a small pot
- Lip balm tubes or lip balm tins
- A kitchen scale (completely optional)
- 2 oz. (approx. 2 tbsp.) olive, sweet almond or sunflower oil
- 1 oz. (approx. 1 tbsp.) shea butter
- 4 tsp. beeswax
- 2 oz. (approx. 2 tbsp.) coconut oil
- In a double boiler or a small pot, melt the shea butter, oil and beeswax on low heat. Stir the concoction continuously until it is melted and well mixed. pour the mixture carefully into the lip balm tins or tubes
- Let them cool on the counter until they become hard.
- Store them away from extreme heat
- Apply the balm to soften your dog's paws or nose or as a preventive treatment. Use it within 1 to 2 years of making.
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