Just spend 10 minutes with Google and you’ll quickly find out that there are rafts of information on any topic you could possibly think of… dog paw care included! So, we thought we would do the hard work for you, so you can spend that valuable time taking the dog for a walk! We’re nice like that, so read on to see our list of what we think are the top tips for dog paw care…
Too busy to read the whole the post? Jump to each section here:
- Puppy Pedicure
- Regular Paw Inspections
- Keeping Dog Paws Soft and Protected
- Doggie First Aid
- Keeping an Eye on the Track
So let’s start at the beginning, it’s a great place to start! And this is an easy one…
Making sure your dog’s nails are kept nice and trim is not just so they look nice, or they don’t accidentally catch you whilst you’re playing, unhealthy nails can actually cause serious pain and, in some circumstances, can even cause irreparable damage!
The living section inside the nail is called the ‘quick’ and this is the bit with all the nerves, the rest of it is just shell. By keeping on top of your dog’s nail trimming you’re ensuring that the quick stays at an acceptable level and doesn't get too long! If it gets too long and you then cut the nail, you’re going to cause your dog some serious pain!
As well as this, long nails cause your dog to adjust the way that they walk which can lead to tendon damage in the future. When it comes to clipping the nails, grinding them is the best option and it’s the option favoured by most dog groomers as it’s more difficult to accidentally clip through the quick, if you get close whilst grinding, I’m sure your dog will let you know!
Grind them down to a 45-degree angle following the angle of the nail growth, and the nails should barely touch the ground. If you’re nervous about doing this yourself, it’s something most groomers and vets will happily do for you or even show you so you can do it yourself next time!
Finally, don’t forget the hairs in between the nails, these can cause your dog some pain if they get too long and matt, comb them out and give them a trim!
Regular Paw Inspections
Due to the shape and nature of dog’s paws, there are plenty of cracks and crevasses for some unwanted debris to get into and go unnoticed, this could be things like grit, bits of stones or mud and dirt, we want to try our best to make sure these things are removed as soon as possible as they can cause skin irritation which could be painful for your dog.
The best thing to do would be to have a check after every walk and when you’re giving them a brush, if you find anything suspicious then you can wash the paws with warm water making sure you thoroughly rinse and dry. Making this part of your routine may take a few extra minutes but could save your dog pain and discomfort if anything were to go unnoticed!
Inspecting your dog's paws is even more important during summer and winter too. During hot months you should be checking for paw burns, tenderness and damage; during winter you should inspect and wash paws after each walk to avoid de-icing chemicals and salts lingering and causing discomfort.
Keeping Dog Paws Soft and Protected
There are countless situations that can lead to your dog’s paws becoming dry and cracked, excessive temperatures found in the height of summer or winter, long walks, walking on hard or rough surfaces. Dry paws will soon turn to cracked paws and cracked paws soon become painful for your dog, that’s why it's important to keep them soft and moisturised.
This can be achieved using a paw balm like Soft Paws which includes ingredients known for penetrating deeply and keeping your dog’s paws nice and soft with regular and repeated use.
When moisturising it’s important to understand that you should never use products made specifically for humans as dog’s skin is much more sensitive than ours and dog products are created with just that in mind. Soft Paws only uses ingredients that agree with a dog’s skin and uses natural and chemical free ingredients too so can be assured that Soft Paws will only benefit your pooch!
Doggie First Aid
It’s almost inevitable that at some point during one of your walks with your dog, the poor thing is going to get a cut or a scrape to their paw, when this happens it’s important to deal with it as soon as possible and keep an eye on it, you wouldn’t want it to turn into something more sinister!
To start you should give the affected paw a good wash with warm water to get rid of any grit or debris and ensure the wound is clean. You should then follow this with an anti-bacterial wash to ensure the paw is clean at a bacterial level, just because it looks clean to the eye doesn’t mean it always is, better to be safe than sorry! Finally, you need to bandage the paw up, making sure its nice and tight (but not too tight!).
If your dog is reluctant to leave the dressing alone and is licking and biting, you could try putting on a dog paw boot or something similar as your dog licking the area could slow down healing or even make it worse!
For anything worse than a small cut, scrape or graze, you should be heading straight to the vet for professional advice.
If you’re going to be heading out on a long walk or hike, make sure you have a doggie first aid kit in your pack, you never know when you might need it.
Keeping an Eye on the Track
The last tip for this part is probably something you do without even realising but it’s definitely worth mentioning!
When walking your dog, make sure you’re looking ahead for anything in your path that could hurt your dog’s paws, this could be broken glass from a bottle or sharp stones to sharp sticks or thorns. Keep in mind that you’ll be wearing shoes but your dog’s pads are constantly exposed and vulnerable. It’s worth mentioning that you should regularly check your garden for these hidden hazards as well as when you’re out and about!