Even though your dog spends so much time on his feet running, jumping and fetching, he does it with only one type of footwear—his paws. A paw is the soft foot of a mammal that has claws or nails. It is characterised by a thin epidermis covering connecting tissues and blood vessels that make up the pad of the paw. A paw pad is the toughest part of your furkid’s skin. The paw pads act like cushions to protect bones and joints. Likewise, they provide support, reduce pressure and absorb the shock caused by Fido’s movements. As tough as paw pads might sound, they are certainly not made of armour. With so much to explore and so many activities for your active furkid to do, it’s no wonder his paws take a bit of a beating.
Here are five paw care tips that you can do to keep those feet happy.
No, we are not asking you to paint Fido’s nails pink. However, if you notice that his nails are clicking or getting snagged on the floor, it’s time to trim them. Overgrown nails can break, bleed or even grow into the feet, causing your dog a lot of discomfort. Clip them once a month to prevent that from happening. Avoid cutting too close to the quick, which is a vein that runs through the nail.
Brush the mats out
Due to the friction that occurs when a dog walks, their fur on their paws tends to mat easily. This is especially so in breeds such as Schnauzers or Shih Tzus. Hence, owners need to trim and brush it once a week to avoid knots from forming as they can become irritants when they cake and harden. Remove any matted fur carefully with a pair of scissors. Clip in small snips instead of cutting large chunks to avoid injuring your furry friend. Likewise, trimming Fido’s paw hairs also gives your canine better traction as the long fur can cause him to slip on surfaces such as laminate flooring.
Avoid walking fido when it’s too hot outside
Imagine standing barefooted in the middle of the road under the scorching sun. That’s exactly how Fido feels when he walks on hot pavements. Besides the extreme discomfort, the paw pads can be burned. Other injuries range from abrasions, blisters and ulcers. Try to walk your furkid in the mornings or evenings when it’s cooler. Alternatively, stick to shaded paths or grass patches and keep the walk short. Owners should also keep a lookout for telltale signs of burnt food pads. This includes limping, refusing to walk, pads that have turned darker than usual, visible redness in the paws, or blisters. Take Fido to the vet if you suspect that he has sustained a burn.
Shoes for dogs
While dog boots may not be necessary for most canines, consider investing in a pair when your furkid’s paws are showing the wear and tear of an active lifestyle. They can also be helpful for senior or disabled dogs, especially those with the tendency to drag their feet as they walk. Choose those with rubber soles to provide your pooch with improved traction. It is important to have good fitting boots for Fido, as they are likely to slip off if they are too big or risk cutting off circulation to his feet if they are too small. However, your furkid may need some time to get used to wearing boots. Start by putting them on when Fido is indoors for a few minutes each day. Reward him with lots of praises and treats. Over the next week, go for several short walks, gradually adding time and distance. Once he is comfortable with them, you will find Rover waiting eagerly to put on his shoes before heading out.
Use a moisturiser
As his feet come in contact with a variety of rough surfaces, it is inevitable for his paw pads to become dry or even cracked. While mild cracks are likely to heal on their own, overly dry and cracked pads should be attended to. Apply a generous amount of paw moisturiser to Rover’s feet after a bath. Massage it gently into the pads. Avoid using human hand cream and other moisturisers as the ingredients might not be safe for use on animals.
Photo source: dogs.lovetoknow.com