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Are Your Dog's Paws Healthy?

Updated on September 29, 2009

Maintaining Healthy Pads

The leathery surface of your pooch's paw is usually able to take whatever nature dishes out. Although they contend very well with gravel, rough surfaces, hot sidewalks and cold surfaces, they are not immune to injury. They can get scraped, bruised or cut and become very irritated and sore. Rocks or other objects can become lodged between pads causing potential problems.

Here are some tips on keeping your dog's pads healthy:

Inspect Your Dog's Pads Regularly

Your dog's feet require regular attention and maintenance to help prevent injury and also to treat injury immediately should it occur. Inspecting a dog's pads can be a bit tricky. Even dogs that are generally well behaved and sit still for baths and grooming get very fidgety and even frantic when it is time to inspect the pads. Try touching your dog's feet one at a time over a period of a few days. Rub the top of the foot and move to the pads and gently rub pads and in between pads. Once your dog gets used to you touching his feet, inspection should be a breeze.

Dog booties will protect your pet's feet in cold weather.
Dog booties will protect your pet's feet in cold weather.

Keep Your Dog's Paws Dry

Because your dog's feet are furry they can stay damp for hours at a time. This can damage the skin and even attract mosquitoes and fleas. It only takes a few seconds to towel-dry your dogs feet when they become damp. Be sure to dry between pads where moisture can accumulate. You can even dust with a little baby powder.

Cracks in the Pads

Outside dogs may have a bit more of a problem with cracks in pads especially in the colder months. When cracks appear, apply a little moisturizing lotion for a few days. Experts recommend Alpha Kerri Lotion or petroleum jelly. Apply lotion only until pads return to normal as excessive application may cause pads to become too soft to provide adequate protection.

Keep fur between toes trimmed to prevent dirt build-up.
Keep fur between toes trimmed to prevent dirt build-up.

Prevent Potential Problems

If pads become red, puffy or appear to be sore, soak feet for 5 to 10 minutes in cool water and antiseptic. If you find your pooch will not stand for this, try soaking a clean towel and clean the pads thoroughly making sure you get between the toes. Be sure to dry the feet afterwards.

Trim the Fur

Hair between the pads and toes can trap moisture and keep air from circulating. To trim hair, spread toes with your fingers. Following the line of the toe, cut straight down rather than across. This will help keep your dog's feet drier and ward off potential health problems.

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