Dogs put their paws through a lot of work, and unlike people, obviously don’t wear shoes to protect the soft pads of their feet from impacts, cuts, and the cold.
Although they are built to withstand a lot of use, dog paws need a lot of care to keep them healthy.
Check your dog’s paws
The earlier you spot an injury, the sooner you can treat it, and the sooner your dog can recover.
You should preferably check the feet of your dog after every walk. You can even incorporate these checks into your dog training, by teaching them to present their feet to you.
Even if you do check their feet regularly, you should still watch out for any indication your dog may be in pain. If they are limping or worrying at their paw with their teeth, they may have a thorn or other issue.
Dealing with an injured paw
If you do find a small injury on the pad of a foot, you should clean it out with some form of anti-bacterial solution, to limit the risk of infection. Your vet should be able to point you in the direction of a suitable solution.
If the cut or puncture on the foot is a bit bigger, you should take your pet to the vet so that they can be looked after professionally.
You should be giving your dog’s paws a once over every now and then, but you also need to get a bit more in-depth and make sure the paws are clean and free of detritus and aggravation.
Inspect the folds between the pads for any bits of gravel or glass which may have become wedged, and carefully remove any pieces with a pair of tweezers, if needed.
With a brush, you should comb away any mats in the fur on top of the paw, and trim it back a bit if it is becoming too long and a nuisance. (Look for the dog grooming and coat care guide for more information on grooming and brushes.)
You can then give your pooch’s feet a bit of love, and give them a massage on the pads and between each toe.
Just like our hands, the skin on paws can become dry and cracked. To prevent this, you can moisturise them.
However, you need to make sure that you use specialised dog paw moisturiser on your pooch’s feet, and not the human kind, otherwise you may weaken the skin and make them more prone to foot injuries.
Just like our nails, dog claws need trimming too. If you can hear the nails of your dog clicking on the floor, or worse, snagging on things, then you need to get them trimmed.
You can speak to your vet about the best way to trim the claws on your dog’s paw, or to a groomer. They can either do it for you (for a price) or show you the best trimmers and methods to use.
Letting your dogs claws grow too long can be dangerous, and can lead to them getting caught and pulling out, or causing other injuries to the foot.