The other day when I let my dogs out for a potty break, I ran outside without shoes. I don’t know about where you live, but the weather is already getting up into the 80s here is Texas. My goodness, my feet were burning! I had to jump into the grass to cool off my tootsies. As I was standing there with burned feet, I immediately started thinking about my dogs’ paws. I usually begin thinking more about paw care in the hot summer months, but truly, it’s an important conversation to have all year long.
A huge misconception that many people have is: A dog’s paws can tolerate anything. That’s not true. Just like human feet, paws can crack, blister, and bleed. They’re not made of armor. According to the AKC, a dog’s paw is made up of skin, bone, tendons, ligaments, blood supply, and connective tissue. That doesn’t sound all that different than our anatomy.
To help keep your pooch’s paws healthy all year long, check out the following tips:
Just like you moisturize your own hands and feet, dog paws can benefit from a good moisturizer too! Paws can crack and bleed when they’re too dry. So a good paw moisturizer or wax could work wonders. It’s important to note that you should never use human lotion on your dog’s paws because it could make them too soft and lead to injury. Rather, there are plenty of dog pad moisturizers on the market. You can ask your vet for a good recommendation OR you can even make your own. Check out this recipe by Planet Paws (note: while they have tailored this video to the harsh winter months, it’s a great paw wax recipe for any time of the year):
Check Your Pup’s Toes
If your dog enjoys long walks in the park or around your neighborhood then make sure to do a daily toe check! It’s pretty easy for little pebbles or sharp stickers to get stuck in the crevices of your dog’s foot.
If you notice any cuts or scrapes on your dog’s foot pads, clean the area with a dog-friendly antibacterial wash. Then, put some antibacterial cream on the pad and wrap with a bandage.
During The Summer
Just like how I felt the extreme heat on my feet when I stepped barefoot on the pavement the other day, dogs feel that too. During the scorching summer months, try your best to avoid walking your dog on blacktop, pavement, or sand. If you notice blisters, ulcerated patches, or red marks on your pup’s paws then they are burned. If it’s a mild burn, immediately wash their paws with an antibacterial soap and then loosely wrap with gauze. For more serious burns, make sure to visit your vet ASAP.
During The Winter
It’s not just the summer months that are rough on your dog’s tootsies. The harsh winter weather can leave paws chapped and cracked. Plus, during the winter, your area’s roads may be covered in rock salt and chemical ice melts. When your dog’s feet are exposed to such chemicals, it can lead to sores, infections, and blisters.
Your dog’s paws aren’t the only part of your dog’s body that could be infected by ice melt chemicals. If your dog licks his paws, he will ingest those chemicals. Not good! As a precaution, rinse your pup’s paws with warm water after winter walks. Additionally, you may want to get a good pair of dog booties.