We usually think of our dogs’ paws as tough and able to take everything in stride, if you’ll pardon the pun. And most of the time that’s true. Under normal conditions, such as running and playing in the grass or on dirt, your dog’s paws can do their job. They can support his body and help him go from one place to another without any difficulty. But dogs live all over the earth with their human partners which means they can encounter some adverse conditions. Sometimes it’s necessary to protect your dog’s paws from bad weather, chemicals, and harsh environments.

Weather

One of the most most frequent problems related to a dog’s paws are bad weather conditions. Both extreme heat and icy cold can cause problems for your dog’s paws. In both cases the problem is often made worse by walking on pavement and other city surfaces. Hot pavement can hurt your dog’s paw pads, especially if he has to walk on excessively hot pavement for long periods of time. Your dog’s paws are not as sensitive as your feet, but you should definitely try to avoid hot pavement with your dog if possible.

In the winter, pavement can become icy and it’s hard for dogs to walk on the ice, just as it is for you. In addition, many cities put down de-icing chemicals on pavements and roads which are harmful to dogs if ingested. This means that if your dog licks his paws when he gets home, the chemicals can hurt him. So, if you take your dog for a walk on icy pavements or roads in the winter, be sure to rinse or wash his paws off with warm water when you get home so he won’t lick off these dangerous chemicals.

In both cases – hot and cold pavements – a dog’s paws can become chafed and cracked from walking on these less than ideal surfaces. Fortunately, there are some good products you can use to put on your dog’s paws which will help prevent this kind of chafing and cracking. Look for products for paws that say they toughen or protect a dog’s paws. They usually contain wax or petroleum jelly type ingredients.

Snow

Snow can pose a special problem for longhaired dogs and their paws. It will make little frozen balls between your dog’s toes and paw pads when he walks or plays in it. You can prevent this with some breeds by keeping the hair between the toes and pads trimmed. Or, you can be sure to rinse the paws with warm water when your dog comes in from being out in the snow to make sure the little snow balls melt away.

Paw care

You can also keep your dog’s paws in good shape by trimming the nails regularly. Nails that are allowed to grow too long can ultimately cause your dog problems. There are nail trimmers, clippers, and scissor-style cutters so you can trim your dog’s nails yourself at home. If you start when your dog is young and take off just a small portion each week, most dogs will tolerate the procedure well. If you or your dog hate doing nails, you can have your vet or a pet groomer trim the nails for you.

Booties

Besides bad weather and city living, some dogs live in places where walking can be difficult. Rocky landscapes, lots of snow, and other issues may present problems for a dog’s paws. Old age can also make it hard for a dog to get a good grip with his paws. In these cases, dog booties are often a good idea. You can buy sets of four booties or sets of two and use them only on the back paws. Booties with gore-tex soles are often recommended for better gripping. Booties for dogs can work the same way they do for humans – they protect the dog’s paws and give him added gripping ability. They’re especially good if the dog has to do any climbing and they can help with elderly dogs who sometimes have problems getting their balance on slippery floors.

Even dogs who live in the city can benefit from wearing booties to protect them from hot pavement, ice, and rain.

Keep in mind that some dogs have very tough pads and they probably don’t need to wear booties and only need to have sensible precautions taken to keep their paws safe. Every dog is different. But if you have a dog who does have more sensitive paws, there are some good ways to protect his paws no matter where you live or what the two of you face.

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One Response

  1. 1 Valpetrening
    2015 Apr 18

    Very nice post! ^^ Thanks for sharing those wonderful thoughts! Very useful guidelines.