You might think your dog’s paws are indestructible, but in reality they are very sensitive. Walking on bare paws is just like walking on bare feet for us humans. While it’s perfectly okay to walk on bare paws on soft, cool terrain, walking on very hot concrete can result in injuries. So can walking on other hazardous materials like sharp objects and chemicals. Even walking along rough foliage can wound or scratch your dog’s paws.
As a responsible pet owner, you should check your dog’s paws regularly for scratches and wounds. You should also take precautionary measures to protect against injury. Checking your dog’s paws for injuries or irregularities is just part of regular pet grooming.
Inspect your dog’s paws regularly. Dogs can walk on all sorts of dangerous materials without you knowing. Things you should watch out for are scratches and sores. You will need to inspect your dog’s front and hind paws regularly to check if he is having these problems. Sometimes, changes in behavior will be indicative of problems with your dog’s paws or legs. Watch out for limping, constant licking, or when he avoids using one paw. These should be checked by the vet right away.
Keep his surroundings free from hazards. Chemicals, broken glass and sharp objects can injure your dog’s paws. Make sure your home is free from such hazards. Even sharp weeds and burrs on your garden or lawn can cause injuries. Keep these away from your garden to prevent injuries. Ensure that your dog’s sleeping and playing area are also free from abrasive surfaces.
Watch where you walk your dog. Concrete can absorb heat throughout the day and will give off heat even through the night. Avoid walking your dog on concrete especially during midday. Keep off the concrete sidewalks during hot summer months. Opt instead to walk on grass, wooden paths, or other natural pathways.
Wash with warm water after walking on snow. During winter months, meanwhile, keep your dog’s paws free from frostbite by washing with warm water after walking on snow or ice. These areas might have been treated with chemicals like a de-icer. These can be ingested if your dog licks his paws. You can apply petroleum jelly on his paws to protect against cracks and scratches during cold months.
Get him to wear dog booties. These are available at pet stores. Dog booties or shoes will protect against rough terrain, hot concrete or snow. Just make sure your dog gets used to wearing these and does not take them off easily. Dog booties come in different sizes and styles. You can go for ones that have a thick sole, for better protection.
If you notice any injury or soreness on your pet’s paws, take him to the vet as soon as you can. These are problems can start small and easily grow. Small sores and wounds can be treated at home, but it’s best to make sure the condition is not serious. Still, prevention is the best cure for any condition, so keep your dog away from very hot concrete, rough terrain, and extreme weather.