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Watch those paws: how to care for your dog’s feet

by Kira Garrett | February 28, 2014

Your dog has some durable paws, but they certainly aren’t indestructible. You throw on your hiking boots for a climb in the mountains and your rubber boots in the rain. Dogs don’t have that luxury—their paws come in contact with all kinds of surfaces when they walk, run, play, swim. This exposure can lead to some painful injuries if you aren’t careful to help your pet tend to his tootsies.

Here are some tips to help your pet keep those feet healthy:

Moisturize

Dryness in your pup’s paw pads can lead to cracking, which is extremely painful and those cracks can get infected. Just like your own heels, a moisturizer can help keep your pet’s paw pads from cracking. Look for an all-natural balm or salve, as you can expect your pet will attempt to lick it off. Espree Natural Paw Balm is one of our favorites, since it contains natural beeswax, Vitamin E and arnica. You can also dab some olive oil on those paw pads, but this can get messy!

Get a pedicure

Keeping your pup’s paws trim is essential to keeping him in good health. If you allow the hair between his paw pads to grow too long, it can end up matted, which is painful for your pup, not to mention can harbor bacteria and lead to infection. It’s also easier to remove lodged items, like pebbles, prickers or foxtails when hair is trim. Keeping your pup’s nails tidy is also important. Overgrown nails can break more easily, leaving your pup susceptible to the same discomfort you face when your nail breaks too close to the nail bed.

Winter wear

Icy sidewalks often call for salt treatments. That salt that keeps you from slipping can be harmful to your pup’s paws. Not only can the salt pellets irritate his paw pads, but they can also be deadly when ingested. Dog booties are a great option for pet owners who enjoy long strolls through the winter months, as they will not only protect your pup’s feet from agitation, but will allow for easy cleanup when you return home. If you prefer your dog doesn’t don booties, clean off his feet immediately after returning home. A washcloth wetted with warm water will do the trick, but it’s important you clean his feet before he tries to!

Summer fun

During those steamy summer months, sidewalks can get very hot. When you walk your pet on a warm day, take frequent breaks to give your pup’s feet a break. Look for grass wherever possible, as this will be cooler for him to stroll on. A trip to the dog park or your favorite hiking trail can be a better option than a stroll through the city on the steamiest days.

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