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Paw Care

8 Tips to Keep Dog Paws In Tip Top Condition

An active dog is a happy dog. But to remain active dogs need healthy paws. A little TLC and attention to the health of your dog’s paws goes a long way in ensuring walkies time remains fun for all.

These 8 tips will help keep your dog’s paws in tiptop condition:

1. Ensure your dog’s nails are kept trimmed.
If you are not confident doing this seek the services of a dog groomer or veterinary nurse.

Overgrown nails are prone to splitting and being torn which can prove particularly painful. Overly long nails also cause abnormal gait and paw placement leading to imbalance and increased load on other limbs.

2. Keep hair trimmed.
If your dog has hairy feet, keep the hair trimmed so it does not come in contact with the ground. This will prevent mud, sand, snow and ice from “balling” up and accumulating between the toes.

3. Protect paws from the cold.
Consider the use of booties or paw balm to protect pads from anti-freeze chemicals and industrial grade salts used on frozen ground.

4. Stop and check your dog’s paws after walking through mud, sand, ice and grass.
Trapped seeds, mud and sand can quickly rub in between the foot pads and cause irritation or infection. Grass seeds can quickly migrate into the skin causing an abscess to develop several weeks later. Remove seeds as soon as you see them.

5. Avoid walking your dog on hot surfaces
Hot tarmac and concrete can burn your dog’s pads. Avoid walking in the heat of the day and test the temperature of your walking surface by placing the back of your hand against the ground for at least 10 seconds.

6. Avoid rough surfaces for prolonged periods
Rough surfaces can wear away and erode the foot pads. Overweight and obese dogs carry excess weight load over each paw making pads particularly prone to wear and tear. Avoid sharp, rocky walking surfaces.

7. Paws of overweight dogs are prone to inter-digital dermatitis. 
This skin infection occurs between the toes and the foot pads. Hot, sweaty skin (dogs sweat from their foot pads) provides a haven for bacterial and fungal growth.

Inspect your dog’s paws regularly for red, sore, itchy and smelly skin. Seek veterinary attention if you find anything abnormal.

8. Check for deformity or misshapen foot pads.
Chronic weight gain can cause remodelling and spreading of the foot pads which often results in the pads rubbing when activity levels increase. Chronic rubbing causes lameness. This can be managed with rest, creams or anti-inflammatory medication. In extreme cases surgical resection may be necessary.

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