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Dogwood Animal Hospital

2050 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045

Taking Care Of Your Dog’s Paws

May 1 2024

Does your dog have any cute paw tricks in his repertoire, such as Shake or High Five? Does Fido ever place his paw on your leg to get your attention or politely request pets, walks, or treats? Fido’s adorable paws have become his unofficial symbol: we frequently use paw prints to indicate that certain items or pieces of art are related to our canine companions. Those cute paws play a crucial role in maintaining your pet’s overall health and well-being, just as our feet do for us. In this article, a local Lawrenceville, GA vet provides valuable information on how to properly care for your dog’s paws.

How Do I Protect My Dog’s Feet On Walks?

Be mindful of the terrain while walking your pet. When the weather is very hot or very cold, have Fido walk on soft grass whenever you can. Avoid walking on hot surfaces during the summer months.

This is especially true when your pet has been swimming. When dogs’ paws become wet, they can become quite sensitive, much like our own skin. Fido is prone to developing blisters if he runs around too much too soon after being in the water.

How Can I Tell Whether Or Not My Dog’s Paws Are In Good Condition?

Obviously, something may be wrong if you notice your dog limping or showing a preference for his paws. Something like that should warrant an immediate call to the vet. Aside from that, regularly checking your pet’s paws is the best practice here. This is easy to work into cuddle time or training sessions. Check for any signs of bumps, bruises, cuts, ticks, or blisters. Also, be on the lookout for any foreign objects that may be present, such as ticks, thorns, foxtail grasses, or even gum. 

If you find a small scrape, you can take care of it at home by using antiseptic. Reach out to your Lawrenceville, GA veterinarian for any more serious injuries.

Is It Good To Trim The Fur On My Dog’s Toes?

Those little tufts are cute, but they can trap gunk, such as gum or ice balls. It’s probably best to keep them clipped.

Is It Good To Clean My Dog’s Paws After Every Walk?

It won’t hurt! During the summer months, this can effectively eliminate dust and pollen. That will be incredibly beneficial if your pet suffers from allergies.

In winter, salt, sand, and chemical de-icers can cause painful scrapes and abrasions. If you can, consider using de-icing products that are safe for pets. These options are gentler on your furry friend’s paws. But it’s also a good idea to wipe your canine pal’s paws down after walks.

Keep pet wipes or clean cloths and a spray bottle of water near the door. Teach your furry companion that he will be rewarded with a treat for allowing you to clean his paws.

You might even be able to teach Fido to clean his own paws! Put a bath mat or thick doormat near the door you and Fido use to go in and out, and give your furry friend a tasty snack for wiping his paws. (This will also help reduce the amount of mud your canine pal tracks into the house.) Consult your veterinarian for advice on training.

Trimming Fido’s Nails

Fido needs pawdicures to prevent his nails from becoming excessively long. This is actually more important than you may realize. Your furry friend may experience quite a bit of discomfort from having overgrown claws. Additionally, long nails can disrupt the alignment of your pet’s toes with the ground. That can lead to a myriad of issues. Fido may struggle to gain traction, particularly when walking or running on slippery surfaces. That increases the risk of your pet slipping and falling, which can cause injuries, especially in old or large dogs.

Overgrown nails also affect your pet’s weight distribution and stride. That is quite uncomfortable as well. In addition, it may contribute to or worsen bone and joint problems, such as arthritis.

Lastly, longer nails are more prone to tearing and ripping, which can result in painful and potentially dangerous infections.

How Can I Get Fido To Let Me Cut His Nails?

Some of our canine pals are definitely not fans of having their nails cut. Telling Fido how important this is probably won’t get you too far, of course. Getting your dog on board may require some time, patience, gentle persuasion, and perhaps a little incentive.

Start by gently massaging his paws. Reward him with a delicious treat when you do this. Tricks can be incredibly useful in this situation. You want Fido to believe that he’ll receive a delicious treat for allowing you to touch his paws. Opt for a top-notch option, like steak or a meatball. Bacon wouldn’t be inappropriate,  though of course you don’t want to go too crazy with high-fat treats.

Initially, just hold your pup’s paws, offer him his treat, and release him. Once he has become accustomed to this, introduce the clippers. Let him become accustomed to the clicking sound they make. Keep up with the treats and praise!

Once Fido has learned to accept this, you can begin clipping. Remember that you don’t have to do all four paws at once. Do one at a time and rotate. (If your dog tends to have a short attention span and/or limited tolerance for pawdicures, this approach might be more effective anyway.)

How Do I Cut My Dog’s Nails?

You can find tutorials online, but we would always recommend asking your vet to demonstrate proper techniques. You can also get clippers with sensors, which indicate where to cut. It’s important to avoid cutting into the quick, which is the sensitive area where your pet’s nerves and blood vessels are located. Always keep styptic powder readily available to address any bleeding.

Is It Good To Moisturize My Dog’s Paws?

Absolutely! Keeping Fido’s adorable little paw pads moisturized can help prevent any discomfort from cracks or chafing.

Use a good paw balm or paw wax. This will provide a protective barrier between your dog’s skin and hot or abrasive surfaces. There are plenty of different ones available. Or, you can create your own! Here’s a simple recipe from the AKC website:

List of ingredients:

  • 2 TBSP oil, such as olive, sunflower, or sweet almond oil
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 TBSP shea butter
  • 4  TSP beeswax.

Combine the oils, shea butter, and beeswax in a pot, and stir on low heat until they are fully melted. Carefully transfer the mixture into small tubes or tins. Allow it to cool until it becomes solid, and then label it. This would also make a great gift for Fido’s friends. It’s always a good idea to include a list of ingredients, just in case any of the dogs or their owners have allergies.

Contact Your Lawrenceville, GA Pet Clinic

Do you need any advice on how to properly care for your furry friend’s paws? Does Fido need to come in for a visit to our animal clinic? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us, your Lawrenceville, GA animal hospital, at any time! We’re here to help! 

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