How To Care For Your Dog’s Paws

How To Care For Your Dog’s Paws

For your dog’s wellbeing and health, it’s important to routinely care for their paws. Regular paw care can prevent lots of the problems that lead to painful irritation, infection, itching, and reduction in their quality of life.

Since dogs depend on their paws to get around, when they have problems, they can quickly become obsessive about their feet, leading to constant licking and chewing, which only makes the problem worse.

Paw problems don’t only affect dogs, either.  Owners suffer when their dog is miserable and keeps them awake at night with their constant chewing, licking, and biting.  Not to mention expensive vet bills.

Paw and Pad Care

To ensure your dog’s paws are in top condition, they should regularly be groomed and inspected weekly.  When checking their paws, be sure to check the sides and bottom of the pads for abrasions and splits, between the toes for foreign objects and unusual redness, and the nail length and condition.

It’s also important to be mindful of how the weather can impact the paws.  Hot asphalt can cause painful, devastating burns.  However, freezing cold temperatures, ice treatments, salt, sand, and chemicals can also injure their pads.

To help protect their paws, prevent your dog from walking on rough, hot or freezing surfaces or on harmful chemicals without protection, such as booties.  If paws do get occasionally irritated due to weather extremes and unexpected events, the tips below can help heal them.

When increasing your dog’s exercise, or if your dog isn’t used to taking long walks or hikes, you can help condition their paws and build up their calluses to prevent irritation by taking short excursions, gradually increasing the distance as their paws tolerate it.

To keep your dog’s paws healthy, here are some tips:


To keep paws healthy, keep them groomed.  To do this, make a habit of washing your dog’s paws and trimming away any excess fur between the pads that can collect debris such as stickers and tiny pebbles.  It will also help prevent the fur from becoming matted and make it easier to see what’s going on with them.

Nail Trims

Nail trims are important to a dog’s health and hygiene.  Nails that are too long can easily become injured, cause pain, and negatively impact your dog’s gait.  When nails are too long, they can also cause tendon problems and reduce traction.  Your dog’s nail shouldn’t hit the ground when they walk so if you hear clicking and scraping when your pet walks, it’s time for a trim. To keep your dog’s nail trimmed at home, all you need is a premium clipper like this one.

First Aid

In case you cut your dog’s nail too close to the quick or they break a nail, a good blood stop gel or styptic medicated powder will help stop the bleeding and prevent infection.  Products such as these can give you peace of mind when cutting nails at home.

Help for Smelly, Itchy, Irritated Paws

Your dog’s paws can easily become a hotbed of yeast overgrowth and bacteria, especially during allergy flare ups, when pollen is high, or if they begin licking and chewing their feet a lot.  To help keep your pet more comfortable, prevent infections and yeast overgrowth, and “Frito feat,” it can help to regularly wash your dog’s paws in a fresh smelling ketoconazole and chlorhexidine gluconate with soothing oatmeal shampoo such as this one. 

Heal Rough Skin or Cracked Paws

Since dog’s feet are in constant contact with the ground, they are exposed to many irritating surfaces and substances.  You can sooth dryness, roughness, abrasions, minor cracks, irritation, hyperkeratosis, and even itchiness and dry elbows with a healing paw balm that contains natural butters and plant oils.  Balms such as these also help keep paws healthy and skin flexible, thus less prone to minor injuries, cracks, and irritation.  Balms are also great to soothe sore paws after rough play or when massaging your dog’s feet.

Paw Protection

Booties or shoes are a great option when your dog will be walking on hot or super rough surfaces.  However, when booties are too much but you want a little extra protection, a paw protection wax can protect paws from damage caused by abrasive surfaces, not overly hot or cold pavement, ice, and salt.  It can also help sooth irritated paws and help heal sore feet.

Protecting your dog’s paws and preventing problems is the best way to keep your dog healthy and comfortable year-round.  Grooming, regular nail trims, and intervening at the first sign of a problem will keep your pup happily zooming around and playing their favorite games.  

Please feel free to share these paw care tips with your family and friends.

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