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How to Protect Dog Paws – Everything You Need To Know

Paw problems in dogs may go unnoticed by pet owners, but they can cause a lot of pain for our canines if left untreated. To avoid paw issues like broken nails, pad burns, and frostbite, pet parents must take steps to protect their dogs’ paws all year long.

What are Paw Pads?

A layer of pigmented skin, usually pink or black, covers fatty tissue in the paw pads. Because fat insulates, it provides some protection for your dog’s paws against chilly surfaces in the winter. They’re also an essential element of your dog’s foot structure, teaming up with his nails (which protect the pads). Paw pads aid in your dog’s balance while also providing traction, stability, and shock absorption.

Common Dog Paw Issues 

Several possible paw dangers come with the cold weather, including: 

  • Chapping, Dryness, Cracking: Paw pads can be dried out by cold temperatures and dry air. De-icers can also cause irritation or chemical burns, such as salt burns on a dog’s paws. This can be uncomfortable, and your dog may develop sores or infections as a result, especially if they respond by licking or chewing their paws.
  • Frostbite: Frostbite may occur at any temperature below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, although it usually takes temperatures much lower to create significant difficulties. Frostbite is more likely when the temperature is below freezing, and the skin is wet from rain, snow, or swimming.
  • Paw Injuries: Ice patches edges, harsh elements on the pathways can cut through dog paws resulting in painful issues. 
  • Hypothermia: Hypothermia is a whole-body issue, but it is critical to ensure that the pup or the dog is not suffering from the disease. 
  • Poisoning: On a pet’s paws, toxic antifreeze, ice-melting chemicals, and de-icing salt might cause problems. If your dog licks his feet, he will have an upset stomach. Worse, they might become very ill as a result of the poisoning. 

Tools Needed to Protect Dogs Paws

To keep your dog’s paws protected, you will the products listed below:

Paw Balm
Using paw balms before going out can help to keep your dog’s moisturized
Buy at Chewy

Dog Boots
Using dog boots can help you protect your dog’s paws during the winter month. All breeds are not meant to be adaptable to winter. Hence, boots come in handy.
Buy at Chewy

Towel
After your dog comes back from a stroll, ensure to clean your dog’s paw with a towel. If your dog has stepped into salt, it is better to dip your dog’s paws into lukewarm water and then dry them with a towel. Always keep a towel handy when you and your dog are on a stroll.
Buy at Chewy

Winter Coat
Keep a winter coat handy for your dog if it is too cold.
Buy at Chewy

Steps to Protect Dogs Paws 

Make a practice of checking dogs’ paw pads regularly. Gently stretch their toes apart and look for any injuries or foreign items on the sides of their paw pads and between their toes. Check for any swelling or discoloration. When inspecting your dog’s foot, keep an eye out for any symptoms of discomfort or soreness.  

The five steps which must be followed regardless of any season are: 

  • Moisturize dogs’ paws: You can use paw balms to moisturize your dog’s paws regularly to avoid burns.
  • Use dog boots: Using dog boots can also prevent your dog’s paws from injuries and burns. Train your dog to wear boots for protection. 
  • Trim dog’s paw nails: The longer the nails, the simpler they are to break and rip off, which can cause infection in addition to being highly painful. You must occasionally trim your dog’s paw nails.
     
  • Keep your dog’s paw mat-free: It’s simpler to check and clean their feet when their paw pads are trimmed, and it avoids ice from forming between their toes during snowy weather. It also prevents mating between your dog’s toes, which can be uncomfortable and drive them to gnaw on their feet. Some dogs don’t have much hair on the bottoms of their feet, but medium to thick-coated dogs have fuzzy feet that can be trimmed.
  • Be careful with floor cleaners: Always use pet-friendly floor cleaners. Otherwise, they can cause serious harm to your dog’s paws and generate health issues if they lick the floor and their paw. 

Here are the steps to follow according to the seasons: 

How to Protect Dog’s Paw from Hot Pavement 

  • Take your dog out on a stroll when it is cool: Taking your dog out on a stroll is essential, but considering the time is primary. The best time to take your dog on a stroll is in the early morning or the evening. The temperature remains low during this point preventing your dog from facing paw issues. 
  • Toughen the dog’s paws: It is best to walk on the pavement in the evening, as hard surfaces toughen the paw pads preventing future cuts and burns. 
  • Take a stroll on grass: If you take your dog on a stroll during the daytime, restrict your dog to grass as it remains cooler than the pavement.  

How To Protect Dog’s Paw during Winter

  • Wipe paws in winter: Ice, snow, salt, and other substances may all injure your dog’s paws. When they come inside, be careful to clean their paws. It’s critical to remove all of the salt, ice, and dirt, added Mandell, a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council.
  • Watch out for ice patches: Your dog might slip and fall in the ice patch. The sharp edges of the ice patch can injure your dog’s paws.
  • Keep an eye on the time: You must not walk your dog for too long in the winters. It might lead to frostbite in their paws and body. 
  • Clear backyard or front yard path: Shovel a flat space or path in the snow for your dog for potty breaks. This approach reduces the chances of your dog’s paws being encrusted with snow. You may even put down some straw in this area to help keep the snow off your dog’s feet. 

Pro tips 

Additional advantages is brushing your dog’s coat thoroughly will prevent matting.  

Symptoms Your Dog is Suffering from Paw Issues 

Concrete, metal, pavement, walkways, and asphalt are just a few examples of human-made surfaces that might burn your dog’s paws. Few symptoms which will help you determine that your dog’s paws are not in good condition: 

  • Limping 
  • Avoiding walks 
  • Licking paws 
  • Chewing paws 
  • Darker paw pads than usual 
  • Visibly damaged paw pads 
  • Blisters and Redness 

Treatment for Dogs Suffering from Paw Issues 

Things to do when you notice the symptoms: 

  • End the walk and take your dog home 
  • Use cold compress 
  • Wash your dog’s paws 
  • Deter your dog from licking and chewing the injured area
  • Visit your veterinarian, and get a thorough checkup. Depending on the severity of the burn, your dog may require antibiotics or pain medicine. The veterinarian might also rule out other probable causes of the symptoms. 

Final Thoughts 

Dogs paws are one of the most delicate parts of their body, which should be maintained and taken care of. During winters and summers, paw balms, boots are a must. The nails must be trimmed occasionally. You should avoid using floor cleaners, which are not pet-friendly. Visit your vet when you see your dog limping or avoiding walking. Neglecting the symptoms can lead to frostbite, poisoning, paw injuries, hypothermia during winter and burns and blisters during the summer. Remember to monitor your dog’s paws closely.

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