Your dog’s paws are particularly vulnerable during the hot summer months. A good starting point for protection is to maintain good nail care.
If you are walking your dog regularly on hard surfaces the nails wear down naturally. However, the dewclaws higher up on the leg won’t.
Hot weather can promote dry, cracked or brittle nails, which is painful. If you notice your dog limping this may be the cause.
If the nail is too long, they can tear and become infected. Additionally, too-long nails cause an unnatural gait and strain the dog’s legs and spine. If you can hear her nails “clicking”, they are probably too long. Nails provide traction so excessively long nails can cause your dog to slip and fall.
If you don’t like the idea of trimming your own dog’s nails, most groomers and local salons offer inexpensive nail trims as an a la carte service.
Pad injuries are also common in warm weather. It’s easy for paw pads to get burned. Check the temperature of hard surface areas with your bare feet. If it’s too hot for you, it is definitely too hot for your dog. The same holds true for sandy beaches! A good practice would be to apply Musher’s Secret (a protective wax) on your dog’s pads, in advance of a walk or romp on the beach!
If your dog’s pads become cracked, wash with antibacterial soap and apply petroleum jelly. Be sure to rub it in well, as she will probably lick it. We’ve recommended Vetericyn (a wound and skin care solution) in a prior blog. You can also try special, organic salves, such as Joshua Tree Pet Salve or Dermoscent Bio Balm, which aid in soothing and healing. These products are made for dogs only and are advertised as “edible” if licked. However, always consult with your Vet before you try any home remedies! If your dog’s paws are bleeding, you’ll need to wash them with antibacterial soap, apply a triple-antibiotic crème, wrap in a sock and get to your Vet right away!
Other fun Paw Facts & Pawesome Dog Care ideas:
(1). Dewclaws are thought to be functionless and are sometimes removed. Dewclaw removal is usually done in the first week of puppyhood to conform to breed standards or avoid having this “thumb” catch on things. They do, however, help your dog get a grip….on bones and other chewable items.
(2). Dogs perspire through their pads and have scent glands on the bottoms of their feet that allow them to leave a scent for other animals to detect.
(3). In dog “speak”, pawing actions usually mean a desire for something from you, such as attention, affection or a yummy treat! By pawing in the air, your dog is basically saying “Hey, there! I’m over here and I need you!”
(4). A not-so-fun fact is the smell of corn chips coming from the feet of your dog. I thought “Frito feet” was a result of stepping on urine. The actual cause of this unique aroma is bacteria!
(5). To help keep the pads clean and bacteria-free, consider giving your dog a “paw spa”. A daily paw bath will remove allergens and outdoor bacteria-causing debris. Simply fill a bowl with lukewarm water and povidone-iodine (should look like iced tea). Dip each paw in the solution for a few minutes. Wipe dry and you are good to go!
(6). If you really want to go the extra mile in your pet’s care, consider giving your dog a paw massage! Rub between the pads on the bottom of the paw and between the toes. According to the ASPCA, a paw massage will not only relax your pup, but improve circulation as well.
Have a pawsitively wonderful summer and be safe!