As pet parents, we tend to find most things about our little ones extremely adorable and cute. Their eyes, little nose and that cute butt wiggle. Out of all these, their paws and the little paw prints they leave behind are especially adorable. But did you know that their paws are not just meant for walking but for protection as well? The pads provide extra cushioning to help protect bones and joints from shock and also help provide insulation against extreme weather, aid walking and also help protect tissue within the paw.
With all this work to do, it becomes extremely important to take care of their paws. Paws need to be checked for a myriad set of issues that include things like nail length, cracked pads and foreign objects wedged in between paw pads. Here are a few tips to take care of their little feet –
1- Pedicures for your pooch-
Give your little one pedicures from time to time. Dog nails should only be long enough for it to scrape the ground. If it increases, clip their nails. If you are not sure about doing it yourself, you could always go to a groomer. Apart from this, you can also trim their paw hair as it tends to get matted. This matted hair can either be combed out with a small comb or trimmed a little.
2- Clean in between-
It is very important that the area between their toes are cleaned. Foreign objects such as pebbles, twigs, broken bits of glass, etc. can get stuck in between. These objects can usually be taken out using a pair of tweezers. While you are checking, also check for fleas as they tend to sit in such spaces.
Paws tend to become cracked and dry, it is very important to moisturise them. Consult your veterinarian and choose a good paw moisturiser. Always avoid using human moisturiser as it tends to soften their paws over time and this can lead to injury.
4- Paw Massage-
Just like a good foot massage is great for humans, a good paw massage is also great for dogs. This will help them feel relaxed as well as help with circulation. You can start by gently massaging the bottom and then in between the toes. Your little one is going to love this extra love!
5- Use first aid for wounds/scratches-
Keep some first aid ready as pets tend to get scratches and wounds on their feet. Accidentally stepping on sharp objects, getting into fights or just general curiosity can lead to such wounds. If it is a small wound an antibacterial can be used to clean it, if your dog tends to lick a lot, you can cover the wound with a dog bootie. If the cut is deeper, a vet visit is advisable.
Winter is different in different parts of the world but it usually brings in dry, cold air along with chilly rain in some regions, and may often be accompanied by snowfall. Exposure to such weather conditions can cause your little one’s paws to get dry, chapped and itchy. If you live in extremely cold areas where it snows, you could try using booties as they protect their paws from the harsh snow and the chemicals present in them due to spraying of antifreeze. They can also help prevent sand and salt from getting lodged in between bare toes, causing irritation. Petroleum jelly is also a good option in such weather as the skin becomes very dry and chapped. Massaging after a walk can help heal chapped paws.
Summertime can be pretty harsh on your little one. It is a known fact that dogs sweat from their paws, so if you see your dog panting, followed by a trail of pawprints, then it is time for them to cool off. It is a good practice to keep a wet washcloth ready so that you can wipe down their face, body and paws, this will cool them down. The surface tends to get very hot during summertime. Thus prolonged exposure can scorch their little feet. Avoid walking them in such heat, a good time would be early morning or in the evenings just before sunset. Along with the heat, summer also tends to bring in allergies. Thus if you see your little one licking their paws a bit too much, it could be because of an allergy. It is important that we understand these allergies better and take the required action. You can avoid this by wiping down your dog with a wet tissue or cloth, this has to include their paws as well.
Dogs require a bit of extra care for their little feet, even more so when they are very active. A little bit of attention and care is all they need. These little things go a long way.