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Of course, we humans use shoes to protect our feet. We insist on it! But dogs usually don't have that luxury, and routinely walk over ice, rock, grass, cement and soil on their bare paws. Their paws' thick pads give them protection we don't have, and that's why they're less susceptible to cuts and grazes. But this doesn't mean a dog's paws are indestructible. In fact, the areas between the pads are very sensitive and can suffer from cuts, burns, and other ailments.
One of the clues to a paw problem is when your dog comes back limping or favoring only one of its legs. The only way for you to narrow down the issue is to check his paw for any visible and physical signs of bleeding, swelling, redness or blisters.
Some dogs are very protective of their paws and don't like people touching them -- and they'll let you know! Keep persisting. One of my dogs, who just hates having her paws touched, will usually relax when I gently reassure her that I'm only trying to help. Although dogs don't understand many of our words, they do just fine at detecting our emotions, and sometimes intentions, from our actions and tone of voice.
If your dog has a cut, wash the wound with an antiseptic solution and apply a layer of antiseptic cream. Check the wound again the next day to see if it's getting better. If it looks infected, you should bring your dog to the vet. I was once shocked to discover maggots wiggling inside a paw wound on my dog -- ugh. Needless to say, we went to the vet immediately (she was fine after treatment).
In certain breeds, hair mats may grow between the pads, which can cause irritation. In these breeds, it's essential to trim regularly between the mats to keep the paws in good shape. Even in other breeds, dogs that run outdoors can get mud trapped between the pads. Again, this will irritate the paw, so it's best that you clean up with soap and water when you see mud between the toes.
Just as we humans get dry and cracked heels, dogs also experience dry and calloused paw pads. The solution for them is similar to ours -- apply moisturizers. In fact, you can even use your hand moisturizer on your dog! But there's a challenge involved: stopping your dog from licking it away after you apply it. A good trick is to apply the moisturizer right before your dog has his meal. This way, you can allow a little time for the moisturizer to settle in. Otherwise, you can play with your pooch to keep him occupied and restrain him if he starts licking his paws.
Finally, you probably have seen dogs in dog boots and wondered if these boots would effectively protect your dog's feet. But your dog may be better off without them, as they can easily walk out of these boots -- active, athletic dogs in particular. In the end, your dog will enjoy himself more walking on his own paws, with some occasional care and maintenance from you.
About the Author
Blake Kritzberg is proprietor of Poodle-oo: Fashion for Toy Dogs. Stop by for toy dog couture and home decor, free dog postcards and the Toy Dog Blog.
The Little-Known History of Seafaring Pets
It gets hard to tell when you go back that far, but humans—Homo erectus in this case—probably crafted the first seaworthy vessel some 800,000 years ago. Since then, our ability to build boats and take to the seas has been critical to many of the most ...
Law Would Ban Tethering Pets in Freezing Weather | Virginia News ...
U.S. News & World Report
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — As temperatures across Virginia plunged to the single digits, many pets no doubt have been left in the cold.
Caring for pets in cold weather
The ice needs to be broken, maybe several times a day, in order for livestock and domesticated outdoor animals to have access to it.” “I would recommend bringing in any animals in weather like this, dogs, and cats are like humans, in that their pads ...
Hamilton, Trenton offering free rabies clinics for pets
Hamilton and Trenton are offering free rabies clinics for dogs and cats this month. In Hamilton, the town will have a clinic this Saturday, Jan 20, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and in Trenton on Jan. 22nd and 29th, both Mondays, from at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m ...
Four ways having a pet increases your lifespan
Hence, pets can enable a sense of communal belonging identified as increasing longevity. The role pets play in mental health (as compared to physical health) may be where the strongest connection to individual longevity lies. There is an established ...
First Coast News
Tips to keep pets, plants warm overnight
First Coast News
Tips to keep pets, plants warm overnight. First Coast News is reminding folks to take care of their pets and plants on the coldest night of the year. Author: Janny Rodriguez. Published: 11:32 PM EST January 17, 2018. First Coast News is reminding folks ...
SLAM Presents LEAGUE PETS Ep.1: Bradley Beal
If you've been clocking NBA social media like we have, then you've surely noticed the League's infatuation with animals and the growing number of pet owners on rosters. We decided to explore this fun side of the basketball world with a new series ...
Arizona lawmaker seeks ban on driving with pets on laps
Minneapolis Star Tribune
PHOENIX — A state lawmaker is seeking to ban pets from sitting in the laps of Arizona drivers. The Arizona Capitol Times reports state Sen. John Kavanagh is sponsoring a bill that would lead to authorities ticketing people who are caught with animals ...
Are Pets Affected By The Super Blue Blood Moon? They Might Be, But Don't Worry Too Much
While there's not exactly any solid scientific evidence to prove that these things are caused directly by any lunar event, some pet owners have reported that their dogs howl at the night sky, their cats hide in weird places, and their birds become ...
Williston Daily Herald
Firefighters save cat's nine lives
Williston Daily Herald
That's when Firefighter Chris Henry, approached with the Brookville Fire Company's pet resuscitator. “They held it on her for 15-20 minutes,” McNutt explained. “He heard her cough. But he wasn't going to bring her to me until he was sure she would be ...
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