We don’t even know we do it. “She looks so happy!”, “He’s been inside all day…”, “Just a quick one!” we would say but unfortunately, walking your dog in the heat or cold weather can provide some discomfort or even injury. We don’t notice a lot of the time when we could be doing something wrong, especially when we see others doing the same thing. Paw Pads are designed for protecting your dogs bones and joints from shock just like sock absorbers on your car, provide insulation against extreme weather and help protect the deep tissue within their paws by cushioning rough ground. Although they sound pretty tough, they’re still not equipped for walking on our man made surfaces in the blistering sun. Even a sudden burst of exercising on rough natural ground can cause some after pain for your dog.
Don’t feel bad!
Hey, it happens, we’re all just trying to do our best. There are a few ways to prevent and heal damaged paw pads that are pretty easy to do.
I liken damaged paw pads to a humans heels. Unless you moisturise your feet and every now and again file away the dry skin; there’s a pretty good chance your heels are cracking, dry and sore. When this happens I’m guessing you would visit the local Beauty Salon or organise your own home salon treatment. But what about Lassie?
Your dogs paws will look quite similar when they’re damaged from rough/hot surface walking and they can be accompanied by some pain. there are cases however where dogs paw pads seem like their in terrible condition and yet aren’t bothered by it. Don’t confuse that with “Since it doesn’t bother him and he’s not sore, my dog must be tough and he must be ok!” he may not show signs to you and he may actually have no discomfort and that’s great! But it doesn’t mean you should walk your dog on hot surfaces.
Grass Seeds are a common issue. Where there is grass, there is a possibility of a grass seed working it’s way into your dogs paw pads. THIS is definitely painful and needs immediate attention and extraction before it causes any complications eg.: Red swollen and sore paws, seed migration between the ligaments and tendons.
Usually if you attempt to spread the dogs paws apart, if they have one they will pull back or yelp. See if you can settle your dog to check there is one, characterised by a small wheat-y like tuft poking between the toes. Once confirmed if your confident to do so (and it’s not very deep) simply pull it out, otherwise, a quick trip to the vet for extraction. If it’s already heavily infected or bleeding etc. Don’t try to remove it yourself for risk of infection. This goes for anything stuck in your dog’s paws.
On hot days, think smart. Is it 3pm and boiling hot? Don’t walk your dog. Is there no shade where you will be walking? Don’t walk your dog. If you can’t hold the back of your hand on the floor for longer than 10 seconds then it’s too hot.
If you often walk through the country side or grassy parks and your dog has long hair it can be a good idea to visit the groomers for a nail trim and a paw pad shave. Having a clear view of your dogs feet can aid in spotting problems before they become vet visits.
At times when you are unable to walk your dog, have a play at home to drain some excess energy.
The only way to stop your dogs paws from feeling the effects of the surface beneath them is to not walk them…. No only kidding!!! You can always buy dog boots for them to wear. Many happily learn to wear them before walking anywhere! I would only recommend your dog wear them when necessary once they’re trained to feel comfortable in them because you still want your dog to develop some sort of resistance. Have a read of this before you purchase any. I should also add, it’s not the best idea in general to walk your dog on really hot days! You know, the hot ground and all.
If you have taken the dog out and the weathers changed on you, Melbourne pups put your paws up!, then Lassie could certainly benefit from a paw treatment. Purchase a dog safe Paw Butter such as Warren london – Paw Defence Wax or Surf Dog Australia – Paw Balm and massage your dogs paws. Both will hydrate and soothe their feet a bit like moisturiser to your toes would.
*Tip: Massage as long as possible to maximise the benefits as most dogs will lovingly lick it all off once applied! Some groomers (Such as myself) provide this or similar as a service so on your next groom ask if your groomer can do anything to help you out 🙂
Tell me, how do you look after your dog’s paw pads?