Dog paws and pads are pretty tough, but just like our own feet, they can take a beating.
They have to contend with hot pavement during the summer along with ice, salt and gravel on the roads during the winter months.
Walking through the woods can also be hard on your dog’s dogs! Burrs and thorns can easily get stuck between your dog’s toes or in the pad of his foot.
The good news though is that most problems associated with dog paws can be easily treated at home.
You just have to make sure that you keep an eye open for any limping, chewing or licking that may indicate a problem. Here’s a great article sharing a lot of detail about your dog’s paws.
Hey, Don’t Touch My Feet: Learn Techniques for Paw Handling
It’s true that many dogs don’t like their feet touched. However, most dogs that I have worked with over the years eventually relaxed and allowed me to fully handle their paws.
I place the fear of feet handling right up there with laying on their back and showing their belly and all dogs don’t do this. It’s a submissive issue and until the dog feels safe with you handling his paws; he’s not going to allow it.
It’s instinctive; he needs his feet to run. Again, I believe this is a dominance/submissive issue. I’ve watched our dogs play and grab at each others paws until one dog lays down completely with both paws tucked.
The best way to encourage your dog and help her realize that you’re not going to hurt or restrain her, is to start with a gentle massage of her neck, chest and other areas of her body that she doesn’t have a problem with. Slowly move to her leg being careful not to cup the entire leg with your hand.
You always want to use an open hand when you’re trying to develop a dog’s trust no matter what the circumstance may be.
Once your dog is comfortable with you gently petting her leg, move to the top of her paw and now GENTLY pet the top of her foot. If she allows you once, but not again – try later. Don’t force the issue. Use soft praising to let the dog know that you’re happy with her allowing you to do it.
Once she’s comfortable with you touching the top of her paw use both hands to gently place her paw in between your hands. Softly massage the top of the paw with one hand and the pad with the other while gently touching her nails as well.
It won’t take long before she realizes that she can trust you touching her precious paws.
The other day my neighbor went with me to take the dogs for a walk. She brought along her grand dog “Buster” the border collie. When we got back, I got the bucket of warm water and began rinsing my dog’s feet and drying them. She did the same for Buster, but the problem was when it came to drying his feet, she just ran the towel over the top of his feet.
From what I understand, Buster has quite a few allergies so rinsing his feet is a good thing. However, you can ultimately do more harm than good by not thoroughly drying your dog’s feet when they are wet.
Wet Dog Paws Should Never Be Left To Air Dry
Our own feet dry quickly, but dog paws can stay wet for hours at a time and this wetness in between the toes and pads of the feet can harbor bacteria. Anytime your dog’s feet get wet whether from swimming, snow, rain, or from wet grass, you should thoroughly dry them with a DRY TOWEL.
WET FEET HARBOR BACTERIA!
Yep, your dog’s feet get dry just like yours do, especially during winter months and going from warm to cold. I usually use petroleum jelly to my dogs pads if they are cracked. What I do is apply it at night when I know they are going to sleep for the rest of the night.
You can also use Alpha Keri lotion as well.
How To Apply
Put a glob of the jelly or lotion in your hand and lightly massage onto your own hand just enough so that you can apply most of it to your dog’s pads and nails. If your dog wants to lick it off, use dog socks. This best time to do this is at night when your dog is ready for bed.
A Good Foot Soak Especially For Dog Paws
Should there be a time when your dog’s feet (foot) becomes irritated, red and swollen; a good foot soak can help. Take one part Betadine to 10 parts water and soak your dog’s paw for 5-10 minutes.
Rinse Away Dry Mud And Salt
The rough edges of dried mud can irritate the paw. Rinse away the mud and THOROUGHLY DRY BETWEEN THE TOES AND THE PAD using a clean, dry towel.
Winter road salt is another hazard for dog paws and pads especially when you forget to rinse after walking on salty roads or sidewalks. When salt dissolves between the toes, it becomes the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Rinse away the salt and THOROUGHLY DRY BETWEEN THE TOES AND THE PAD using a clean, dry towel.
Clipping The Fur
Hair between your dog’s toes and pads can trap moisture and restrict air from circulating. Trim the fur between the toes and pad for healthier feet.
Trimming Excess Skin
My yellow lab “Maggie” is the perfect example of rough play. She loves running in her big yard and chasing her jolly ball. Often times she ends up with a few boo boo’s.
Scrapes on the pads can cause little pieces of skin to hang that should be trimmed back. The TOP layer of your dog’s foot pad is free of nerve tissue. Be sure to clean your dog’s paw in warm water and THOROUGHLY dry.