To most fur parents, paw care simply means clipping your dog’s nails.
Or wiping off that mud so it doesn’t track all over the home.
But that’s actually just the start.
Dog Paw Problems
It’s not just your dog’s internal health that matters—his paws can have problems too! Possible issues include:
- Long nails
- Ingrown or torn nails
- Dry paws
- Cracked paws
- Burning sensation
- Stinging sensation
Tips to Avoid Dog Paw Pad Problems
The best way to prevent dog paw pad problems is to take care of them regularly. Here’s how.
If your dog runs through the mud, you probably already clean his paws. But it’s a good idea even if they’re not visibly dirty. Frequently check to make sure there’s nothing stuck between your dog’s paws and give them a good wipe. If your dog has allergies to outdoor allergens, wiping his paws may also help minimize reactions. Also, if you take your dog walking in a wooded or swampy area, checking your dog, including his paws, for ticks is a good idea. You can use dog-safe cleanser wipes or a good ol’ damp cloth or paper towel.
Just like our hands, dog paws can get dry too. If you notice your dog’s paws becoming dry and cracked, try applying a special doggy moisturizer. To stop your dog from licking or rubbing it off, you can apply dog socks overnight.
If you don’t want to purchase a lotion, you can use coconut oil.
Here’s two of the highest rated dog paw balms and moisturizes on Amazon:
Pet Head Oatmeal Paw Butter
Rating: 4.5/5 stars with 810+ ratings
Burt’s Bees for Dogs Nose + Paw Moisturizer
Rating: 4/5 stars with 1,045+ reviews
Hot Paw Protection
When the sun is out and it’s a hot day, beware of how that can affect your dog’s paws. If your dog usually goes in the backyard on grass, it won’t be an issue. However, if you take your dog for walks on the sidewalk or road, his paws can get burned and even blistered.
Here’s a quick test when you’re not sure whether the sidewalk is too hot: Touch it with your hand and see if it’s hot for you. If it is, it’s too hot for him. There’s a couple ways to make sure your pup still gets exercise without the burn. The first option is to simply take him to a grassy area where he won’t be burned. The second is to apply a heat protection balm.
This one has the most and highest reviews on Amazon:
Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax
Rating: 4.5/5 stars with 4,680+ reviews
Road Ice Salt Protection
Even when summers over, you still have to worry about your dog’s paws if you live somewhere snowy. When roads and sidewalks get icy, trucks dump salt on them to keep people and cars from slipping. Unfortunately, salt can wreak havoc on your pup’s paws. While they may not immediately react to it, the build-up when he comes back inside can sting and burn. You’ll notice your dog picking up his paws or showing discomfort. There’s a few things you can do to stop that:
- Avoid walking directly in clusters of road salt
- Purchase doggy booties (although my dog HATES boots and refuses to walk in them)
- Apply dog paw protection balm before going outside
Keep Nails Trimmed
You probably already know that one of the most important parts of paw care is trimming your dog’s nails. If you don’t get this done at the groomer, you can do it yourself. Need some tips? Read How to Cut A Dog’s Nails (Without Hurting Him!)
Like a regular massage, a paw massage can improve your dog’s circulation. Another good reason is that regularly touching the paws helps him get more comfortable with trimmings. If your dog is one to squirm out of any hold just to avoid nail cuts, this is an awesome tip. If you can, start this while he’s a puppy.
To prevent paw problems, take care of them as a habit using these steps:
- Protect from heat
- Protect from ice salt
- Keep nails trimmed
- Give paw massages