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We tend to overlook our dogs’ paws.
Our daily routine consists of cleaning the paws thoroughly when our dogs return from their walks.
They walk barefoot (barepawed?) everyday, on rough terrain (road, sidewalk, dirt, grass, sand, you name it), if they jump, it’s their pads that will absorb the shock and protect their joints.
How We Learned About This
Dobby once stepped on a bee and a lit cigarette. Lola stepped on glass without us noticing it and bled so much we thought she’d need stitches (she didn’t, she was running around like nothing had happened just a couple of hours later).
Then one day, we were on vacation at the beach and Roxy started limping.
Roxy, who never complains, who was running around like a crazy dog the second we got him back from the vet after being neutered, was limping and clearly in pain.
We checked his entire body searching for injuries and didn’t find anything until we saw his poor paws were raw and blistered after hours running on the wet sand and the salty water.
Prevention is Key
Even though accidents can happen, prevention goes a long way in keeping your dog’s paws safe. Be sure to:
– Keep your dog’s paws moisturized at all times
– Avoid walking your dog in hot temperatures
– Keep a watchful eye over the parks and places you take him to
– On your daily dog walks, make sure to watch ahead for something on the ground that might hurt him
– Keep their nails short
A little bit of care and by following the 4 tips mentioned below you should keep your dog running around for a very long time.
How to Care for Your Dog’s Paws
We cleaned the paws the best we could and took him to the vet, who let us know that if we’d taken care of his paws properly, this could have been avoided.
Since that day, we made sure to do just that, tried a couple of things and see what worked for our dogs’ paws.
Keep it Moisturized
One of the most important things you can do for your dog’s paws is to moisturize them.
We’ve tried a couple of balms and butters, but ultimately, this is our favorite, because it smells great and it stays on for longer.
For paw moisturizer, less is more, you don’t want to get the paws too soft because they’ll get hurt easier, they need a thick paw skin.
Also, we do advise using socks for a few hours after applying it if you don’t want them to lick it and if you don’t want to have little greasy paw marks all over your home
We’ve been using this paw balm for years and we are 100% satisfied.
If you prefer to make your own, we can help you with that.
Our Homemade Moisturizer Recipe
If, like us, you prefer to use your own natural recipes to moisturize your dog’s feet, this is the recipe we like to use:
– 6, 1oz Heat safe tins
– Small pot
– 2 oz olive oil
– 2 oz coconut oil
– 1 oz shea butter (don’t replace with cocoa butter, it’s toxic for dogs)
– 4 tsp beeswax
Melt all the ingredients together over low heat while stirring.
Pour the mix into the tins and leave to cool until they harden again. It should last between one to two years as long as you store it somewhere cool.
Keep it Clean
If you’re making sure to keep your dogs’ paws clean, you’re doing half the work already.
Wipe your dog’s paws with a moist cloth when he gets home, closely inspecting between the toes for some sort of debris.
After that, use a dry towel to keep them nice and dry.
Keep it Trimmed
You’ll want to keep the nails trimmed.
We know it can be a horror movie to trim your dog’s nails. (Read also: how to cut your dog’s nails without being afraid).
It’s the only thing that makes Dobby bite, but with 4 extra nails that can get stuck on just about anything and rip, we can’t take the risk.
We’ve established a routine that works well with him.
One of us will feed him treats or even wet food (which he doesn’t get very often) while the other works on those pesky nails. He’s suspicious but food trumps fear.
The nail clipper you use is also important, we’ve tried a few he hated and we couldn’t really use properly. Then we got this one and things got a lot better.
Keep it Protected
Sometime you’ll need to take it one step further.
Either because you live in a region that gets too cold or too hot for your dog’s paws or because your dog has overly-sensitive paws, he’ll need extra protection.
In our case, after getting too carried away with the paw balm and leaving our dog’s paws too moisturized, a proper paw protector (try saying that three times!!) was required to offer an extra layer of toughness that dogs require to be able to walk on the steets without getting hurt.
We use this particular balm. It’s so easy to apply and so small you can carry it with you.
What it does is, it creates a protective coating between the paw and the surface while it helps to heal the wounds and cracks with its natural ingredients.
What to Do When Accident Strikes
Sometimes, even with all the care in the World, they can still get hurt.
The pavement can be too hot or there will be something sharp hiding in the sand or grass. They’ll get cuts, blisters, cracks, sores, burns, sometimes even ulcers.
First and foremost, you need to decide if you can handle it or if a vet is required.
If the gash is deep, if there is too much blood, if it looks infected or your dog is in a lot of pain, go straight to the vet and get it sorted.
If you can see that the damage isn’t that great, it looks clean, it’s just a small affected area or there isn’t too much blood, then there are some things you can do yourself.
You’ll start by cleaning it with antibacterial wash and then you’ll want to wrap it in something.
You can use a sock or a dog bootie. Just make sure to keep it clean and dry, luckily dogs mend quickly and he’ll be recovered in no time.