It's easy to gloss over the dog paw care part of grooming, because most dogs aren't so thrilled about cooperating with the process. But, believe me, with gentleness and finesse, they will actually come to welcome your one-on-one paw care attention.
If only we could make our dogs understand how vulnerable their
bare feet are every time they go outside. For starters there's the weather, which could be anything from
rain, snow, ice, or blazing hot sidewalks. Then there's the terrain - gravel, cement, salted streets, hot
sand, or hiking trails with jagged rocks, debris and other unknown pitfalls.
Dog paw care is a necessity because it can be a virtual minefield a dog has to navigate out on a walk and a lot of stuff that his feet have to handle during his lifetime. Not only that, even the physical activities he loves can cause problems and contribute to paw damage if your dog gets over zealous about them.
No doubt your dog likes to
play games and go out on jogs with you, but be sure he isn't over-stressed when starting out with a new
and vigorous activity. Allow him a period of time to adapt to the extra effort, just as you would yourself.
Maybe you can recall a time when you over-exerted yourself on a hike or a run and ended up with sore feet
or some blisters. I remember doing this on my first hike down the Grand Canyon - of course I blamed it on
So what can you do to help a doggie out?
Perhaps Rover would appreciate a little tender loving paw care. How about it? Here are some tips to get you started:
Another common dog paw care problem is itchiness, which many times leads dogs to licking or chewing their paws. The
irritation could be the result of contact with cleaning products used around the house, gardening products
used outside, or some other allergic reaction. Aside from allergies, twisted or long toenails are sometimes
to blame - more on nails further along.
Long hair between the toes can also trigger your dog to chew his paws, because it can harbor mats and irritating debris, dirt and even parasites.
Keeping the hair on the paws and foot bed trimmed as short as possible is not only part of good grooming, but is important because continued licking will likely cause inflammatory conditions.
If dog paw care remedies fail to stop your dog's chewing, talk to your vet to find out if something else might be going on, perhaps related to allergies.
No paw inspection is complete without checking the length and condition of your dog's nails looking for
any damage or breakages.
Overly long nails can make it seriously painful for your dog to walk and left untreated, could result in abnormal growth and long term damage. Not only that, long nails make your dog less stable on slippery surfaces and subject to a fall.
Another hazard of long nails is that they are more apt to get caught on objects while out playing or walking, with the potential for an extreme injury.
Long nails are easily remedied by giving your dog a pawdicure...err that is, clip his nails! It's easy-peasy with these nail trimmers.
But, if you're unsure about doing this, take Rover to the vet and have him teach you the safe way to handle nail clipping.
Clipping is an essential part of dog paw care, but some people are a little squeamish when it comes to doing this job with guillotine style clippers. Luckily this gentle nail grinder, is a nice alternative and a lot easier method for the job. Once you try it you'll be encouraged to handle this vital part of your dog's care regularly.
Whatever the case, the main thing is to get it done by someone!
Part of dog paw care inevitably involves dealing with injuries.
When you discover any injuries, grab what you need to clean and treat them from your dog's first aid kit. Then apply a protective cover to prevent re-injury and to assist in the healing process.
It is important
to remember that cuts and skin irritations can lead to infections in the sweat glands of the paws if left untreated.
Winter, in cold climates, brings with it other challenges to your dog's paws, one of them being rock salt. To prevent soreness and chapping and the possibility of your dog licking off the salt, be sure to rinse off your dog's paws after walking in these conditions.
Caution is also needed during summertime when pavements may be very hot. The noon day sun can be especially punishing, so plan to take your dog out at a cooler time of day, or if your dog will put up with dog booties, that's another option.
It doesn't take much effort to keep your dog's paws in good condition compared to how much time is spent on them. And this extra little bit of loving paw care, will ease the wear and tear and ensure that your best friend's feet are comfortable and healthy.
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