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Paw Hygiene: Essentials Every Dog Owner Needs To Know

Paw Hygiene: Essentials Every Dog Owner Needs To Know

Paw Hygiene: Essentials Every Dog Owner Needs To Know

Being a parent to a furball is the world’s best feeling, but it’s not without hard work. Taking care of your four-legged ball of energy isn’t limited to walks and food. Hygiene is an essential component for your dog and family. Keep in mind that a sick dog can be a carrier of disease.


Paws are often a neglected aspect of pet grooming. Dogs don’t wear shoes, so they are essentially barefoot at all times. Their paws walk over rough surfaces and fields and are prone to significant wear and tear. So they need extra care compared to the rest of their body. We have compiled a detailed guide on the things that harm your pet’s paws and how to deal with them effectively.

Risks of Poor Paw Care

Several issues can arise with poor paw care that can be detrimental to your dog’s overall health. Certain breeds need extra care, like the mini labradoodle. To reduce the risk of injury and infection. Here are some common risks that we have highlighted.

Summer Dangers

Summer doesn’t only lead to dehydration for your furry friends but also affects their paws. High environmental temperatures like 85 degrees Fahrenheit can cause asphalt to be as hot as 143. Keep in mind that paws burn around 120 degrees and permanent damage by 150 degrees.

Other factors can damage paws, especially in your backyard:

● Lawn care chemicals
● Sand rash
● Hot sand
● Rough pool surrounds

Winter Dangers

Snowcapped roads with salt can be dangerous for your dogs. The salt irritates paws and can lead to cracked feet. Cracked paws will encourage the dog to lick them to relieve the discomfort. This results in the ingestion of salts, causing vomiting and diarrhea, among other gastrointestinal issues.

Additionally, prolonged exposure to these chemicals can burn off the paws and cause chemical burns. Furthermore, ice and snow build-up between the pads can produce immense pain and even result in frostbite.

dog boots in snow


Germs

Your cute furball may be lounging on your couch or pillows, but their paws are home to a teeming microbial population unbeknownst to most dog owners. Paws harbor everything from bacteria like Staph and E.coli to viruses and fungi. They track these microorganisms all over as they walk around your house.


Anxiety-Induced Paw Chewing

Chewing paws is a common manifestation of anxiety in dogs. Furthermore, paw chewing can also become a habit to soothe allergies. Not only does this injure paws, but it also spreads the infection to their mouth. Hence your dog must be trained not to chew their paws.


Proper Care Tips for Healthy Paws

Now let’s get onto some useful tips to keep those squishy paws soft and healthy.

Trimming and Grooming

Like their human friends, your puppies need their nails to be trimmed and groomed regularly to achieve healthy nails.

Remember that you should only use grooming tools specifically for dogs, like nail grinders or clippers. Moreover, if you just started owning a dog, it might be better for a vet or a professional to show you the techniques beforehand.

Maintain the Right Nail Shape and Size

Dog nails aren’t supposed to touch the floor, so when you hear their nail clicking, it is time to get them trimmed by a vet, especially if they have naturally dark nails. This is because there is a risk of accidentally injuring their paw pads. Not only are these cuts painful and bloody, but dogs' skittish nature when trimming nails makes accidents more likely to occur.


Hair Grooming Between the Toes

The hair between the toes can trap pebbles, debris, and splinters which can transfer bacteria from wet surfaces. Hence it is essential to trim the hair.


Maintaining Paw Pads

Paw pads adapt to the surface to protect your pet’s paws. For example, walking on rough surfaces allows the paw pads to harden, so you shouldn’t force your dog to walk on soft surfaces to avoid this hardening. However, hardened paw pads also need to be regularly maintained.


Check for Abnormalities

Paw pad swelling is a common occurrence that can happen due to various reasons like allergies, insect bites, or injuries, and it can be incredibly painful. So be sure to regularly check paw pads for any swelling and get them treated promptly.


Injury Management

Since dogs don’t wear shoes, their paws take most of the beating. It is essential to treat these injuries before infection sets in. Be sure to inspect their paws regularly and clean the area followed by washing with an antibacterial soap in case of bruises. Then apply some antibacterial lotion before wrapping the paws in clean gauze.


Look Out for Hyperkeratosis

Your vet should be alerted if you notice hair between the toes. The hair may signify a painful but uncommon condition, hyperkeratosis. Fortunately, there are also pain-relieving balms to soothe the aching paws.


Paw Wax

Paw wax when combined with conditioner creates a barrier that repels water as well as other elements. With paw wax, you need not worry about cracked and irritated paws again.


Dog Booties

Dog boots serve the same function for dogs, just as shoes for humans. The boots also protect the paws from snow and ice. You can use treats and rewards to accustom your dog to boots gradually.

 

dog wearing boots in snow


Dog Wipes

Muddy or sandy paws can be easily solved with pet-safe moist wipes or dog wipes. These are also travel-friendly and help you clean up messes while on the go. However, a warm, sudsy washcloth does the trick for bigger cleanups.

Be sure to clean the paws with sanitizer or antibacterial wash after every walk. You should choose a brand that is safe for licking and non-toxic.

Bathing

Bathing is the best way to get rid of all the fine dirt between the toes, especially road salt. Although you can wash small puppies in sinks, larger friends are more easily cleaned in bathtubs with a detachable showerhead. You need not soak your dog entirely but ensure that the paw pads are cleaned thoroughly.

Finally, dry the paws properly before letting them off, or you risk wet paw streaks all around the house. Recently, many travel-friendly paw cleaners have made cleaning even easier.

Check Between Dog Toes

This is the most commonly missed spot during the cleaning sessions. Just rinsing and drying off the toes isn’t enough. Dirt and debris are likely to settle underneath the nails and the pads. While cleaning, gently part the toes and use a brush to clean between the toes to reduce the risk of
irritation.

Keep a Grooming Towel Handy

A fun day at the beach or near the poolside can quickly lead to a messy house when you return. To avoid this disaster, a good idea is to use an absorbent towel to dry off the paws completely. This prevents a potential mess in your home and reduces the risk of your dog sleeping on hardwood floors.

Seasonal Paw Care

The changing seasons call for extra care for your furball’s paws. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Summertime Care

The summer can easily burn or cause blisters on paws, so avoid walking them in areas with direct sunlight. It is important to protect their paws from the heat. Nonetheless, in the event of burns, wrap their paws in gauze after washing them with antibacterial soap.

Wintertime Care

The dry spells of winter are likely to crack their paws, so keep them moisturized during the cold season.

Snowball Removal from Paws

When you go on walks during winter, snow is likely to get stuck between the toes, which can quickly turn into ice. This can make walking uncomfortable for your dog, and it may attempt to remove the ice and become injured in the process.

Instead of pulling at the ice, it is best to soak the pads in warm water and gently wipe them down to remove the melted ice. Alternatively, you can also request the help of a professional to trim the hair between the pads if you own long-haired breeds.

Conclusion

Your dog is a part of your family, and just like any family member, it is your responsibility to take utmost care of them. Paws help maintain balance and allow dogs to walk correctly and carry the whole weight of their body. Hence, good care and maintenance of paws can protect your four-legged friend from walking issues and other potential diseases.

This helpful guide is aimed to equip you with correct and precise information regarding paw hygiene for you to become a better dog parent.