Dog paws play several roles in a dog's health. Dogs sweat through their paws. Dog paws offer shock absorption and traction on slippery surfaces. Dog paws have to serve a dog in cold and warm weather. And dog paws have to allow for running, walking and digging. Given these many functions, dog paws require their own kind of care to keep your dog healthy. Here are the tips to healthy dog paws.
Healthy Dog Paws are Rough
Dog paws need to be rough to offer insulation from heat and cold, as well as good traction for running or digging. For this reason, there is no need to apply moisturizers to dog paws if they feel rough. However cracked dog paws can occur when paws are exposed to extreme heat or cold. This can expose soft tissue underneath or even cut blood vessels, and therefore can be painful. Applying anti-bacterial ointment on dog paws before the dog goes to sleep can help promote healing. If a dog owner sees that his dog's paws are apt to crack in extreme weather, it is advisable to get the dog booties for protection. (You can read more about how to buy dog booties that stay on.)
Healthy Dog Paws are Groomed Smartly
Dog paws are furry to offer insulation and protection. In fact, some dog breeds seem to have Hobbit paws. However too much fur, especially under the paws, can trap twigs, thorns or dirt. On the one hand this can be a nuisance as dog paws drag mud into the house. But more seriously, overly furry dog paws can pose a health threat to the dog. To avoid thorns or twigs getting trapped in the fur between the paw pads, dog owners should trim their dog's paws from excess fur underneath, though leave enough for insulation both against the heat of summer and the cold of winter.
Healthy Dog Paws are Healthy
Because of their cluster of pads, dog paws can trap small pebbles, clumps of mud or twigs between them. Sap from trees can make this problem worse by sticking clumps of things to the fur beneath dog paws. Dog owners should check their dog's paws regularly, slipping their fingers between each pad to make sure nothing is lodged or stuck there. In addition, if a dog's gait changes even slightly, it's important to check the paws to make sure nothing is interfering with the dog's walk. And if a dog begins to lick or chew one paw, again checking the paw is important. Finally, any allergic reactions, rashes or fungus that may occur in dog paws will cause itching or burning, and a dog owner should take his dog to the vet if the dog begins licking or chewing all his paws incessantly.
Healthy Dog Paws are Well Trimmed
Long nails on dog paws pose a serious impediment to normal walking. When the nails are too long, dog paws are curled unnaturally back, which causes strain not only on the paw but the entire leg of the dog, as well as the dog's back. Clipping dog nails regularly is critical to healthy dog paws. The best way to judge if the time has come for dog nail clipping is to see if the nails tap a hard surface (like a floor or sidewalk) as the dog walks. (You can read more about how to clip your dog's nails safely.)
Early discovery of threats to healthy dog paws will prevent complications that can even end in surgery. Discovering a twig before it sinks deeply into the skin between the paw pads, will save the dog pain and suffering. And even if an injury occurs in the dog's paw which could not have been prevent, merely discovering it early can help the dog heal quickly, before he develops Lick Granuloma, an obsessive licking of the paw.
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