Paws don’t get enough attention as they should. Your pup spends most of its time on its paw. Dogs are either running, walking, hopping; they hardly sit still. You can comprehend how important paws are for a dog in day to day life. Owners generally don’t pay enough attention to the feet. Everyone is concerned about appearance and nutrition, but dog paws don’t make it to the top of the list. The paws can have blisters on them or even get burnt because of walking on hot surfaces. Improper grooming can cause matting in paw hair. Multiple things can happen if you don’t take care of your dog’s paws. The end result will be your puppy suffering and not being able to do all things it likes.
Paw hygiene-related problems- dogs can suffer from smelly paws, hyperkeratosis, allergies, and infections if you don’t regularly check their paws.
You must have noticed a distinct smell of dog paws. Paws can smell for several reasons. Dogs have sweat glands in their paw pads to help them cool down in hot weather. They also have scent glands in paws that let them leave behind their pheromones for others to know they were there. Dogs scrape their feet and kick the dirt for this particular reason only.
Most people complain that a corn chip like smell comes from their dog’s feet. It is the smell of a bacteria or yeast infection growing in the paws, usually between the toes and paw pads. Although Yeast and bacteria on the dog feet are normal, and their immune system works to keep them controlled. But, if you notice that smell getting strong, visit your veterinarian to find out the cause and treat the infection. Food and environmental allergies can be a reason behind these infections too. Now you can see why paw care is important.
Before knowing what Hyperkeratosis is, first, let’s talk about paw pads. The cushiony bottoms of the dog paws are called paw pads. They are usually pink or black and made up of fatty tissues. Paw pads job is to provide a protective layer. If you notice the paw pads become rough or crusty instead of being cushiony, it may be hyperkeratosis. It can be seen on a dog nose or on paw pads. In some cases, Hyperkeratosis is genetic too. If not genetic then it is because of an underlying medical condition. To rule out medical reasons, talk to your vet about your dog and its paws condition.
There are a whole bunch of allergies that can affect a dog. Your pet can be allergic to an environmental condition or an eatable. If your dog is excessively licking biting, and chewing its paws, it can be a result of an allergic reaction. Dogs are itchy when they have and allergic reaction, and to relieve themselves from the itching, they tend to bite and chew that area. This practice can cause secondary infection, bacteria, or fungal kind.
Fungal and Bacterial Infections
Dog paws usually have many different species of bacteria and fungi living in between the paw pads. Their immune system controls the number of bacteria and fungi present, but these organisms can sometimes grow out of control and lead to infection. Such infections are common in dogs and often involve the paws.
Signs to look out for an infection in the paws are licking, chewing their paws, redness, swelling, and pain. As mentioned above, these infections can sometimes be secondary to an allergy. A veterinarian is the best person to make a diagnosis in your pet, and then prescribe a variety of treatments like topical creams, wipes, and washes to treat the infection.
How to take care of paws
- Pamper with Pedicures: A dog’s nails should just touch the ground when it walks. If you can hear the nails clicking or getting snagged on the floor, it is pedicure time. Consult a veterinarian or a professional groomer for advice about what type of nail trimmers are best for your dog and how to use them properly. If you don’t want to do it yourself, totally fine, involve a professional to help you.
- Thorough Cleaning: the gaps between paw pads can inhibit foreign objects, dirt, food droppings. Don’t forget to check between toes for foxtails, pebbles, small bits of broken glass, and other debris regularly. If you find anything there, the pesky items can be removed with a pair of tweezers.
- Moisturizing is primary: A dog’s pads can become cracked and dry because of walking on a rough surface. There are many good pad moisturizers in the market. Use them as directed. Don’t use your own moisturizer on your pet as it can over soften the paws which may lead to injury or worse, a reaction.
- Paw Massage: Massage can never go wrong. We are thinking of ways to relax the ways, and massage tops the list. Similar to a human massage, a paw massage will relax your dog and promote blood circulation. Start by rubbing between the pads on the bottom of the paw with your thumbs. Rub between each toe, don’t leave any out.
- Building a habit: If you want to add more physical activities to your dog’s routine, start off slow. At a sudden change of activity level, paws may become sensitive, chaffed, or cracked.
- First Aid: Like kids, dogs will play outside and will hurt themselves too. It is only natural. If your dog has injured itself, stop panicking, and apply first aid. Small wounds (smaller than a half-inch in diameter) can be cleaned with an antibacterial wash and then covered with a dog boot. For deeper paw cuts, go to the vet for treatment.
Prevention is better than cure.
You can not keep your dog in a padded cell. There is always a risk of injury, but you can definitely reduce it. Keep your home and yard clear of pointy bits and pieces, anything that can hurt your pet. If there is broken glass or debris around the house, clean it immediately, and be conscious that your dog doesn’t walk on it. Keep your home in such a state in which you can walk barefoot, then only is your pet can stay barefoot too.