After every outdoor activity, clean your dog’s paws with a wash cloth, warm water or dip the paw in warm water bowl. This will wash away the dirt, thorns, stones lodged between digits and the hair.
Taking care of the precious paws…
- Check the paws regularly. Check, not just the paw, but each and every digit for foreign bodies as
moisture trapped in between, leads to bacteria and yeast infection.
- The hair should be trimmed in and around the paws.
- Get any injury checked by your vet. Unchecked injury can house bacteria and infection.
- While hiking or trekking on rough terrain, take extra care and keep checking.
- Routine check should be done every evening for foreign objects, ticks, etc.
Careful nail trimming…
Always remember that it takes a bit of skill to trim your doggy’s nails. You should be very careful about ‘the quick’– the blood vessels and nerves inside the nail – which will be very painful and will bleed profusely if you cut it by mistake.
The best decision is to leave this precarious task to vets or trained grooming professionals. Otherwise you should surely take a proper lesson or training from your vet or groomer before you take over to do the nail trimming yourself.
Feel his paws and pads; if he yelps when you squeeze, it means he is hurt. Also pay attention while he is running or walking – is there a limp or just a hint of a limp, check it out. Notice small things about your dog for clues. In extreme weather conditions like peak summer time or icy road condition in winter, take good care.
- Swollen paws could be because of a foreign object lodged between the toes or cuts and laceration. If the swollen pad feels hot, then there is an infection or a broken toe, take him to the vet immediately for treatment.
- Bleeding is the result of spot injury, due to broken nails – mostly the dew claw, or torn paw pads. Bleeding may not be severe but it is a painful condition. It indicates a torn pad, or something is lodged in; do not remove the object yourself, ask the vet to do it.
- Limping or holding one paw up indicates broken bones, muscle tears or soreness.
- Licking the paws is because of irritants in the paw but too much licking can further irritate the paw. A temporary bandage is one solution.
- For dry paws, apply Vaseline until the cracks heal. Discontinue moisturizer after it heals.
- Sometimes their paws crack due to zinc deficiency. This can be determined and treated by a vet.
- Burn and blister on paws can be a result of extreme hot temperatures. Beware of sand/pavements which can become very hot.
- Consult your vet for any issues.
- Chapping, cracking of paws can be seen from bitter cold.
- Clean the paw and apply Vaseline available over the counter at any chemist on the paw and foot pads. This will stop the cracking and chapping of the paw and also reduce the soreness. Apply it before going for walks too.
- If they hate walking in the cold get your dog booties for his paws. It will take him/her time to adjust to the shoes but will form a barrier against the cold. Taking precautions will save you and your dog a lot of pain.
(Source: Dr Avinash Shedge, Vet)
Did you know about paw-natomy?
Paws of a doggy consist of 22 ‘pads’ with at least 16 toenails (commonly known as ‘claws’ if not mentioned the two additional ‘dewclaws’ were removed during puppyhood). Then the anatomy of a paw can be structured as:
- Digital pads, which bear the body weight
- Metacarpal pad, which is the largest pad
- Dewclaws–the vestigial digit on the foot
- Carpal pads, which provide special traction while descending a slop