Our furry friends rely on their paws for everything they do, from running and playing to exploring the world around them. Like humans, dogs can be susceptible to various weather-related challenges, making proper paw care essential for their comfort and well-being. To make things easier, here at Christies we want to provide some education on paws and suggest some tips and tools to prevent, or treat, paw problems.
Getting Familiar with Paws
While it would be easy to dive right into product recommendations and tips, we think it’s best to educate ourselves, pet owners, and groomers as best as we can, so we want to cover some basics of paw anatomy, which should make ongoing issues, or potential problems as easy to spot as possible before consulting a vet.
Digital Pads: These are the four smaller, fleshy pads between the toes that help with traction and balance. If a dog is suffering issues with their digital pads, you may notice them limping more.
Metacarpal and Metatarsal Pads: These larger, slightly raised pads are located behind the digital pads and offer additional support and cushioning. Similar to digital pads, this area can be injured or become sensitive and require care, especially with active breeds that might run around on hard surfaces.
Claws: Dog's claws, or nails, are used for digging, scratching, and gripping surfaces. Nail care should be a key part of any routine. If nails get too long they can become very sensitive and even cause pain by clicking the ground as your dog tries to move around.
Toes: Dogs typically have four toes with claws on each paw, and some may have a dewclaw; a fifth toe without a claw. Most dogs just have them on their front legs; a few, like Great Pyrenees and Briards, also have them on their rear legs.
The Importance of Year-Round Paw Care
Weather, activity level and genetic conditions can all play a part in dog paw care. Even in seasonable weather, problems can occur, and that makes year-round paw care all the more important.
Weather-Related Concerns: In the winter, cold temperatures and road salt can harm your dog's paws, while hot pavement and sand in the summer can lead to burns. Year-round care helps mitigate these risks.
Preventing Infections: Dirt, debris, and foreign objects can easily become lodged in your dog's paws, potentially leading to infections. Proper paw care can help reduce these risks.
Nail Health: As mentioned earlier, overgrown nails can cause discomfort and impact your dog's gait. Regular nail maintenance is vital for their well-being.
Skin Conditions: Dogs can develop skin issues on their paw pads. Routine care can help spot problems early and prevent complications.
How Can I Prevent Paw Care Problems?
Being proactive and regularly checking your dog’s paw condition can go a long way to preventing any issues from spiralling and becoming a bigger concern. There are a few products every pet owner and groomer should have when it comes to paw care. We’ll cover them below: