A happy, healthy dog likes to be up and about, playing chase and generally having a great time with their owners, other dogs, kids or just on their own. Dogs just love life and depending on the breed, they might need a lot of exercise or just a gentle walk around the block.
However, your dog’s feet are always exposed to the environment, whether it’s hot and dry, or wet and cold. Just imagine what walking on hot sand, sharp gravel or crunchy grass does to your dog’s feet. That’s why you need to take care of their feet because if you don’t, their paws can be uncomfortable, sore and even injured.
So here are four top tips that will keep your dog healthy and happy on its feet.
1. It’s a dog’s life!
Dogs are the ideal companions and all they want is a balanced diet, exercise, attention and affection. So if you want to keep your dog healthy and happy talk to your vet about their diet, and make sure you give them the exercise they need. Not forgetting the attention and cuddles that help to form a lifelong bond with your dog.
2. Too hot to handle
We know that walking on hot concrete, sand or stones can quickly burn our feet which is why most of us wear shoes outdoors. Dogs have the same problem which is why you need to pay attention to the weather and if it’s too hot during the day, walk your dog in the early morning or later in the afternoon. Working dogs are often fitted with dog booties that protect their paws from injuries caused by hard gravelly ground or snow and ice, but not all dogs tolerate these booties.
3. The problem of grass seeds
Most dog owners know that grass seeds can be a problem for dogs. That’s because these seeds are ‘sticky’ and either attach to the dog’s fur or work their way in between the pads on the underside of their feet. If your dog is allergic to grass seeds (some dogs suffer severe reactions to grass seeds) they can become very ill, very quickly. Even if your dog doesn’t have any allergies, these grass seeds can work their way into the soft skin between their pads and result in an infection. A great solution is to install artificial pet grass in your garden to keep your dog safe and free from problematic grass seeds.
4. Cone of shame
Some dogs have a licking problem and spend hours licking their wounds. Dogs licking their paws is a normal part grooming, but excessive licking can be a serious problem. Dogs will eat just about anything, even other dogs’ faeces, so the bacteria in their mouths isn’t always beneficial to open wounds. If they become injured by walking on sharp gravel or a grass seed becomes stuck in between their pads, their first response is to lick. This behaviour is often the first sign that something is wrong with your dog.
There are also other less obvious reasons why a dog might lick its paws. These include allergic dermatitis (yes pets can get hayfever too!), acral lick dermatitis, parasites and even food allergies. You will need to consult a qualified Veterinary Dermatologist to assist with diagnosis and treatment of these issues, but the licking needs to be stopped as soon as possible. This is where the cone of shame comes into the picture because it prevents them from licking their wounds.
Taking care of your dog’s feet is one of the responsibilities of a good owner but if you have any concerns, always talk to your vet as soon as possible. You know what they say – happy dog, happy owner!