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Pause for Paws: Take Time to Keep Your Dog’s Paws Healthy

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Party Marty here! It’s Friday and I have a few words to share with you before I return to my full-time job of doing nothing. For those of you who know me, I am an amazing cat who has a way with words. I don’t take crap off the dog in the house and usually find a way to sarcastically poke fun of her, but all in good fun. That is my part-time job!

However, I will defer to common sense today and report on ways to keep your dog’s paws happy and healthy, especially during these summer months when the hot, steamy pavement can actually harm your dog’s precious paws. In some ways, I am actually posting this for my benefit, because if the dog in our house is not happy, no one is happy. Can’t deal with that!

After reviewing some information on the ascpa.org web site, I wanted to share a few “paw pampering” tips with you:

The pads on the bottom of your dog’s feet help to protect bones and joints from shock; provide insulation; help when walking on rough terrain; and protect tissue deep inside the paw.  Just like your feet take a beating, so do your dog’s feet.  Here’s a list of things you can do to lighten the load…

  • Give your dog a pedicure! You heard me!  The nails on your dog’s paws should just about touch the ground when he walks. If you hear clicking sounds or they get snagged on the carpet, it’s time to trim them.  Find out from your groomer or veterinarian about the best types of nail trimmers for your dog and learn to properly use them.
  • Paw hair needs to be trimmed on a regular basis to avoid painful matting. Comb the hair out, especially between the toes, and then trim those hairs even with the pads.
  • Be sure to clean in between the toes, as foreign objects and debris can become lodged in your dog’s pads.  Make it a habit to routinely check for pebbles, foxtails, small bits of dirt and debris and other items between your dog’s toes.  These can usually be removed with a pair of tweezers.
  • Don’t forget to moisturize!  Those pads can become cracked and dry. Your vet can suggest a good pad moisturizer. DO NOT use human hand moisturizer, however, as that can soften the pads and lead to injury.
  • Massage!  Who doesn’t love a good massage? Just as you might give a human hand massage, a paw massage will not only relax your dog, but it will also promote better circulation.
  • Now that summertime is upon us, PLEASE be aware of how the hot pavement can hurt or injure your dog. Just as you feel the heat when you walk around barefoot outside on hot pavement, so does your dog.  To prevent burns and blisters, avoid walking your dog on hot pavement or sand.  For minor burns, apply antibacterial wash and then cover the affected paw(s) with a loose bandage. For serious burns, consult your vet immediately!

Thanks for giving me this opportunity to further enlighten you, my faithful readers. I don’t know what I would do without you…other than continue with my sleep. Speaking of which, duty calls! It’s catnap o’clock! Later!

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