Did you know that your dog’s paw pads act as shock absorbers, protecting his bones and joints from impact when he runs or jumps? Fido’s furry feet actually play a crucial role in his overall well-being. After all, without them, he couldn’t run after Frisbees or squirrels, or put a paw on your leg when he wants attention. Read on for some great ‘pawdicure’ tips from a Roanoke, VA vet.
Probably the single most important thing you can do as far as caring for your dog’s paws is clip his nails. Long claws may not sound like a huge problem, but they are more of an issue than many people realize. If Fido’s nails are too long, they’ll interfere with the angle of his toes against the ground, making it harder for him to get good traction. This also increases the chances of your furry pal slipping and falling. Plus, your canine pal will likely adjust his stance and gait due to the discomfort. This puts a lot of strain on his bones and joints, and can contribute to and/or aggravate issues such as arthritis and hip dysplasia.
Your furry friend’s paw pads are also important! Fido is running around barefoot—or barepawed. In summer, dogs can get painful burns and blisters from running on hot surfaces. In winter, salt, sand, and chemical de-icing agents can cause abrasions and chemical burns. We recommend getting pet-safe de-icers, and applying paw balm or wax to your pup’s paws regularly. (Tip: if you want to make your own, the AKC has a simple recipe here.)
Some pooches have tufts of fur growing between their toes. These are cute, but you may want to cut them: they can collect gunk, which can be painful.
Is Fido shy about having his feet touched? Take time for some desensitization training. Teach your pooch that he gets a yummy snack for giving you his foot. Use high-value treats, such as steak or hamburger. Desensitization can also help teach your dog not to be scared of getting ‘pawdicures’. Start by just running the clipper over Fido’s toes. Click the clippers, so they make that snipping sound. Offer a treat and a head pat, and then just let your canine buddy go.
As your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, we’re dedicated to offering top-notch veterinary care. Please contact us anytime.