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Summer Paw Care for Dogs

summer paw care sizedIt is important to think about your dog’s paws during summer activities. Paw care is not time consuming and a little effort can keep your dog happy and active all summer long.

Make sure your dog’s nail care is not neglected. If he walks on cement or asphalt frequently, he may wear his nails down naturally, but it’s a good idea to check to be sure. If he has any dewclaws – small vestigial nails higher up on his leg, which don’t touch the ground – they will need regular trimming. Dewclaws are more common on front legs, but can be found on the rear legs of some dogs.

Hot, dry weather can predispose dogs to cracked or brittle nails, which can be painful. A quick “cure” may be as simple as applying liquid bandage, but some dogs will still limp for a few days. Diet can contribute to cracked and brittle nails and a zinc supplement may help. Talk to your veterinarian before adding any supplements to your dog’s diet.

Pad injuries are very common in warm weather. A cut pad may require veterinary attention. The cut flap will cause pain every time your dog steps. A deep cut may require sutures and a splint to help hold the paw together while it heals. Without a splint, the pad often  rips open again as your dog walks around.

It’s also possible for paw pads to get burned. Always check the temperature of sidewalks and roads if you are planning a walk with your dog. This warning extends to sand in beach areas as well. If a surface is too hot for you to go barefoot, it is too hot for your dog! Try to plan walks in the early mornings or evenings after things cool down a bit.

If you live in areas with nasty plant life like foxtails, check in between your dog’s pads after each walk. Feel from above – going between each toe – and underneath – going between each individual pad. This quick check can help you find potential problems.


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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • grmaof4 June 13, 2013, 9:23 pm

    my jack russell (full blooded) chews on her front and back paws. I have checked and see no cracks, burns, etc. Is this normal and can you advise what I can do to ease anxiety.

    • VetDepot June 17, 2013, 8:50 am

      Dogs can experience anxiety for a variety of reasons. We advise that you speak with your veterinarian regarding the best treatment plan for your individual pet.

    • aga June 18, 2013, 3:50 pm

      Our dog does too – constantly. She chews so bad that her paws start to bleed. We’ve tried EVERYTHING, but so far no real solution. We think it may be allergy related – vet agrees. What seems to work best is a home remedy potion; water, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide. We spray her paws and in between every time she comes in from outside-this seems to sooth her discomfort and prevents chewing (it’s stinky).

      • Terri July 15, 2014, 7:53 am

        My Shihtzu did the same thing until we went to a grain free food. Since changing food, he no longer chews on his feet

    • zbr July 15, 2014, 10:24 am

      Your dog might have allergies. See a Vet to see what you can do for them. Like the Shihtzu, it was food allergies, with mine it’s environmental. He does well with AllerG 3 unless he’s stressed. We use hydroxyzine(?) then.

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