How to properly take care of your dog’s paws

Legs are one of the most important body parts. You need to pay close attention to them. Every day we are walking on two legs, but imagine if we had to walk on all four limbs, as our furry friends do. It means twice as much effort to make sure they are healthy. Nevertheless, there are many external factors that can impact their overall state. 

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Structure of the leg

Legs consist of bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and skin like the rest of the body. But there is a big difference as they are using them to carry all of their weight. Therefore the structure needs to be so strong that they could walk, run, and jump with ease. Imagine how strong their legs need to be in order to run fast and jump as high as they do. It’s not that simple as we might think.

Each bone has its own resilience but over the years they become more and more fragile. The same thing happens to joints as their functionality worsens as time passes. Therefore, it is important to take care of them on a daily basis also from the inside by receiving the needed nutrition and vitamins.

Muscles provide movement because they are able to contract. They are known as the organ of the movement. Muscles are the active part of the musculoskeletal system, which ensures the respiratory and movement, also the formation of the walls of the body cavities and static function – keeps the body in a certain position. 

Skin is the largest organ of your dog’s body, it’s the outer shell of the animal and human body. It protects the body from the effects of the environment and microorganisms. It’s also a sensory organ, participates in metabolism and thermoregulation.

We have 3 layers of skin; superficial or epidermis – consists of epithelial tissues, originated from the ectoderm; main skin – consists of connective tissues, derived from mesoderm; subcutaneous tissue – consists of adipose tissue. There is also such a thing as skin appendage that gives extra protection – hair follicles, oil and sweat glands, and claws that grow out of the epidermis. As I mentioned earlier, they are all strengthened by internal forces like nutrition and hormones. Hair helps to regulate body temperature, it protects the skin from soaking and exposure to sunlight. Sebum which forms from oil glands keeps the skin soft, moist, and pliable. Sebum gives the hair coat sheen and has antibiotic properties. And sweat glands, which are also located on the paws, helps to cool the body.

Skin is the most vulnerable organ of them all, it’s most exposed to external conditions. The main functions of the skin are protective function, thermoregulation, reception, secretion, respiration, and excretion. One of the skin’s components that animals have is special pads on their feet that protect them from external shocks.

Problems with paws

Signs of paw issues or injuries:

  • Lameness
  • Limping
  • Bleeding
  • Increased licking
  • Chewing of the paw
  • Red skin
  • Swelling
  • Unpleasant smell from the paws
  • Secretions
  • Refuses to walk
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Allergies

It is one of the most common causes of itching, swelling, and redness of the skin. Just like humans, allergies can be caused by a variety of things. If a dog has an allergy, it becomes stressed, licks, chews, or bites the paws, thus it can worsen the situation. For example, biting the itchy areas can cause injuries and bacterial infection. If your dog has allergic reactions then the key is to understand how they occur in order to avoid them in the future. Keep in mind that the most common cause of allergies is actually inappropriate nutrition. 

Nail issues

One of the most painful things for animals is a torn nail, because it happens in a few seconds, when at first under the influence of adrenaline he does not feel pain, but after a few minutes, when he has calmed down, the pain can be very severe. Such injury can be easily obtained even with short nails so be careful with this.

Nevertheless, remember to regularly trim your dog nails. Because long nails create pressure on the fingers when they hit the ground which intensifies as they are walking. In many cases the nails will be naturally scraped off on regular walks once it comes in contact with a solid ground like asphalt. 

Ingrown nails as well as too long nails give the unnecessary pressure for the paws, but they can also develop bacterial infections, because as the nail grows, the skin tears, allowing bacteria to enter.

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Burns

We are wearing shoes that protect our feet and skin from various external conditions, but many people are not aware that their dog paws can be burned not only in winter but also in summer. In winter we can get chemical burns caused by various chemicals, for example, salt that is used to keep us from slipping on the streets. We wear boots which protect us, but what do our dogs wear? If you don’t live in a big city as we do then this isn’t a big problem for you, because you have access to parks or forests. But when it comes to sidewalks in the city, you have to be very careful with your dog’s feet. Use protection like dog boots.

During summer you should avoid surfaces that are heated in the sun.

Cracked paw pads

Under various conditions, the paw pads can start to crack. It depends on the weather and health of the paw itself. So pay attention to your dogs paws more, because a cracked paw pad can cause some bacterial infection.

Cuts

It is very easy to cut the paw because there is nothing that could protect it from the sharp objects, so you have to be careful when you are going for a walk. Just keep an eye out for sharp objects on the ground when walking with your dog and to make sure that you provide the proper protection when running on rough or uneven ground, pavement. The reason why you need to be extra careful is that if in case something happens the healing process will be quite long as it’s constantly exposed to walking and pressure.

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How to protect and take care of the paws

Feeding your dog with an appropriate amount of a well-balanced diet is vital to its overall health and well-being. You need to find the most suitable food for your pet because the body is strengthened from the inside, as well as if the dog has special dietary needs, this must be observed. What we put inside appears in the health of the skin, nails, bones, and hair.

You have to be careful and observe the characteristics of the seasons, for example, if it is cold outside, appropriate care is also required. The need for boots should be considered and also you have to wash paws after every walk, so the chemicals could be washed away. Use suitable paw creams that give your pet’s paws the care that they need. Also if your dog has long hair then try to free the paws from excess hair that lies between the fingers, the snow sticks to them, which dogs do not like very much and it only creates unnecessary stress to them.

It is just as important to take care of the nails too. You’re lucky if you can manage with only the walks, but for most dogs it’s not that easy. Since nail trimming can be an anxiety-laden experience for many dogs, start handling your puppy’s feet and trimming their nails when they’re young, so they become accustomed to the process. 

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Thank you and stay safe