Pause for paws

by Mark James on December 26, 2010

dog-paw-careOne particular aspect of looking after your pet dog that many people seem to overlook is the condition of his paws. Pretty much like our own feet, we tend to ignore them until something goes wrong. Your dog can’t tell you if he’s in any discomfort, and the first you know of it is when he’s limping.

It’s advisable to have a regular routine for checking your pet’s paws – every day, if possible. Paws are very sensitive, even considering that your dog walks about on them all day, and he may not like having them touched. However, if you start your checks at a young age, you shouldn’t have a problem. Even if he’s a little older, he’ll be happy to let you examine them if you associate your inspection with a treat.

Start by checking if any of his nails are broken, and if there is anything stuck in his paws. Look between his toes and make sure that there are no cuts or bald spots. If you find any lesions or swollen areas, it’s time for a trip to the vet.

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and there are steps you can take to minimise any damage to his paws. It’s a good idea to check them after you’ve been out playing or exercising with him, especially if you’ve been in an open, grassy area where he may have picked up splinters or prickly seeds.

If he’s been swimming or you’ve given him a bath, make sure to dry his paws thoroughly to prevent any infections from developing. If you think that he may have stepped in some chemicals, don’t allow him to lick his paws. This also applies if there are any swellings or ulcers on them.

Lastly, be sure to regularly trim your dog’s nails to prevent them breaking or snagging. Special dog nail clippers are available, and these are as an essential purchase as a dog collar or dog basket.

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