8 Pro Tips to Care For Your Dog's Paw
A dog’s main ‘tools’ for discovering the world present its nose and paws. Dog paws work a lot for dogs’ bodies and help them to investigate the environment. They walk, scratch, jump, run and dig thank to those marvelous body parts.
Since they are also most exposed to many harmful influences, every dog owner needs to pay attention to their care as well.
Dog Paws Anatomy
One thing is for sure. Dog paws are something incredibly cute! No matter if your pooch has small or big, floppy or furry, his paws are of great importance. They have complex anatomy, and along with hundreds of tiny bones, dog feet consist of ligaments, blood supply, skin, tendons, and connective tissue.
And, did you know that a dog’s paws are the only place where it can sweat? Since dogs whole bodies are covered with fur, they can regulate a temperature only through their paw pads. They are rich in fatty tissue that helps in protecting the feet from extremely hot or cold temperatures.
Another important fact is that dog paws serve to protect the bones from walking on hard and sharp surfaces. They help in saving bones from injuries when walking on different types of terrain.
When we talk about dog paws anatomy, they consist of 5 elements: carpal pad, dewclaw, metacarpal pad, digital pads, and claws.
Dog Paw Problems - How to Recognize them?
Depending on how much you care about your dog’s paws and his lifestyle, your pooch will live a quality and careless life. Dogs paws that are more exposed to rough terrains will have thick and drier skin on their paws.
Unfortunately, some dog owners are not aware of the fact that it much affects their health as well. There are many health issues that can affect your furry friend feet. For example, it can be a condition called pododermatitis, paw sores, burns, blisters, hyperkeratosis, different fungal infections, and many others.
What is Pododermatitis?
Pododermatitis is a condition that affects a dog’s paws and is followed by red, swollen, and itchy skin that become hairless. Other symptoms include a dog’s inability to walk, bleeding, bad odor, and visible bloody or yellowish discharge.
It occurs due to many reasons such as allergy, atopic dermatitis, anxiety, yeast or bacterial infection, neoplasia, and parasites.
In case your dog shows an allergy, you need to determine the root of the problem. Allergy in our four-legged friends usually happens due to food intolerance or some other environmental allergens.
Environmental allergens include seasonal pollen, walking on different plants that cause allergies, dust, mites, insect bites, and dirt.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to find out the main reason for your dog’s swollen and irritated paws.
Luckily, in food type of allergy, a dog owner can easier determine the trigger by trying an elimination diet that usually lasts 2 weeks. In other cases, a dog can be fed by a diet that excludes by-products, grains and other allergens such as dairy products.
Note that pododermatitis can occur for many reasons, however, an allergy is the most common one.
It might sound silly, but a dog can also develop pododermatitis by feeling stressed. In case your furry friend becomes scared of thunderstorm, firework or he just hates staying alone, then he might start feeling anxious. One of the most common behavior to deal with stress in such situations is excessive paw licking that leads to pododermatitis.
Another reason for dogs suffering from pododermatitis is in case he suffers from atopic dermatitis. Like in people, it occurs due to genetics or environmental allergy.
Since a dog with atopic dermatitis has extremely dry and painful on touch skin, getting a pododermatitis is the next step. The most commonly affected areas in dog’s body include paws, wrists, ears, underarms, between the toes, and groin.
How to Treat Pododermatitis in Dogs?
Pododermatitis can become very painful condition if it’s not treated on time. Since there are many reasons for occurring, your vet needs to determine the type and reason of pododermatitis.
So, in case your pooch suffers from environmental allergy then you’ll need to minimize clinical signs by buying your dog a good pair of sneakers. It’s true that some dogs will feel uncomfortable to wear them, however, think about it as a great solution for dealing with this problem.
Pollen and other plant juices can cause your dog to scratch, rub, and lick the paws to blood. Another solution presents using different topical sprays and creams that will prevent a dog from further injuring the pads. The best pick is to use a spray with a cooling effect.
In case when a dog developed an infection, he’ll need to take an oral antibiotic therapy as well.
What is a Paw Hyperkeratosis?
Hyperkeratosis is probably one of the ugliest conditions to see on dog paws. It is followed by crusty and hairy patches that can occur on a dog’s paws, ears, and muzzle.
However, it’s nothing unusual to become visible on other body parts too. Unfortunately, there is no complete cure for such an issue, so that’s why is extremely important to prevent paws from developing severe hyperkeratosis.
This type of condition is otherwise called ‘hairy feet’ and it occurs when a body produces too much keratin. It is a fibrous protein that is found in everyone’s hair, and a dog’s claws. With producing too much keratin, dog paws become crusty and start to crack and even leads to an inability to walk.
How to Treat Hyperkeratosis in Dog Paws?
Besides you need to think on time on how to prevent your pooch from the suffering of this condition, another option is to regularly soothe the pads.
One of the best natural remedies for moisturizing the dog’s cracked skin is a marigold oil or cream. Marigold is widely known for its healing properties and solving minor cuts, abrasions, and wounds.
In case your four-legged friend already developed paw hyperkeratosis, then you’ll need to ask your vet to trim the excessive hair grown. The procedure will need to be repeated every few months because once a dog develops this condition, it’s very difficult and rare to get rid of it completely.
What are Paw Sores?
Paw sores on dogs present an extremely painful condition and may cause a dog to limp. They are described as red and swollen spots that usually occur between the toes. In case a dog releases a smelly discharge then he has definitely developed a bacterial infection.
The reasons for a dog’s having sores are many. In most cases, it’s an underlying fungal bacterial or parasite infection, chemical injury or foreign object stuck between the toes.
Walking on hot pavements in summer and road salt in winter can cause serious burns and paw sores on dog paws. Therefore, you need to put your dog’s paw protection in the first place.
Do Your Dog’s Paws Smell Like Popcorn?
In case you’ve noticed that your dog’s feet smell like Fritos, then it’s probably caused by an overgrowth of yeast and bacteria. Yeast is naturally occurred on a dog’s skin and can grow when a dog constantly licks his body parts.
Besides the smelly odor, yeast infection in dog paws is followed by greasy and scaly skin that can become hairless.
After you take your pooch to see a vet, he will prescribe you oral antifungal medication, as well as using certain topical sprays to prevent a dog from further licking.
How to Take Care of Dog Paws?
One of the most important rules when taking care of a dog paws present a regular cleaning. Dog paws can collect dirt and plant pieces between the toes and cause pains and injuries.
Therefore, we recommend you to regularly check for plant stuck in your dog paw pads and to clean them by using baby wet wipes. When you are in a hurry, wet wiper or a wet towel can serve as a great option for keeping both your furry friend’s feet and your house clean.
Another option presents regular paw washing. We recommend you to use only hypoallergenic dog shampoo because shampoos for humans have different pH value. Using baby shampoos are also not recommended at all.
Since you also need to soothe the dog’s paws, the best product to use is a dog paw balm. Dog paw balms heal the dry and cracked skin and can even solve minor injuries and cuts. They are usually rich in natural oils, propolis, and other herbs that are famous for their relieving properties.
Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed is another important part of taking care of dog paws. It’s true that nail trimming present not so thrilling routine for your pooch, so that’s why you need to do that gradually.
By giving him treats, telling some praise words, and showing affection, you will definitely succeed to relax him. One of the precautions is to make sure not to hurt the claws. Otherwise, they can start bleeding and develop serious infections.
Don’t forget to trim the hair between your dog’s toes as well. The pockets between toes can collect dirt and pollen that present the main triggers for suffering from dog paw problems.
Building Your Dog’s Immune System
The importance of having a strong immune system is the key to living a healthy life. As a dog owner, it’s true that you want to provide only the best care and nutrition. However, sometimes you need to put more efforts and try to naturally build your dog’s immune system.
What fruits dogs can eat?
First of all, there is a common misconception that dogs should not eat fruits because of the sugar contained. Fruits actually leave dozens of beneficial effects on a dog’s skin, heart, and other organs. Vets highly recommend putting slices of fresh apple into your four-legged friend’s meal because of the high amount of fiber. Eating food rich in fiber is very healthy for your pet’s digestive system, especially in case he/she has hard stools.
When giving your dog an apple, it’s important to remove the skin (because of the pesticides), and the seeds that contain cyanide.
Choose fruits and veggies rich in antioxidants
Another important ingredients for building your dog’s immune system and stopping him from having paw issues present eating food rich in antioxidants.
Fruits like blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries contain a high amount of antioxidants that improve the dog’s skin health and have even shown that fight cancer. Natural antioxidants include vitamin E, C, and citric acid.
When feeding a dog with fresh fruits, there is only one precaution. Since they are rich in sugar, you need to ask your vet for advice on what amount of fruits is your pooch allowed to eat during the week.
Depending on your dog’s age, activity level, and breed, you need to get a specially prescribed diet.
Include Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids into your dog’s diet
Other important ingredients that can solve your dog’s paw issues are Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. They present the second important part of your dog’s diet and can be found in different kind of fish, and some fruits and veggies.
The dog food experts recommend including these magical ingredients into your dog’s nutrition because they serve to control inflammation in a dog’s body.
So, in the case when a dog experiences paw issues, a good balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids will help. It’s also important to note that you should not overstate in using these 2 ingredients because they work well only when kept in good balance.
We all know how much we can love our dogs. We take care of them like they are our children because dogs are the only creatures that will love us unconditionally.
However, sometimes you can’t stop certain problems to happen and paw issues are one of them. Dog paws take an important place in the lives of our furry friends, and that’s why you need to notice any unusual change on time.