The bottom of your dog’s paw which is known as the footpad, is an area that contains many blood vessels. Even a small injury to the pad can result in a great deal of pain, and there is potential for major bleeding which can lead to further complications. Dogs will ignore the pain of a cut or other injury, and possibly harm themselves more severely, so it is up to you to protect your pup’s feet.
In general there are a few cosmetic things you should make sure to do regularly to be certain that no injuries occur.
1. Make sure that you trim your dog’s nails. Nails left untrimmed can become very painful for a dog, and can even lead to joint problems later on.
2. After you’ve made sure your dog’s nails are an appropriate length, you should also examine the spaces between their toes. Most dogs grow small tufts of hair between their toes, and these hairs can trap small rocks, and debris which could hurt their feet if they step on something painful. Check this area every time when you come in from playing outside.
In the summer, the asphalt outside can be up to 40 to 60 degrees hotter than the air outside, this means that the temperature on the ground can reach heights of well over 100 degrees when conditions are correct. Ground temperatures like these can lead to blistered footpads for your dog, especially in cases of dogs with tender feet who may be unaccustomed to walking in those conditions. Injuries can actually cause your dog to lose layers of skin covering their footpad which will result in more sensitive feet over time.
Even though winter has mostly come and gone, it is important to be mindful of your dog’s paws during the colder months of the year as well. Paws can become dry and cracked due to dry environmental conditions, as well as exposure to the harsh chemicals, and road salts that are often sprayed on the ground when it gets icy. Always make sure to thoroughly wipe off your dog’s paws when returning from the ice or snow because of this.
Often it is difficult to tell when your dog has injured this part of their body. It can be painful to put weight on a burnt paw or footpad so be mindful of any limping, or refusal to walk from your dog. Your dog may also constantly worry the area of a burn as well which can make the injury worse. Many dogs have dark footpads, and in this case you will be able to tell that your dog has burnt their pads if you see obvious pieces of skin that appear to be missing. Discoloration of the skin in this area is also common, but with darker skinned dogs it will be difficult to notice.
By following a few simple rules, it is surprisingly easy to protect your dog from hurting themselves in this way.
1. Make sure to check the temperature of the pavement before allowing your dog to go walking on it. If you test the pavement and it is too hot for your skin after 5 seconds, then it is definitely too hot for your dog as well.
2 In this case stay on the grass instead of the asphalt.
3. In places where grass is not available to walk your dog, avoid some of the heat by planning to walk your dog later in the day or at night.
4. Get booties for your dog! Booties not only protect your dog’s nails and toes, but more importantly they protect your dog’s foot pads from cuts and burns.
The Healers Urban Walkers dog boots are a great, affordable option for booties for your dog. They were designed by a former shoe designer for Nike, and are made in the United States. Their flexible wrap around design makes them super easy to get on your dog.
They are also the only brand of dog boots that are sold in pairs of two, so that you may customize the fit to your dog specifically since front and back feet are often different sizes.
The boots are constructed from anti-microbial fabric that is designed to wick moisture away from your dog’s feet, with a non-slip lining to make sure the boots stay in place comfortably. In addition, they feature a synthetic leather sole which provides traction on surfaces that may be challenging for your dog, like hardwood, but are also well suited for outdoor surfaces and gravel.
Alcott’s Explorer Adventure dog boots are an option one step up from the Urban Walkers. These boots use Velcro straps with reflective material in order to make sure your dog can be seen. They are lightweight, but their thick rubber soles provide protection for your dog’s feet from gravel and other dangerous outdoor surfaces, hot pavement, and wintery streets. These boots are easy to wash when dirty. Simply clean them with water and soap, let them dry out and they are ready for use again. When you and your dog are through with Alcott’s boots for the day, they can also be stored in the included mesh storage bag.
Kurgo makes a really unique option for dog booties. The Kurgo LED Step-N-Strobe boots feature two sets of colored LED lights. The green lights on the right shoes, and the red lights on the left shoes help to indicate which direction your dog is travelling in which is handy in lower lighting. They also feature a reflective weld which ensures 360 degrees of visibility of your dog. The boots are constructed from a breathable tight weave mesh, and feature structured synthetic leather uppers and outsoles. The battery housing for the LEDs is water tight as well.
As a dog owner it is important that you make sure to protect your dog’s foot pads and paws from burns or any other injuries from walking on unsafe ground. Luckily, this task is not as daunting as it may seem as there are plenty of simple, easy to follow tips and suggestions to help you accomplish this task. However with the availability of protective boots for your dog it is even easier to do this, and there are some great options to keep in mind. Next time you go out for a walk with your dog, make sure to be mindful of the ground they walk on, and your dog will be more likely to take many more walks with you in the future happily and comfortably.