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Unlike humans, dogs come with a ready-made pair of shoes and their padded paws! Your dog's paws insulate against extreme weather and protect paw tissue, bones, and joints from injury. For your dog to be healthy and happy, her paws need do their job right. As a dog owner, you can take a lot of steps to keep your dog on her toes all year-long.

Keep Nails Neat If your dog is snagging her nails on the carpet or they're clicking against the ground, it's probably time to trim them and you don't want them to get caught on anything since breakage can lead to infections. Don't cut your dog's nails too close to the quick: as with humans, this causes pain and bleeding. You can always see your local vet here at Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital for help trimming your dog's nails, especially the first time. Avoid Hot Roads and Sidewalks Have you ever noticed your dog limping or licking her feet after a summer walk? Because of our insulated shoes, we don't often think about how hot concrete sidewalks and asphalt roads get. Even a dog's protective paws aren't built to withstand the heat and terrain of synthetic roadways. When possible, make sure your dog is running on something more natural than pavement or metal. Let her jog through that grass or dirt lining the road instead. If you live in an urban area, try walking your dog early in the morning before the asphalt has time to heat up, or walk only in the shade. If you notice your dog limping, carry her to the nearest patch of grass and check her feet for blisters and sores. Cool the paws with water. If your dog continues to limp or you're worried about deeper burns, see your vet immediately. Sidestep Winter Woes If you walk your dog after a snowstorm, you might notice that her feet become covered in balls of snow after a few minutes. This makes it very difficult to walk, which is why she'll often try to chew the snow off when she comes back inside. Dog's feet can also be irritated by the salts and chemicals humans use to defrost the road, which can lead to licking and bleeding after a walk. When you take your dog outside in the snow, try applying a small amount of petroleum jelly to the pads of her paws. Some dogs will tolerate dog-specific booties, which also provide excellent protection against both snow and abrasive chemicals. Trim, Clean, and Moisturize Like their owners, dogs enjoy pedicures but they're also essential to your dog's overall health! When you give your dog a pedicure, you should:

  • Comb paw hair out and trim between the toes

  • Check in-between pads for objects like glass, pebbles, or thorns (remove with tweezers)

  • Use moisturizer from a vet (not human moisturizer or lotion – this can result in lasting damage to your dog's paws) to prevent your dog's paws from cracking and drying

When in Doubt, See a Vet If you need help trimming your dog's nails, treating paw injuries, or dealing with cracked or damaged skin, don't hesitate to see a vet! It's imperative to treat any of your dog's injuries as soon as possible, which is why the Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital is open 7 days a week. If you're ever worried about your dog's paws, call us today at 416-289-2524 so we can get your dog back on her feet as soon as possible!

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