Dogs spend so much time running, jumping, and generally romping around.
It's no surprise, then, that dog foot problems are fairly common. Examine
your dog's paws regularly - think of it as a "preventive" health check!
Doing so can help you identify minor problems before they become most
serious (and more costly) problems. Here's a quick summary of some of
the more common dog foot problems, courtesy of
- Biting, licking, or chewing at her paws often indicate allergies.
Your vet can assist you in determining what substances, if anything, your
dog is allergic to.
- Torn or fractured nails can occur when your dog "catches" the nail on
something. This is extremely painful, and the nail should be completely
removed by your vet (do not attempt to do this yourself). Eventually the nail
should regrow unless the trauma to the nail bed was too severe.
- Cut on the paw. Dogs run through all sorts of terrain, so a cut
isn't uncommon. Wash cuts out and apply an antiseptic ointment. Wrap some
gauze around the paw and cover with a soft sock or a dog bootie, if you
have one. This helps to prevent your dog from licking at the wound. Large
or deep cuts should be examined by your vet. If the cut doesn't appear to
heal, starts to look red or begins to "weep", bring your dog to
the vet - he may have an infection.
- Cracked or dry paw pads. Apply a moisturizer to your dog's paws
(check your vet or local pet supply store for moisturizer that's specially
formulated for this purpose). Don't do it too often, though - your dog
relies on "tough" paw pads for walking, and moisturizer can make them
too soft and sensitive.
- Foreign objects lodged in the paw, whether it's in the pad itself
or in between your dog's toes. This includes burrs, seeds, dried mud, ice,
and even just matted fur. Carefully remove any foreign objects and clip
mats - be careful not to nip / damage the "webbing" between your dog's pads.
- Interdigital cysts sometimes occur. These are lumps that form
in between the dog's paw pads. A vet can perform a fine needle aspirate
of the lump to check whether the lump is benign or malignant.
- Long toenails should be trimmed. You can do this at home, or
if you haven't done it before or are uncomfortable doing so, it can be
done at the vet's or at a dog grooming salon. Keeping your pet's nails
short will help to prevent torn nails, and keep walking comfortable for
If your dog runs a great deal, especially over rough terrain or in
very hot or very cold conditions, consider investing in a set of dog
booties. It takes most dogs a bit of getting used to, but the boots
can save your dog's paws from excessive discomfort or injury. Dog foot
problems can occur at any time since our canine pals love to run and
play - so keep a watchful eye out for potential issues that may need
"Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about
seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things
- a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in the shaft of winter sunlight."
See you in a couple of weeks for our photos issue
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- Angela, Newsletter Editor
On behalf of Rundle, the Pet Friendly CEO (Chief Eating Officer)