This post is written by our holistic veterinarian at "I and love and you", Dr. Angie Krause, DVM, CVA, CCRT.
Your dog’s paw pads act like tough rubber tennis shoe bottoms that protect their feet from the elements. However, these pads are still susceptible to injury from terrain, weather, and chemical irritants. In this article, I will review 4 ways to help protect your pup’s paw pads and treat common injuries.
4 Ways to Help Protect Dog Paw Pads:
- Hot Pavement Burns: Asphalt and pavement can become very hot in the summer temperatures. This can cause severe injury to paw pads in the form of burns and blistering. You can protect your pup by walking on dirt or grass, walking in the morning or evening to avoid peak sun time, or by using booties to protect the skin of the pad. You can assess pavement temperature by placing your hand on the pavement and holding it there for 10 seconds. If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your dog.
- Ice Melt Burns: The ingredients in certain types of ice melt can be caustic to your dog’s feet, causing chemical burns. Ice melts made of calcium salts are the most effective at melting ice, but are the hardest on your pup’s pads. The urea based ice melts are safer and less caustic. If your dog comes in contact with any ice melt formulations, giving their feet a rinse and a wipe is helpful in avoiding paw pad irritation.
- Allergies: If your dog is constantly licking their paws or they have cracked paw pads, they could be suffering from allergies. This could be caused by food allergies or environmental allergies. If your dog’s paws are cracked you can apply vaseline, vitamin E oil, or coconut oil covered by a sock or a boot.
- Winter Weather: Snow and ice can be really uncomfortable for your dog’s paw pads and feet. If your dog is small or has sensitive feet, consider using boots on all four feet when going on moderate to long walks in the snow.