I was at a trial last weekend in a show ring the 4-H horse club had just finished resurfacing. The fine gravelly sand was probably awesome for horses, but the dogs were foot-sore and limping when it was time to go home, and there were tender patches on their pads. (Darned herding dogs showed no sign of pain in ring!) While you can not let your dog wear booties in the ring according to most organizations rules, you can treat your dogs paws and pads before and after. Before, make certain your dog’s paw fur is trimmed, and there’s nothing between his toes. After his run, when you’re telling him how wonderful he is and how much you love him, check again. Wintertime is especially harsh on dog feet. Think about how chapped your hands get! Always wipe your pets’ feet dry after a walk. There are commercially available products to keep paws in good shape. Cuts on paws are a pain in the butt to heal, but I’ve found that spray-bandages a half-dozen times a day (literally- it wears off very quickly, but it’s less likely to drive your dog insane than a bandage on his foot, unless you’re one of the fortunate ones whose dog tolerates that.) helps keep them at least closed.
Our Corgi Meetup had a fun herding instinct test last summer. My corgi went after the sheep so well at his turn, we let him do it again later in the afternoon. The instructor/tester wanted him to come back and take lessons.
However, the next day he was limping and it turned out his pads were all pink where he’d run the top layer of skin off on the gravely sand – and I felt bad because I’d let him go again.
Thanks for sharing your story Terry! I’m sure it will help all of us to remember our dog’s pads, as it’s easy to forget they are running bare-foot. We wouldn’t know it most the time, would we?…The way they run around fearlessly. Kind of like we might use a garden rake or shovel, and not know we are wearing our skin down.
But dog paws are hardy, that’s for sure. I am always amazed at how Hershey runs through the back fields with me, and everwhere there are these short, hard plant stalks (that have been bush-hogged down), that if I kneel down and put my hand on, are very stiff and hurt my hand with even a light pressure. HOW can she bound so happily and so often through the fields with these things sticking up all over, and not hurt her feet? Or walk more gingerly? I can’t figure it. It’s one of life’s mysteries for me.