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.