Pawdicure for Your Agility Dog

dog paw careEvery season has it’s drawback, but winter can have the hardest toll on your dog’s feet if you are not prepared and don’t take precautions. Cold, dry air cracks, chaps, and dries skin on human and dog alike. But it can mean extreme pain for your dog’s feet when they get chapped and then walk on salted or chemically treated drives and sidewalks. Here are some tips to keep your canine’s paws healthy.

  • Use a paw salve or balm made especially for dogs to keep his pads from getting chapped or raw.  This is especially important for dogs running agility in dirt or sand arenas. Already irritated pads can tear on matting and be terribly irritated if they walk on salt or chemically treated surfaces.
  • Keep paws clean.  Wipe them off when the dog comes inside, and if they walked on freshly treated lawns, mud, or salt, wash them off. You can teach your dog to step into a pan of warm water and stand for you to rinse them off.
  • Keep nails trimmed. Long nails cause pain while walking, and if they get too long, they cause toe deformation.  If you prefer not to trim your dog’s nails, take them to a groomer.
  • Keep fur between the toes trimmed.  The hair between pads collects snow and it builds up between the toes causing pain, irritation and even sores. While it does help protect the feet on sand, grass, and dirt, it can also cause your dog to slip on smooth surfaces.
  • Consider Booties  I know dogs often hate these, but if your dog has extremely sensitive feet, it may be worthwhile to take the time to train your dog to accept them for agility and walks outside.  A friend of mine has a dog with contact allergies, and booties do seem to help him.

I hope these tips and tricks keep your dog’s paws happy and healthy!