The pads on the bottom of your pet’s feet are there to provide cushioning and protection. They also insulate against extreme weather conditions, make it easier for them to walk over rough terrain and protect tissues deep within the paw. However, in order to do all this effectively, they need extra TLC.
Throughout the warmer spring and hot summer months, here are 5 things to watch for when it comes to your pet’s paws.
1. Burns and Blisters. Under the blazing sun pavement and sand become extremely hot, even for the durable pads of your dog’s or cat’s feet. Avoid these areas during the heat of the day and regularly check for blisters, loose flaps of skin, and red, ulcerated patches on your pet’s pads. If you notice any minor burns or blisters, gently wash the paws, apply an antibacterial gel and cover with a loose bandage (baby socks also work well). For serious injuries, consult your veterinarian right away.
2. Constant Licking. There are many reasons an animal might lick their paws; it may be to relieve stress, clean themselves or there might be something else at play, such as allergies. Frequent contact with grass, weeds and pollen can irritate your pet’s paws so pay close attention to when they are licking and whether it is after being outside. Help ease discomfort by using a wet wash cloth to clean their pads when they come back indoors.
3. Dry, Cracked Pads. Changing weather conditions and terrain impact paw pads and can lead to dryness and even cracking. Check them often and apply a moisturizer specially designed for pets. This is important because hand moisturizers can soften pads, which will make them more prone to injury. Nature’s Aid all natural skin gel for pets is great for this as it not only moisturizes but also eases any irritations and has antibacterial qualities that will help heal wounds and ward off bacteria.
4. Foreign Objects. It is easy for foreign objects such as foxtails, pebbles and small bits of debris to become lodged in your pet’s pads or between their toes, especially if they have longer fur. Most items can be removed by simply spreading the toes or using a pair of tweezers. So check them regularly and prevent a small issue from becoming a big problem.
5. Sweating. Did you know that dogs and cats sweat through their paws? While panting may be the first clue that your pet is overheated, a trail of footprints is a sure sign that they are too hot and need to be cooled off.
Avoiding these common paw problems is easily done with regular paw maintenance and taking preventative measures. And remember, if you wouldn’t want to walk bare foot on something, neither will your pet.