They are very resistant and are prepared to walk and run without being damaged. We could say that dogs’ pads are equivalent to the sole of your shoes. However, this is a sensitive area that we must take care of and pay attention to make sure it is in good condition. Dogs’ pads, being always in contact with the ground, can crack, hurt and burn.
If your dog gets wounds in this area and you want to prevent these problems, in our dog blog of Las Almenas, we want to give you these 7 basic tips to learn how to protect the pads of dogs.
How are the pads of dogs?
Each paw of your dog has these digital pads that are actually fat deposits with great elasticity, capable of cushioning any impact they may suffer on the bones of the fingers or joints when walking or running.
The skin in this area is thicker, darker and hairless. It contains a broad, superficial layer of keratin, the protein that also forms part of nails and hair. This protein makes the pads so tough.
Dogs’ pads also contain sweat glands that help regulate body temperature and keep the pads moisturized in order to prevent them from drying out and cracking.
In addition, these glands also help the dog to mark its territory when it rubs its paws against the ground.
Why do dogs’ pads get damaged?
Although we have already said that they are very resistant, the pads of dogs have many nerve endings, so any injury that appears in the area can be very annoying for your furry friend.
So, if you want to avoid unnecessary suffering to your dog, you should understand what are the various reasons that affect the good condition of the pads:
Hair and nails.
Some breeds grow hair between the toes, which can cause knots and deformities in the dog’s pads.
This also happens if the dog has very long nails. If you let them grow too long, the dog will not be able to step properly and the pads will be deformed, with the consequent risk.
Excessive wear and tear on the soles of the feet is one of the main causes of injuries to the pads of dogs. In this case, the hardness and type of surface your dog walks on has a lot to do with it.
Excessive exercise or, on the contrary, lack of activity also plays a role, as the skin becomes softer and therefore more vulnerable to erosion.
Cracks in dogs’ pads usually appear in the cold months when low temperatures cause them to dry out and lose elasticity.
If your dog gets cracks in these circumstances, don’t worry too much, but you should try to moisturize the area to prevent the cracks from turning into wounds. Pure petroleum jelly can be of great help in these cases of cracks.
High temperature burns
Do you walk your dog on the asphalt in the middle of summer? Well, this is one of the causes of burns on the pads of dogs. This happens because in the middle of summer, asphalt can easily reach 70 degrees. Something similar happens with beach sand. If it burns you, it burns your dog too.
Prevention in these cases is very simple; when temperatures are high, take walks in the shadows and gardens.
And in case of burns, try to moisturize the paw and apply some healing cream or antibiotic that your veterinarian can recommend.
Because dogs’ pads are so sensitive, excessive cold is also a risk to their paws. Stepping in cold snow can cause friction, cracks and burns on the pads, so try to avoid these situations and if this is not possible, you can use pad protectors.
Remember that, in winter, some breeds, especially toy or mini breeds, also need to be protected with clothing. If you have any doubts about this, we invite you to read our article “How to keep your dog warm during the winter“.
Glass, splinters and other sharp objects can end up in the pads of dogs, causing wounds of varying degrees of severity.
In case of excessive bleeding, stitches may be necessary. Before going to the veterinarian, try to stop the bleeding with hydrogen peroxide and sterile gauze.
Finally, if you find that one of your dog’s pads is inflamed, you should ask yourself what the cause is, as it may be due to an allergic reaction, a mosquito bite or a foreign object that has become stuck.
If you are not sure, it would be better to go to the veterinarian.
How to treat minor wounds and burns
If a superficial wound has occurred, you can do the healing at home. To do this you will need to follow these simple steps:
1-Clean the wound with warm or cold water to check the size of the injury and assess whether or not it is necessary to go to the veterinarian.
2-Disinfect the wound with hydrogen peroxide and then apply some other disinfectant such as clohexidine.
3- It is not advisable to cover the wound with a bandage, it is better to leave it in the air so that it heals. Since he cannot walk well, take him in your arms. And if he has to walk, put a loose bandage, do not tighten it. If it is too tight, it can act as a tourniquet, which can be very dangerous.
4- Finally, you can apply some healing ointment to accelerate healing as soon as possible so that your dog can walk without discomfort as soon as possible.
7 basic tips to protect your dog’s pads
Now that you know the causes and problems that can occur in dogs’ pads, it is time to learn how to prevent these problems:
1-Avoid walks during hours of excessive heat or cold.
Since cold or heat burns are the most common type of injuries that occur on dogs’ pads, it is imperative to avoid these situations. So forget about walks on ice slabs, hot asphalt and beach sand in the middle of summer.
2-Maintain proper hydration
Apply moisturizers to the pads to prevent them from drying out and cracking. Vaseline or ointments with centella asiatica or aloe vera can be a good option, since in addition to moisturizing, this product acts as a regenerator, healing and antiseptic.
3-Trimming the hair on the paws
If your dog has a lot of hair between the toes of its hooves, it is advisable to trim the hair carefully to avoid knots or accumulation of dirt and sweat, which prevent your dog from walking normally.
4-Exercise in moderation
The sedentary lifestyle of dogs means that their pads become softer and more sensitive to erosion. Therefore, to keep them in good condition, it is advisable to practice daily activity, but without overdoing it! Excessive exercise also leads to excessive wear and erosion of the pads.
5-Harden your dog’s pads
In addition to daily exercise, there are products that help harden dogs’ pads. If your dog often has problems in this area, ask your veterinarian for the most suitable product. If you give him a treatment cream you will have to be careful not to lick it, some dogs wear socks to avoid it.
6-Avoid prolonged baths
If your dog likes to bathe, do not let him stay in the water for more than 15 minutes because the skin and pads can become soft. If this happens, they will be more susceptible to damage when they come out of the water.
7-Check the pads after a walk.
Both sharp objects and small spikes can get stuck between the toes, causing infections. To prevent this, it is best to check the pads when you return from a walk. Remove everything you see: twigs, sand, spikes, etc.
Back to walking
Your favorite thing in the world is going for a walk with your dog, isn’t it? No matter where you go, he always follows you… but if he has wounds on his pads you will have to wait a while.
The time it takes for wounds on a dog’s pads to heal varies depending on the type of wound, it can be a matter of a week or even months.
Does your dog have frequent cracks or wounds? Tell us how you get relief in our comment box here below or through our profiles Facebook , Instagram or on our YouTube channel. We hope you found the article interesting and that you have solved your doubts about how to protect dogs’ pads. From our breeder in Las Almenas we wish you a happy walk!