How to Protect Dogs’ Paws

Dogs’ paws are pretty sturdy. The thick layer of keratin that covers the pads are made to handle walking over a multitude of surfaces, but that doesn’t mean they’re impenetrable. When dogs walk on rocks, granite or sand, they’re more likely to develop abrasions, bruises, cuts and puncture wounds.

If you’re an avid hiker who frequently takes your four-legged best friend with you over rocky terrain, or you know you’re traveling to an area, such as the beaches outside your northern California apartment, where your dog could wear down his pads, protect them with the following products and tips below.

  • Clear the area around your house from materials that may harm your dog’s paws, such as nails, broken glass, abrasive surfaces and chemicals.
  • Since ice can form in between dogs’ toes, wipe his feet and legs with a towel after returning home from a walk in the snow or where there’s ice. Dip his paws in warm water if necessary, and dry them thoroughly.
  • Cut your dog’s nails short and trim the fur between his toes to a reasonable level, which will allow for less snow and ice to stick there.
  • For hikes over rocky terrain, apply a soft wax to your dog’s paws to allow them to hunt or move around while still maintaining traction. Musher’s Secret, available in 2.1 ounces and 7 ounces, is a favorite among dog owners who want to protect their pups’ paws from sand, hot pavement, ice and salt.
  • When you walk your dog, walk him in the shade during the summer months, as hot pavement can cause abrasions or burns.
  • Though dog boots don’t allow your pup as much traction as applying wax to his paws does, they still may protect his paws from injuring them further. They’re available in small, medium and large, and small dogs may benefit the most from them.
  • Examine your four-legged friend’s feet regularly so you can spot the difference between healthy-looking paw pads and injured ones.  If your dog is limping, favoring certain feet, biting his feet or licking his paws constantly, you should check for injuries and take him to the vet if necessary.