How to Prevent Dog Paw Pad Injuries

Paw pad injuries can not only be extremely painful for your dog, but they can also cause infections. This type of injury is certainly uncomfortable for your dog while walking. The skin on your dog's paw pads is different from any other skin on their body. Your dog's paw pads are built to withstand and tolerate quite a bit, as they are the surface between the world and your dog as he navigates. And because your dog puts all his weight on his feet when he walks, if his paw pads are injured, he may have a difficult time getting around.

There are different kinds of paw pad injuries from lacerations to burns and bruises. But no matter the kind of paw pad injury, it can be detrimental to your dog's mobility, so preventing them is key.

Watch Weather Conditions

Weather can be a big factor in your dog’s activity levels and exposure to extreme conditions. If your dog is outside in freezing cold for extended periods of time, their paw pads can be susceptible to frostbite. You will likely see swelling or blisters on your dog's paw pads if he has been out in extreme cold and has developed frostbite. The opposite extreme of frostbite, of course, would be burns from the hot summer sun and hot asphalt or sidewalks. If your dog is in an extremely warm area, be cautious of having him outside in the heat of the day without protection on their paws. To prevent either frostbite or burns on your dog's paw pads, keep him inside during extreme weather conditions. If your dog must go out for exercise or elimination purposes, give him a path away from ice or hot asphalt to protect their paw pads. Clearing ice from walkways or avoiding iced over surfaces and walking directly in the grass will give your dog a better chance of avoiding slicing his paw pads on sharp ice. Hosing off hot surfaces such as asphalt or hot patios in the heat of the summer will cool down the surface enough for your dog to walk over temporarily.

Keep Your Dog’s Paw Pads Clean and Trimmed

Yeast is a common factor in paw pad injuries. If your dog is constantly gnawing and chewing on his paw pads or licking his toes, it is likely he has yeast growing on his paws and causing extreme discomfort. Keeping your dog's paws clean and keeping the hair between his paw pads trimmed is a great way to prevent yeast from growing. If he is chewing on his paw pads or licking incessantly between his toes, bathing his paws each day with an anti-fungal shampoo will help clear the yeast and heal the skin irritations caused by the licking and chewing on the area. You can also add probiotics to your dog’s diet to help his body get rid of the yeast. Probiotics can be added directly to his food or given as a treat in supplement form. Adding a low sugar yogurt to your dog’s meals is easy to do, and he will love the taste. Less yeast can prevent chewing on his paws, which could mean fewer yeast infections and sores caused by the chewing and licking. Keeping your dog’s paws clean can prevent irritations and injuries caused by dirt, debris, bacteria, and yeast, as well as your dog’s personal self-care and cleaning methods.

Avoid Dangers

Whether your dog is in your backyard, on a trail, or at a local dog park, be aware of what he could potentially step on, causing a paw pad injury. Sharp sticks and rocks could lacerate your dog’s paw pads, giving him wounds which could become infected and make walking difficult. Avoid areas where the terrain is such that could cause your dog’s paw pads to become cut or bruised. These areas will have obstacles difficult for your dog to avoid. If you are taking your pup hiking or if your dog is a working dog and is often in areas of rough terrain, talk to your veterinarian about ways to protect his paws while he is outside. You can apply wax to the paw pads to protect against some terrains. Doogie boots or shoes are also available for your dog. However, many dogs do not like the way shoes feel and refuse to walk in them. Boots and shoes for dogs also cause your dog to lose traction and the ability to grip the terrain with their feet as they hike or walk. Even in and around your own home, keep your dog away from dangers such as broken glass or toys which could harm his paw pads.

Importance of Prevention

Treating paw pad injuries can be expensive and the effects could also keep your dog from walking. If your dog works with you, these injuries could cause issues within your business. A paw pad injury is painful for your dog. Infection from lacerations could mean limited mobility and require medications for recovery.

Practical Prevention

Owning a dog comes with great responsibility. Keeping your dog safe from harm and injury is a big responsibility but not often easy. Depending on your environment and where your dog plays or possibly works, he may injure his paw pads. Avoiding the dangers of paw pad injuries is often less expensive and easier than dealing with the injury itself. No one wants a pup who is injured in any way, but dealing with injuries that could affect his mobility can make life difficult for your dog and for you.

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