This article was recently updated on January 24th, 2022.
Paw care for dogs and cats is an important part of overall pet health - however, keeping your pet’s paws healthy doesn’t have to be a challenge. Your pet's paws are as important to them as your hands and feet are to you. That’s why it’s important to protect them, and prevent them from cracks, splits or injuries. Here are 5 simple tricks to healthy paws for cats and dogs!
- Healthy paws for dogs
- Healthy paws for cats
Healthy Paws for Dogs
Here are a few tips on how pet parents can keep their dog’s paws healthy, including treatment and preventative care:
If you hear clicking while your pet walks or they keep getting snagged on the floor, it's time for a pedicure.
When you let your pet's nails get too long they're at risk of being ripped off. Your pup's nail could get caught on carpeting or furniture. If your dog doesn't spend a lot of time outside wearing down their nails, it becomes harder for dogs to walk around comfortably if nails aren't trimmed.
Get Rid of Dog Paw Gunk
Tree sap, gum, tar, other dog feces, and the list goes on of things your dog can accidentally step on during your walks. You can imagine how icky that'll make them feel once the gunk begins to build up. To clean sidewalk surprises with your pet's paws, use a little Dawn (animal-friendly) dishwasher detergent. If you aren't able to get the stubborn gunk off, you should head over to your vet. Believe us, you don't want to get yourself into a sticky situation by accidentally cutting your pup's footpad, trying to remove gunk.
Not only will giving your dog a paw massage help the circulation in their paws; it's also extremely relaxing for them.
How to rub their paws: Massage your dog's first fore paw gently. Don't forget to get between the pads on the bottom of the paw. Start between the pad of the first and second toe, then rub between each toe. Check the dog's paws for any injury or abnormality while you are massaging.
Moisturizing can help treat rough paws that are cracked or peeling, just remember to avoid human lotion on your pet's paws; this will lead to injuries. Instead, use products made specifically for canine paws.
Avoid Paw Burn
Have you ever walked on the street in the middle of the day barefoot? Do you remember how unbearably hot the asphalt felt on your feet? Your pup can experience this too. A good rule to follow is - If the concrete or asphalt burns the palm of your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws. By following this rule, you can prevent a dog's paw from cracking, or blistering.
Do a Weekly Paw Check
It's a good idea to get in the habit of looking at each paw weekly. You can do this while giving your pet a foot massage. This is excellent preventative paw care for dogs.
Related Article: Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?
Pet's Healthy Paws - Cats
Here are a few tips on paw care for cats.
Scratching Post is a Must
For cats, scratching isn't just second nature; it's first nature. According to Dr. Conrad, "Cats scratch for a variety of reasons. It relieves anxiety; it's a form of exercise; it hones their nails; it strengthens and stretches their muscles; it marks territory."
That's why a scratching post (or a few) is a must for your cat's claws. The scratching post will also keep them from practicing their natural urges on your furniture.
Wiping your pet's paws daily is especially important if you have an outdoor/indoor cat. Even if your cat stays inside, daily paw cleaning is a great time to inspect their feet.
Avoid Dry Paws Pads
One way a cat experiences dry, irritated, and even cracked paws is from jumping onto hot sidewalks. Similar to dogs' paw pads, cats can burn them on hot asphalt too while exploring. However, dogs can avoid this much easier. With cats, their outdoor adventures are always a mystery.
If your cat's paw pads become dry and irritated, treat them by rubbing them with safe oil for them to lick, like coconut oil. You may want to keep your cat in an enclosed space while the oil absorbs to keep them from spreading it through your house.
If your cat's paws become severely dry and cracked, we advise speaking to your vet.
If your cat is relatively young, they likely trim their nails enough on their own through outdoor activities and a scratching post. However, when aging, cats become less active. In such cases, it is essential to trim their claws, which can get a longer curve, and penetrate the pad, sometimes causing an infection.
Daily Paw Inspection
As we mentioned above, it's a good idea to get in the habit of looking at each paw weekly. You can do this while giving your pet a foot massage. This is excellent preventative paw care.
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