Five Pawsitively Good Tips on Maintaining Your Pet’s Twinkle Toes

Your dog’s paws are the foundation of his anatomy. He depends on them not only to take him places, but also to provide traction on snow, ice or other slick surfaces and to help protect him from pain when he’s walking on rocky terrain or hot asphalt.

For good reason, then, paw maintenance is one of the most important aspects of grooming your dog. That includes trimming the nails regularly, trimming the hair between the toes or on the bottom of the feet, and protecting the pads from injuries such as burns and bruises. It is also one of the more neglected areas of grooming.

Most dogs dislike having their paws handled, and put up a fuss about it. And at one time or another, just about everyone has accidentally “quicked” a dog – cutting into the vein supplying blood to a dog’s toenail – and the yelping and blood flow aren’t something that anyone wants to repeat: neither you nor the dog. It is all too easy to throw up your hands and beat feet for something more fun to do, but the following tips will help you get a handle on your dog’s paw care.

1 If you can hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor or ground, they are too long, and are at risk of getting snagged in the carpet or breaking off. To get them back in shape, trim just a little bit every day or so. Each time you trim, have someone feed your dog treats as a distraction. Wait a day or two and trim a little more. Continue this process until they are back at an appropriate length and then make sure they stay that way. We also find that walking your dog on concrete-like surfaces help to naturally file the nails.

2If your dog is scheduled to undergo surgery or having his teeth professionally cleaned at our office, we will make sure to have the nails trimmed while he’s under anesthesia. This only works about once a year, if that, but if the nails are overly long, it is a good way to get them trimmed without anguish on your part or the dog’s.

3 To help your dog walk more comfortably, trim excess hair around and under the paw. That ensures that it doesn’t pick up sharp, pokey plant debris or ever small rocks, which can cause pain or lameness.

4 Paw wax is great to use during extreme weather conditions. Applying paw wax to the paw pads helps protect the layers of skin from damage when in contact with really cold or really hot ground.

5 Get in a habit of checking your dog’s paws, especially after walks or play time in the park. Some dogs can be very stoic and not let on that they are uncomfortable. The faster you can pull debris or splinters from your dog’s foot the easier it will be to prevent infection.

We always say that preventive medicine is the best medicine! It is always a good idea to check your pet all over on a regular basis, and give our office a call if something seems abnormal.

Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic is a state-of-the-art, full-service suburban veterinary facility serving the Pittsburgh Area since 1980.. We offer diagnostic, medical, surgical, and dental care to dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and pocket pets in the Pittsburgh area.

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