Common Dog Paw Health Problems And How To Treat Them
You may be well-versed in what it takes to keep your dog’s coat healthy, but not many people know how to spot a healthy or unhealthy paw. When it comes to grooming, many people stop at clipping their dog’s nails, and some people will only leave this for the vet. Like humans, dogs rely on their paws, claws and pads to get them around every day, so making sure they are healthy is essential for keeping your pet happy. Spotting the warning signs of these common paw health problems early is a good way to ensure your pet stays healthy year round.
It’s very easy to nick the quick of the nail when trimming your dog’s claws. This can be very painful for your dog and leaves their claw open to infections. If you are unsure about how to clip your dog’s nails, ask a dog groomer or vet to show you how to do it. If your dog doesn’t like to be handled, it might be best to leave claw trims to the professionals, as it’s very easy to clip the dog’s quick if your dog is moving around too much. There isn’t much you can do for an over clipped nail, other than to stop the bleeding if there is any and to keep your dog away from very muddy or dirty areas while their paw heals.
If you’ve ever experienced a hangnail, you will know how painful these can be. Torn nails can lead to broken toes in extreme situations, so it’s important to check your dog’s nails regularly for any damage. Keeping them clipped to a proper length will help to prevent torn nails.
If you notice your dog limping or licking their paw an excessive amount, they might have a foreign object stuck in the pad or between their paws. In some cases, they might not have any changes to their gait, so it can be difficult to identify when this has happened. If you cannot easily remove the foreign body, it may require a trip to the vet to prevent further damage.
In the winter months when the pavements are gritted with salt, your dog’s paws may become sore and cracked. If this happens they might be more susceptible to infections, so it’s important to keep an eye on your pet’s pads throughout the year. In summer, the effects of walking on hot tarmac can produce a similar outcome. To soothe cracked paw pads, try rubbing a little bit of coconut oil into your pet’s paws.
The dewclaw is a single digit located further up your dog’s leg. Not all animals have these, so it’s important to know if your dog has them so you can look out for damage. These claws will also need to be clipped to prevent any ingrown nails causing them problems. The dewclaws are also more likely to get caught while your dog is running, so check them regularly for signs of damage.