Have you seen your dog lick its paws or even nibble its claws? If so, then it’s high time to deal with the topic of “paw care for dogs” in detail. What initially sounds like mere cosmetics can quickly become a health problem for your four-legged friend. With proper paw care for your dog, you can counteract a misalignment of the joints, make it difficult for mites and ticks and prevent inflammation of the pads. Find out here how it works and what you absolutely have to consider!
Paw health – why you should clip nails and groom paws
At the latest when your dog is holding its paws at a slight angle when sitting or walking or makes clicking noises on hard ground like a tap dancer, you should take care of its paws. Because the noise can be the cause of your dog’s claws being much too long. If he also slips frequently, this can be due to the hair on his paws being too long.
But why is that today? When dogs still lived their wild existence and hunted, nature took care of their paws. Walking on hard surfaces, stones and rocks caused regular abrasion of the claws even as puppies. Our “modern” four-legged friends, on the other hand, move far too seldom and sometimes on soft floors, so that their claws continue to grow according to taste, without experiencing natural abrasion. In some dogs, hairs sprout between the paw pads, which, if they grow too long, make it difficult for the dog to walk. They must therefore be cleaned and trimmed regularly.
This will tell you when paw care is necessary:
- Claws that touch the ground and push themselves up
- Dog licks paws
- Dog nibbles paws
- Frequent slipping on slippery floors
- Reluctance to run or walk
- Tilting of the paws
- Pain when walking
- Lameness, limping
A dog pedicure consisting of cutting and filing the claws and clipping the hair in the spaces between the balls can help here.
Dangers and diseases in dogs from neglected paws
Claws that are too long make it difficult for the dog to walk and can cause it pain: When the pads roll-off, they are pushed up into the claw bed and exert uncomfortable to painful pressure on the dog’s pads.
Your dog will try to avoid this pain and put its paws to the side as much as possible, which means that long-term and long-term damage such as muscle tension or hardening, joint damage, and misalignments of the musculoskeletal system are inevitable.
A dog that only walks on the tips of its claws cannot make proper use of its pads, which in normal conditions serve as a kind of ABS braking system and suspension. In general, there is a risk that dog claws that are too long will tear, break or tear off. Unused claws of the fifth toe, so-called wolf claws, which are located on the hind legs slightly above the paw, can grow into the flesh and cause pain as well as inflammation. With long wolf claws, your dog can get caught on something in the bushes and even tear them out.
Hair between the pads of the paws tends to become matted and serves as a good hiding place for parasites such as ticks and mites. In winter, acrid road salt, damaging grit, and persistent dirt can accumulate there, causing inflammation or infection.
Tips for proper paw care
For paw care, you need small standard equipment with utensils such as:
- Special claw clippers, a claw trimmer is sufficient for small dogs
- Shears with blunt ends
- nail file
- Flashlight, headlamp, or another strong light source
- Possibly a small bathtub
- Special paw balm
If your dog’s hair hangs over its paws, trim it down to the level of the claws. The hair in the spaces between the pads must also be trimmed away so that it does not become matted and cause the dog to slip. Only use special scissors with rounded ends for this.
If your dog’s paws are particularly attacked, treat him to a nourishing paw bath. For this purpose, put enough lukewarm water in a tub and shampoo his paws in it. Then rinse them thoroughly and dry them carefully with an absorbent towel. Then you can continue with the claw trimming and then massage the pads with a paw balm.
Nail trimming requires practice with nail clippers and a file, as well as a calm dog who trustingly gives you the paw. Please have a veterinarian look over your shoulder and advise you the first time your claws are clipped.
The dog’s claws must be cut so that they do not touch the ground. At the same time, you must not injure the so-called life in the dog’s claw, as it bleeds profusely and causes great pain to the dog.
Paw care in winter: why is it necessary?
During the cold season, roads and paths can not only be slippery but also really uncomfortable for your dog’s paws. Road salt or hard grit tear open the dog’s paw pads and cause unpleasant burning or even bloody injuries that can potentially lead to inflammation. Rolled gravel, ice, and snow between the toes also cause your dog a lot of trouble in winter, especially if they get caught in the too-long or matted hair between the pads.
Therefore, one of the sensible winter precautions around the sensitive dog paws:
- Trim the fur around the paw and between the pads.
- Keep the pads supple with a special paw ointment.
- Put on special dog shoes or weatherproof socks for particularly sensitive paws.
Imagine walking barefoot everywhere in winter. Sure, the horny paws of our four-legged friends are more resilient than feet, but they are also strained in winter. We have a few tips on how you can support your dog in winter!
After the winter walk: paw check with care factor
Back after a walk, the winter care program begins. Clean your dog‘s paws with warm water and then dry them well. You should check the pads for cracks or injuries and check the condition of the claws. Finally, the little paws are greased with a special paw balm. This keeps the bales supple, optimally protected, and healthy for a long time. So your dog can run away again! The nibbling and licking of the paws after a walk in the snow can also result from the tingling, increasing blood circulation.