Pad and Paw Health for your Dog

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During the winter, we frequently read about or see dog booties being advertised for dogs to help keep their paws and pads protected from the snow, sleet & chemicals used on the roads in the winter. But, it is equally important to protect your dogs paws and pads from summer dangers of bugs, burrs, foxtails, and hot pavement.



In our neighborhood, since we are so close to “open space”, we have lots of wild vegetation. One of the nastiest is the Buffalobur Nightshade. As you can see from the photo, these flowers have nasty burrs on them and when the plants die in early summer these burrs fall off and scatter all over the ground. They are torture on Jack & Maggie’s paws. We try and steer clear of areas with heavy growth of this, but sometimes they are unavoidable. On bad days, I pick 3-4 of these out of their pads everyday.


The other concern we have here in CA is hot pavement. I normally take the dogs to a park in the morning and we walk on a dirt trail. But their afternoon walk with our dog walker is in our neighborhood on the streets. There are some days when it’s just too hot. I posted a warning on Facebook last week reminding folks to test the heat level of the pavement before asking your dog to walk on it. Black pavement will be much hotter than concrete, but the best judge is your own hand – put the back of your hand against the pavement and see if you can hold it there for 5-10 seconds. If not, that it is too hot for your dog. And remember, if you stop to talk to a neighbor, move your dog off the pavement onto the grass.

Protect your dog's paws

Chlorine from the pool may dry out your pups paws, sand from the beach can irritate between the pads if not thoroughly rinsed off. Summer pests like bees, red ants and other critters may bite or sting. Since your dog is likely to be outside much more in the summer, extra attention should be paid to their paw and pad care. The best prevention is to be aware, to clean your dogs paws regularly and watch to see if start licking them excessively – that’s a sure sign of an irritant. If they appear dry and cracked, a paw cream to help soften and reduce inflammation is a good investment.


Additional Reading:
Top 10 Paw Care Tips For Dogs
4 Ways to Protect Your Dog’s Paws from Hot Concrete
Protect the Paws this summer!

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  1. We’ve gotten in contact with sand burrs which are real nasty – sharp and painful! In the summer only Katie wears boot when she has issues with her claws, but if we were in an area dangerous to our precious paws, we would all be wearing them. We need our tires in working order!
    Emma recently posted…Cold Water CooldownMy Profile

  2. we only have common burrs and thistles, but they are a pain in the neck too :o( I always press my hand on the street to look if it is too hot… once I was unsure and used my cheek… our neighbor got a laughing fit and said if I listen for a train I have to wait a while till the rails are installed… oh boy… but at the end I knew that the street was ok for Easy’s paws :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog WOW WEDNESDAYMy Profile

  3. We don’t have stickers or burrs where we walk, but it is in the neighborhood so we always have to check the street and sidewalk.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…The Story of Bonnie & Clyde Wild Omega-3 Fish OilMy Profile

  4. Thankfully, we don’t have burrs in our neck of the woods, but we sure do have hot pavement. I always test it with the palm of my hand before walking the pups on it (same goes for my clients’ dogs). I invested in a good paw pad ointment a while back (still have the bottle I bought 2 years ago!); it’s called Tuf-Foot and “toughens soft, cracked, sore and tender feet”.
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…National Pet Fire Safety Day ~ Keep Your Best Friends Safe!My Profile

  5. In city life, it’s definitely the path pavement we have to keep an eye out for. Even when it’s not sweltering, I try to keep the pups running on the grass alongside the path just to be safe.

    Side note: Did you guys see that slimdoggy beat the NYTimes to this reporting?

  6. What an important topic, especially with the heated pavements in this seasonal hot weather, which can prove quite an issue.
    Earl Lover recently posted…Eight Photos Of HappinessMy Profile

  7. SOOOOO important, and I have a post all ready to share on paw care as well! It just can’t be shared enough!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Family Fun At The Arena – Husky Loves To Run!My Profile

  8. We don’t have too worry too much about most of this around here, but we do occasionally walk on the roads so I try to be aware. Mostly we walk before it’s hot, but once in a while we’ll do a short afternoon walk that can be on hot pavement.
    Checking the dogs’ paws is not something I’m in the habit of doing, I need to do it more.
    Jan K recently posted…Questioning Pet Vaccinations (Part 6 – Cats)My Profile

  9. We don’t have to worry about hot pavement around here. But we to have some nasty picky weeds here and there.
    Jana Rade recently posted…All From a Tooth Abscess? “Help, Roxy Fell”My Profile

  10. Plants not so much a concern here for us but hot pavements definitely! We try to keep on the grass and I am thinking that I should really buy dog boots for Donna, on top off paw wax! 🙂
    weliveinaflat recently posted…Caring for Cracked or Burnt Dog’s Paws due to Hot WeatherMy Profile

  11. If it’s too hot for me to walk barefoot, I know it’s too hot for Sam and always wait till it cools down for our evening walks, even if it means walking with a flashlight in the dark. His comfort is as important as mine especially since he’s the one wearing the fur coat. These runners with their dogs out during the blazing heat of the day, I just want to trip them (not the dog mind you, but the dumb biped).
    Monika recently posted…Doglish 101 ~ July 16, 2015My Profile

  12. such a great post and great reminder to us all to remember the 4 legged’s feet. It just bugs me when I see people walking their dogs on hot pavement when it is really hot out. I walk around barefoot a lot and I know how hot it can get. You have a choice they don’t
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Nothing But Norman #105My Profile

  13. The other day it was so hot I brought a water bowl outside for the Boys. Jax had the right idea, he took his paw and stepped into the bowl before Harley could get a sip. Now, I try to bring two bowls out – one for drinking and one for cooling and rinsing the paws.

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