Caring for Your Dog's Feet

March 23, 2006

Routine foot care for your dog is very important, because they spend so much time on their feet without any protection of shoes. Here are a few tips for your dogs foot care.


Examine feet on a regular basis to make sure it has not picked up any foxtails or stickers. If so, remove them with tweezers. Clean small cuts and apply antibiotic cream. (Seek a vet for more severe wounds.)

Small cuts or mild skin disease may cause infections in the sweat glands in your dog's feet, resulting in swelling or abscesses between toes. (This is especially common in Bull Terriers, Dobermans, and Pekingese.) Soaking the affected foot in warm salt water often will relieve pain. (More severe or persistent infections need vet care.)

If your dog steps in something gooey, soften it by rubbing the foot with margarine, peanut butter, or shortening; then work it off. Apply ice to chewing gum, it will become brittle and easier to remove. You can also soak the foot in a mixture of warm salt water and olive or mineral oil.

Road salt and sidewalk ice melt products can be an irritant to the footpads; washing and drying your dog's feet after being outside helps reduce this painful condition and prevents him from licking it off when he licks his feet. Booties are another option. Ice balls can form between your dog's toes too, this can be prevented by spraying his feet with silicon spray before he goes out.

Clipping toenails properly means less wear and tear on your carpet and floors and less chance of a snagged, broken, or ingrown toenail. The sooner you begin to trim toenails and get them used to it, the better! Use trimmers that are made for dogs. To make it easier, wait until your dog is sleepy or relaxed. Clip just where the nail curves, avoiding the sensitive, pink area (called the quick). This is easy to see in a nail that is clear. if your dog's toenails are not clear only trim a little at a time. If you clip too much and hit the quick, it will bleed. You should trim the nails about every two weeks, or as necessary. They need trimming if they hit the floor or if you hear a clicking sound when he/she walks.

If you hit the quick when trimming nails, you can stop the bleeding many ways. One way is to use a styptic powder (available at your vet or in pet stores). You can also use corn starch, just put a little on the toenail and it should clot it. Another method is by rubbing your dog's nail across a bar of soap to stop the bleeding. Or use a dampened tea bag.

Remember, if something is deep or highly infected or won't stop bleeding, contact your vet.

I hope that these tips help you care for your dog's feet!

By Katie from PA

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