Paw care for dogs – The best tips

Paw care for dogs – The best tips

In winter, the paws of our dogs are exposed to particular risks: ice, snow, de-icing salt and grit can lead to fine cracks and fissures. We will show you how you can reliably protect your dog’s paws.

Dogs love snow

Many dogs adore snow. For puppies, the snowy landscape is a new world to explore, and adult dogs already know how much fun they can have in it. Even older dogs often cannot resist the joy of running through the snow again. We can only guess what exactly the fascination for dogs is. Perhaps the snow covers up the numerous smells and makes the search all the more interesting. One typical winter scene is a dog sticking its head in the snow. And then it suddenly dashes off again like a whirlwind. However, the cold, ice and snow can leave their mark and the dog’s paws are particularly impacted.

What are the dangers for a dog‘s paws?

Dogs have the most frequent direct contact with their environment through their paws. This primarily affects their pads, but also their claws and the hair between the pads. It is important to regularly pay attention to all of these, because if they are not cared for, problems may arise at some point:

  • If the claws are too long, the resulting pressure pain can lead to misalignment of both the claws and the legs.
  • If the hairs between the pads become too long, they can become matted and increase the risk of skidding on slippery ground. Outdoors in the snow, they also cause clumps of snow to form more quickly between the toes.
  • If the pads become dry and brittle, small, painful cracks can occur, especially in combination with ice, de-icing salt and grit. The same applies if the dog walks on hot asphalt in summer or steps on a piece of broken glass or a thorn.

How can you recognise problems with your dog’s paws?
There are several tell-tale signs that your dog has a problem with its paws. If for example you hear a clicking sound when the dog walks over a smooth floor, it might be time to cut its claws. This also reduces the risk of slipping. This can also be caused by the hair between the pads growing too long. Simply cut them flush, and you will have fewer problems with clumps of snow in winter. You can easily tell that these are forming when the dog lifts up or chews on a paw. Our four-legged friends display similar behaviour when they come into contact with de-icing salt. Even the tiniest cracks can cause the salt to penetrate the pads which then start to burn.

8 tips for paw care for dogs

  • Paw care is not only about the pads, but also about the claws. They should be shortened as soon as the dog starts to stand or walk on them.
  • The hair growth on the paws of our dogs can vary considerably. If the hair is too long, it should be cut. In winter, this reduces the risk of clumps of snow forming between the toes.  
  • A dog’s pads are about 50 times thicker than the rest of its skin. Despite this, they can still be damaged by cold or heat, as well as by mechanical impact such as stones, thorns or liquid substances. The paws should therefore be examined regularly.
  • Any obvious cut in the pads should always be examined by a vet, as only they can assess whether there is any damage to deeper tissue.
  • You can treat brittle pads yourself. Vaseline and milking fat are not suitable for this because they are made using mineral oil. Paw balm for dogs is much more suitable.
  • In snowy and icy conditions, it is advisable to put balm on your dog’s paws before going for a walk. Make sure that you only use special paw balm for dogs.
  • The type of paw care that should be provided after a walk depends on the particular circumstances. If the walk has been through the town and the dog is likely to have come into contact with de-icing salt, the paws should be washed with lukewarm water. It is then advisable to dry the paws thoroughly to prevent a moist environment forming in which pathogens can easily spread.
  • As soon as the paws are dry, you can always apply another thin layer of paw cream. This has the same effect as moisturising your hands after washing the dishes. The skin is thus provided with moisture and stays soft.

Advantages of paw balm
The paws of our dogs are vulnerable to different degrees. If you know that your dog often has problems with its paws, you should be all the more attentive in caring for them. This means that in winter it is best to apply paw balm to your dog’s paws daily or even before every walk. This provides the pads with excellent protection against moisture and cold. For dog sled drivers, this is standard procedure before every journey.

Tip: When caring for your dog, don’t just think about its coat, but also regularly examine its paws. They are at work in all weathers and with vulnerable dogs they require special care.