When my dog Kila broke a nail and it caused her so much pain that she didn’t want to get out of bed to eat, I knew something was wrong. She was constantly licking the affected paw, but it didn’t appear anything was wrong - at first. Then her paw got red and swollen and I immediately took her to the vet. They wrapped her paw up in a little green cast, gave her a cone, and some doggie pain medication, and sent her home. This incident taught me how important a dog’s paw health truly is. 

Her paw healed within a few days, and she had to wear the cone of shame for a week until she stopped trying to lick the nail. Broken nails can take a while to heal because they sometimes fall off. I was relieved to find out it was just a broken nail because Kila was acting like she was dying. She was crying, licking her paws, and shaking in pain. She didn’t even want food, which was a red flag for my extremely food-motivated dog.

Healthy Paws Are Vital For Your Pet’s Health 

Pet’s paws are vital to their health because it is how they run, walk, play, and get around. For cats, they need their paws and nails to jump and climb. Paws are made up of bones, tendons, skin, tissues, ligaments, nails, and blood. Their paws are tough and designed to walk on the terrain without shoes, but it is still important to be conscious of their paw health. 

Cats paws

Here are tips for healthy pet paws: 

Cut Their Nails 

Your dog’s nails are not supposed to touch the floor when they are standing on a flat surface. If you can hear your dog’s nails on the floor when they are running through the house, their nails need to be trimmed. Some dogs will allow their owners to cut their nails, and others will not. You can buy specialty cutters for pet nails so you don’t cut too far which can hurt them. Otherwise, it is recommended to take them to a groomer or vet for frequent nail trims. 

You can take a cat for nail trims too, especially as they get older and lazier. When cats are young, they will usually maintain their nails by scratching. Keep scratching posts around your home, otherwise, your furniture will become one. 

Be Aware Of Ground Temperatures 

In the winter, your pets are at risk for frostbite from snow or freezing ground. In the summer, they are at risk for burning from hot pavement, gravel, or even dirt. When you are walking pets or letting them go outside, always be aware of the conditions. If you ever see your dog lifting their feet, it is probably because their paws are uncomfortable and you should try to find some grass for them to walk on. Obviously, this is not always possible and this is when dog boots can come in handy. It is suggested to introduce your pet to its boots indoors at home first and get them used to them. Pet boots are not necessary all the time, but on a long rocky hike, a walk on a hot day, or below freezing temperature are times you would consider pet boots. 

Check & clean their paws often 

If you check your pet’s paws often, you will notice when something is wrong. When they come home from a long walk, it is smart to wipe and check their paws. Accidents can inevitably happen, and pets can often step on things like burs, thorns, rocks, sticks, or weeds that can hurt their paws. Often they will stop walking and limp when their paws hurt, but by checking you can avoid worsening incidents. It is best to clean their paws to avoid allergens and dryness. It is normal for pets to clean their paws, but if they are licking an excessive amount, they could have allergies or even yeast. 

Overall, paw health is important for your pet’s comfort and well-being. Pet insurance can cover unplanned incidents, so get a quote today.