Pet Wellness Guides > Tips for Healthy Pet Paws - Pet Insurance Review
Tips for Healthy Pet Paws
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. And that’s where the idea for these tips for healthy pet paws came from.
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.
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.
Keep Their Paws Dry
When pet paws experience prolonged moisture, they can become irritated and even infected. When paws get wet after walking around on wet grass or jumping into a lake or swimming pool, be sure to dry them off immediately with a towel.
Sometimes paws can become and remain moist from incessant licking. Your pet might be in pain and be excessively grooming as a way to deal with it. They may also lick because their paws already have a fungal infection, which is itching them like crazy. If your dog or cat is constantly licking their paws and areas are becoming raw, take them to your vet to get them checked out.
Treat Painful Cracks
Just as our hands and lips can become dry and cracked in the winter, your pet’s nose and paws can become dry and cracked as well. Vets recommend you apply a soothing balm to your pet’s paws in the winter months. You only need to rub some into their pads about once a week to keep them from cracking.
Overall, paw health is important for your pet’s comfort and well-being. Pet insurance can cover unplanned incidents, so get a quote today.
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The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.
The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.
We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.