Paw pads are the raised surface areas on the bottom of your pet’s paws and consist of a layer of pigmented skin, usually pink or black tissue and fatty tissue. They’re also a primary part of your dog’s foot structure, and work in combination with your dog’s nails. Paw pads provide your pup with balance, traction, stability, shock absorption and protection on cold surface areas.
Trim around your pet’s paw pads
Keeping the area clipped between and around your pets paw pads helps to keep them clean, healthy and free of debris that may get trapped and irritate your pup. It also gives your pet traction on slippery surfaces, such as wooden floors or tiles. It is recommended that the trimming of your pet’s paws and nails, especially in such a sensitive area should be done by a professional groomer. However, if you choose to take care of your little one’s paws at home please never use scissors— always use clippers.
Dogs aren’t naturally born with tough pads that allow them to travel on any terrain without injury. Like humans their pads need to be slowly built up and become strong with callus. This does not prevent all injury, however as precaution must be taken in extreme conditions. Build your pups pads up by taking them on walks and slowly introducing them to different elements such as hiking or gravel trails.
Get in the habit of checking your pet’s pads daily to monitor any cracks or cuts. Also, check between the toes to remove any debris like dirt or stones. If your pet has cracks or tears, it is best to have them checked by your veterinarian to avoid painful wounds or infections.
Protect them from temperature and weather
In the summer pavement can reach temperatures well over 110 degrees Fahrenheit and your pet even with callused pads cannot tolerate such extreme temperatures. To check the temperature of the pavement, place your hand on the surface and hold for 7 seconds. If it is too hot to hold your hand there then it is certainly too hot for your pet to be walking on it. Try taking your pup for early morning walks or let them walk on grassy areas.
In the winter months, avoid letting your pet walk on any surfaces that have been treated with salt or deicer. The chemicals can be extremely dangerous to your animal if they ingest any of it when licking their paws (which they inevitably do). Also, make sure to clean your pets pads of any snow or ice that may become trapped, but please do not pull it out- use a warm towel or water to defrost.