Dog Paw Care: Caring for Pets Feet First
by Kim Slagle
I believe one of the easiest things we can do as pet parents is to give their feet regular attention. Their entire being starts with the four legs that carry them around. With regular paw care, we can keep them comfortable for years.
Let’s start with the nails. Nails should be up and out of the way when your pets stand as well as when they walk. Remember, dogs walk on their toes and their pads absorb shock to protect joints, muscles and bones. This gives them a nice balanced foot with no straining on the ankles, knees, hips and spin. If a dog’s nails are digging into their paws, dogs will compensate by putting their weight onto the backs of their pads, straining muscles and joints. Many dogs can suffer from arthritis, back pain, hip pain, and joint pain because of the straining.Dogs walk on their toes and their pads absorb shock to protect joints, muscles and bones. Click To Tweet
It’s important to make a commitment to regular paw care. Dogs that go without nail trims can also get their long nails caught on anything and rip the nail. Ripping the protective nail will expose the quick, which will then be more prone to infections. Untrimmed nails can grow into the pads and cause lots of pain and even an infected pad. On a healthy adult dog, I would recommend having those nails trimmed every four to six weeks. On senior dogs, I would suggest every two to three weeks.
If your dog’s nails are now long, it will take some work to get them short. The quicks themselves will be long. So have the nails cut every 10 days until they are short. This could take from six weeks up to a few months.
Cats can use some paw care, too. They need their nails trimmed regularly, especially indoor cats. Cats have scent glands in their feet and scratch furniture and walls to mark their territory. Cat nails will also grow and curl into their pads, which can lead to infections.
Do you notice all that extra hair in the bottoms of your pet’s pads? That should be removed when you get their nails trimmed. This hair can become matted and uncomfortable. It can also cause your pet to slip on tile or hardwood floors and could even cause an injury. Dogs sweat though their pads. So keeping this hair removed will help keep them cooler.
Many groomers, vets and even some pet store offer nail trims. It usually costs less than $10 and is a walk-in service. You could be in and out in less than 10 minutes. And your pet(s) will be comfortable and happy. “We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” – Immanuel Kant
Kim Slagle has worked with animals for over 20 years. She is an experienced groomer currently working at Canine Shear Heaven. Her writing goal is to educate other pet parents about the value of regular and proper grooming for all breeds of dogs and cats.