With the arrival of spring we all want to shed winter coats and look our best for the warmer months ahead, which is why Rocco got to
enjoy endure a paw make-over. His nails are trimmed regularly, but once in a while we do a full overhaul.
Care and maintenance of your dog’s paws should be part of their regular health and grooming routine. Paw pads and nails play an important role in your dogs mobility and when properly taken care of are not only esthetically pleasing, but also provide the optimal support for their whole body.
To begin you will need:
I begin with trimming the hair in between Rocco’s paw pads. This is especially important in the winter when snow and ice can get stuck to the hair and bruise or even seriously injure their paws. However, trimming interdigital hair is just as important during the rest of the year when dirt, debris or small rocks can get lodged in the hair and cause damage to their feet. Mud, foxtail, burrs, gum, torns can all get caught in the fur and cause scrapes and discomfort. Some dogs can develop mats, which can be extremely painful, if the area isn’t kept well maintained. Removing the hair will also give the dog better traction, preventing them from slipping and sliding on hardwood or tiles, which is extremely important for older dogs who may already suffer from joint problems.
To clip the hair, I use rounded ball-tipped scissors. The ball-tip ensures that I don’t accidentally hurt the dog when working in such a small area and the rounded blade allows me to maneuver in between the pads.
Next, I trim the nails. This is something I do fairly often, usually I try to trim the nails as soon as I can hear them clicking on the floor. Keeping the nails short is extremely important for the overall well-being of the dog. Overgrown nails can break below the quick causing great pain. Long nails can injure the dog, another dog or a person. Because the dog walks on their toes (unlike a human who walks on the soles of their feet), long-term overgrowth can inhibit proper movement, can lead to pain and soreness in their joints and eventually can contribute to the development of arthritis.
I use for this a regular nail clipper.
After clipping the nail, I buff out the sharp edges. It’s not essential, but I notice that after every nail trim, I get a lot of scratches from the sharp edges. The sharp edges also snag on blankets and dog beds, and I can only guess that they feel unpleasant when the dog is scratching himself.
You can buy one of these at most pet stores.
I finish things off by massaging a diluted coat conditioner into his paw pads. Pads can often become dry and even cracked. Once a crack forms it can be very painful and difficult to heal, depending on the depth of the crack. To prevent this you want to use a moisturizer. However, it is important not to soften the pads too much as they need to stay tough enough to handle a variety of terrain.
A paw massage is a nice way to end a relatively unpleasant procedure.
And finally here are the before and after pictures: