Paw Wax has been around for a long time. Used by mushers (you know, those crazy people who race sled dogs in the Iditerod) to protect their dog's paws against the snow and ice. Paw wax is a combination of natural waxes that repel moisture and cold (also heat) so that the dog's paws don't get damaged. I think it is a great alternative to booties which can take some patience in getting your dog used to them. Plus booties are way more expensive!!
|Right front paw of dog showing A) claw, B) digital pads, C) metacarpal pad, D) dew claw, E) carpal pad.|
Paws are a very important part of your dog's anatomy! They protect a dog's bones and joints from shocks so think of them as mini shock absorbers. However, the padding itself can become dried out, cracked and sore. Poor doggy! One way to insure that your dog's paws stay supple and in good shape is to take care of their feet and make sure they don't get damaged from exposure to the elements.
Number 1 rule: NEVER USE HUMAN MOISTURIZERS ON YOUR PET!!!
|Paw Wax for the active dog.|
Some other recommendations regarding winter care in particular is to avoid having your pooch walk on de-icing solvents like salt. That can very harsh to the paw. If for some reason you are forced to walk on salt be sure to wipe off your dog's feet immediately since salt is an irritant extraordinaire! Make sure you check between the toes too, little pieces can get stuck in there.
If your dog's feet do become cracked and irritated then waste no time in getting a balm that will help heal the damage and restore a healthy paw pad. Seriously, don't use human products on your pet's feet as it can do more harm than good. If you are the crafty type maybe you can do some research and make your own salve using natural products or you can mosey on down to Lola 4 Pets and I will happily sell you a good product (at a great price) to get your doggie's paws back to normal.
Now that you've been schooled on paw pad care, the next issue is nails which I believe are equally important! As a person who lives with an Italian Greyhound, nails have always been an integral part of the grooming routine.
One thing that a lot of people don't like to do is cut their dog's nails. There are several groomers here on the mountain who would be happy to help you out. However, I also posted some instructions on how to do it yourself. It's really not that hard to do if you have a decent nail clipper and some patience. It's a good idea to be prepared with some styptic powder in case you hit the blood vessel in the nail, not a huge deal but they bleed a lot.
When the nails get too long it can really be bad for your dog's paws and joints in that it impairs the natural motion of their gait. I think you could compare it to wearing high heels. You just can't walk right! The nails should be just above the floor so if you are hearing a lot of clicking when they walk on the hardwood floor, it is time for a pedicure!
Take care of your dog's paws and they will take your dog far on the journey of life!