The paws of cats and dogs are exposed to many different surfaces which means they need extra care to keep them in good shape. While pads offer protection, they are also exposed to enough surfaces and hazards that can take their toll. Taking precautions as well as maintaining your pets paws can help keep them in the best possible condition.
Use Paw Cream
Cats and dogs paws can get dry, cracked and be painful so use a pet paw cream to avoid any problems. Follow the application directions on the packaging. If you are unsure which brand to choose, your groomer or vet can help you pick the best one.
Avoid Hazardous Surfaces
Certain surfaces can be difficult, dangerous or painful for cats and dogs to walk on with their delicate paws. While on walks, be on the look out for broken glass or stray pieces of metal that can get stuck in the paws. If possible, avoid taking your pet on very rocky surfaces. Extremely hot weather can cause the sidewalks to heat up, so it is best to only let your pet out during the cooler times of the day. If possible, use water to first cool down the surface, such as the sidewalk in front of your house, and only stick to that area or grassy areas. During winter, avoid surfaces that are covered with rock salt, which can not only damage the paws but can get stuck to the paw fur and later be ingested by your pet. It’s also best to wash off your pets paws when he comes in from outside. Dogs can also wear doggie shoes while outside for extra protection.
Maintain the Nails
Trimming your cat or dogs nails may seem intimidating for fear of hurting your pet. To help you do them properly, ask your groomer or vet to show you the right way to do it so you won’t cause damage. Ask to see the proper technique a few times if necessary until you feel comfortable doing it yourself.
Provide a Self-Filing Methodfor Nails
Providing your cat or dog with a self-filing method can allow the pet to keep their nails filed down and help lengthen the time in between when you have to trim their nails for them. Take your dog for daily walks so the sidewalk can help keep their nails filed down. For your cat, buy a quality scratching post, which can also serve as a play toy depending on which one you purchase.
Do a Daily Check
Check your pets paws at the end of the day to make sure that there are no abnormalities or problems. You may also want to check the paws after they come in from the outdoors to make sure there is nothing stuck on or in them and that there are no cuts or sore spots.
To help keep your cat and dogs paws in good condition, make up a small container of items that can be useful. In addition to a nail trimmer, include bandages, antibacterial wash and pet antibiotic ointment in case of an injury. A magnifying glass and tweezers can also be helpful for finding and removing small irritants, such as splinters. If there are any wounds or abnormalities that you are unsure of how to handle or that aren’t so small, such as a deep cut, contact your vet immediately. With daily maintenance, your cat or dogs paws can stay in great shape and continue to serve them well.