Your dog goes footloose and fancy-free, literally. Without shoes, all four fuzzy feet hit the hot pavement, the rocky trails, the gravel driveway, all day, everyday. Sure, his tough pads protect, but painful cracks, burns, and little cuts tear the skin from time to time. To keep those precious paws in top shape, check them regularly and follow these quick tips.

Trim all twenty. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed regularly. This way he won’t slip, catch a nail, or have trouble walking on wood floors. But first, make sure to get trimming tips from your vet. One false move, one nick of the quick and your doggie nail salon days are over — your dog will split whenever he sees that trimmer in your hand. For a filing approach and less chance of mis-snips, try a Dremel Sander Tool.

Keep Toe Fur Neat. When you’re that furry, even your toe fuzz gets matted and lumpy. Make sure to trim around your dog’s toes and pads with a pair of rounded-tip scissors. And while you’re there, check in-between for trapped dirt and ticks.

Pause for the Paws. Check your pup’s paws from time to time, especially after a hike. Look them over for any cuts, foxtails, blisters, or tiny objects stuck in the pads. Try a tweezer for easy-to-nab objects. For the tough ones or even tiny splinters of glass, soak the paws in water warm to help the debris rise to the surface. Then, a good rinse in antibacterial soap should do the trick for minor cuts and scraps.

Boot Up. Give his paws a break on tough terrain with comfortable booties that protect each step. Great to keep healing paws clean as well, four little boots from Ruffwear are just the thing.

Visit the Vet. It’s a good idea to see your vet if your dog has a serious paw injury or a minor one that stays swollen or doesn’t heal. Also, if you don’t see an injury but your dog starts licking his paws excessively and/or limping, ask your vet to check it out.


The Scoop:

Dremel Cordless Pet Nail Grooming Tool

Dog Boots from Ruffwear