Toe beans. Is there anything more innocent and special in this world? But don’t let all that innocence fool you because your pet’s paws are incredibly sturdy and powerful. They help the Siberian Husky transverse miles and miles of deep snow, and they absorb the shock of your cat effortlessly scaling down a tree.
It’s a great thing they're durable too as we often forget about them. Unless we’re playing with them — much to our cat’s annoyance that is. But just because they are incredibly powerful doesn’t mean paw problems don’t exist or that they are harmless.
Cracked paws, a broken nail, and pad burns are all incredibly painful. Even worse, if we’re not taking a few measures to care for them, the infrequent paw issue because less and less infrequent.
So today we are talking all about protecting those little toe beans. We’ll cover paw soothers, dog pad moisturizer, and more. But first, let’s talk about tips for keeping your pet’s paws safe in the winter, summer, and all year round.
Table of Contents:
Protecting Your Pet’s Paws In the Winter
1. Dog Shoes or Foot Wax
While it’s true your dog and cat’s paws are better suited in the cold than ours, they are still susceptible to frostbite, pad burns, etc.
We’ve all seen hilarious videos of dogs struggling to comprehend how to walk with booties on, but in the winter they are a big help. We recommend using booties that have some grip on the bottom to help with traction, especially since the winter can bring ice.
If your dog just isn’t a fan of booties, there is paw wax. It’s important to learn how to properly apply the wax to their paws, so you don't leave any spots exposed to the cold. As well, you’ll need to monitor your pet’s paws as it can rub off over time.
2. Trimming Paw Hair
To trim your dog’s paw hairs or to not trim your dog’s paw hairs, that is the question? Some dogs like Shepherds and Huskies will get really long tufts of fur on the bottom of their paws — like 2-3 inches long. This can help protect their paws in the winter, acting as a shield between the cold and their toes. Or it can backfire, and snow & ice will stick to the hairs causing your dog extreme discomfort.
Your best bet is to check their paws when they come inside, especially if it’s snowy outside. If you see snow sticking, cut off a little of the hair and see if that helps the problem. If not, cut off a little more and continue until you’ve found the right length.
3. Non-toxic Ice Melter For Pet Paws
Sometimes there is no way around it! When you have an icy porch or steps, not using an ice melting solution can be downright dangerous. But since our pets like licking their paws, it’s so important that we use a non-toxic ice melter. There are tons of great options out there and many work better than salt.
And remember, it’s always a great idea to wipe off their paws when they come in — non-toxic ice melter or not.
Protecting Your Pet’s Paws In The Summer
1. Hot Asphalt and Other Hot Surfaces
One thing your pet’s paws aren’t sturdy against is extreme heat. If concrete, asphalt, or whatever is too hot for you to walk on barefoot, then it's too hot for your pet paws. But no need to take your shoes and socks off to test whenever you’re outside with them. Simply place the back of your hand on the ground. If you can’t hold it there for more than 10-20 seconds, it’s too hot for your pet’s paws.
This is a much better method and won't bring attention from strangers wondering why there’s a person walking around with only one shoe.
2. Check for Ticks and Objects That Can Get Stuck
If you’re hiking or walking your dog through tall grass, you always want to check their toe pads afterward. Ticks can hide up in-between the toes, as well, bush and pebbles can become lodged causing a lot of pain. Here’s a great guide for safely and easily removing ticks.
3. Avoid Walks During the Hottest Hours of the Day
This is a great tip for keeping your pets safe in the summer. Even if you’re avoiding asphalt, walking during the hottest times of the day can still burn their pads or cause dehydration. If you can manage it, it’s best to avoid walking between-and-around noon and 3 pm.
Protecting Your Pet’s Paw’s All Year Around
1. Floor Cleaners
You always want to check your floor cleaner and make sure it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals that could easily hurt your pets. Floor cleaners can burn your pet’s paws, cause pain if they are cracked, and make it easier for your pet to slip. The worst, however, is when they go to lick their paws and ingest the harmful chemicals.
Here’s a list of floor cleaners you should be careful with:
- Perchloroethylene (carpet and rug cleaners)
- Phthalates (air fresheners and other oder maskers)
2. Regularly Checking Their Paws
It’s a habit that many of us could be better about. Paw problems can linger for a while, and your pet may not show visible symptoms that they’re experiencing discomfort or pain. When you’re checking their paws regularly, you’ll be able to catch any problems when they are starting. And this is great for catching an issue before it becomes serious such as an infection.
Along with regularly checking their paws is getting them used to having their paws touched at a young age. Hey, who doesn’t love playing with those toes beans? And it gets them used to have their paws touched can really help with our next tip.
3. Clipping Nails
Not regularly clipping your pet’s nails can lead to two big problems. First, long nails are susceptible to breaking, which can hurt like holy hell and cause painful regrowth issues. The base of your pet’s nail — the quick — is filled with sensitive nerves and blood vessels.
The second big issue is that their nails, especially the dew claw, can curl back and grow into your pet’s paws causing them excruciating pain.
Other Culprits for Dry, Cracked, and Damaged Paws
Despite taking all the steps to avoid dry and cracked paws, sometimes our pets still end up with them. In fact, there are several other causes of damaged paws that you can’t easily or always control.
Dogs and cats experience the same allergies that we do and things like pollen are known for cause itchiness in areas with sensitive skin. The insides of the pads are perfect areas to get itchy and this can lead to your dog rubbing or biting their feet. Allergy medication can help, though you need to be careful with some. As well, a paw soother healing balm like heal.protect.wag Balm is a great and safe alternative.
Genetically Predisposed to Sensitive Paws that Dry and Crack
Sometimes it’s just genetics and you wind up with a pet whose paws have a habit of drying out. Or maybe they are a breed more sensitive to colder and hotter temperatures as seen with some smaller dogs like toy breeds.
If you’ve ever had a Golden Retriever, Labrador, Dogues de Bordeaux, Bedlington Terrier or Irish Terrier you may have seen the pads of their paws look like they have fuzzy hair on them. This is a condition called hyperkeratosis, which is an excess production of keratin. It can happen to any dog and is usually seen within the first year. In most cases there is no cure for this, but it can be managed with creams and topicals.
The pads of your pet paws will normally wear down over the years, especially if they frequently walk on rough surfaces. But just because they have taken more journeys around the sun, doesn’t mean their feet have to look that way. A moisturizer balm is often all that’s needed to rejuvenate their toe beans.
There are a variety of reasons a dog or cat might chew their paws. Allergies, injuries, dry skin, and parasites like mites, fleas, and ticks are all common factors. A pet that is anxious or even depressed may end up chewing their paws. This is commonly seen in dogs with separation anxiety. CBD products are a great safe over-the-counter way to help your pet with their anxiety.
Zinc Deficiencies can cause your dog or cats pad to thicken and develop redness in between their toes. Other signs include lethargy, hair loss, slow growth, and lesions around the orifices. This you seen these symptoms consult your veterinarian for help.
Cat & Dog Pad Moisturizer and Protective Paw Balm
When paw issues happen, a great thing we can do to help our fluff nuggets is to use a paw soother / cat & dog pad moisturizer. There are lots of great options out there that can help moisturize and repair your pet's paws — all made with a wide variety of ingredients. But with all those options comes confusion over which is the best for your pet, so what is the best dog paw balm?
Hemp Healing Balm
Our choice for the best paw balm for both cats and dogs are hemp healing balms. Hemp CBD helps reduce inflammation, irritation, and pain. As well, it can aid in cell regulation, recovery, and homeostasis.
Using CBD in a topical form is great because you take all the power of hemp CBD and deliver it directly to the source. In this case it’s their paws.
Heal.protect.wag Balm takes the anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits of hemp CBD and combines it with avocado seed oil, beeswax, and other all-natural ingredients that soothe, moisturize and repair dry paws.
100% natural, organic, and safe to ingest for those big-time lickers. This paw balm absorbs fast too. This is great when you have a feisty feline or 100+ lb canine that doesn’t like being restrained for any period of time.
When applied to your pet’s paws, Heal.protect.wag. Balm provides a protective layer that coats their paws locking in moisture and blocking away irritants. This helps rejuvenate dehydrated pads and helps prevent burns and blisters due to the elements. As well, it can help cell recovery for older pets whose pads have worn down over the years, as well as dog with hyperkeratosis.
How to Apply Paw Protection Balm
Before applying hemp healing paws or any paw balm, make sure to wipe clean and dry your pet’s paws. Next, take heal.protect.wag balm and apply a thin layer over their pads, massaging gently for faster absorption. That’s it, that’s all you have to do!
Want to know what the best thing you can do for your pet’s toes is? Play with them and get them used to being touched. Paw problems can become a serious issue and even lead to other problems when they start to focus weight away from the paw.
Fortunately, when you’re playing with them every day you’ll find any problem pretty fast. And when you do see dry pads starting or cracking, consider using a recovery balm like heal.protect.wag. Balm.
A nice thing about heal.protect.wag. Balm is you can use it for general skin conditions as well as support to the muscles. A multipurpose topical like this is one of our favorite things to keep in our first aid kits.