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The dog's pads: what are their roles? How to take care of them and treat them?

The dog's footpads are very useful. But they are very sensitive areas, and widely exposed to injuries of all kinds. It is thus necessary to inspect them regularly and to look after them without delay as soon as one notices the least small boo-boo. We can also use some specific products to take care of them. Let's take stock of the situation.

Roles of the dog's pads

The dog's pads are elastic fibro-fatty tubers that fulfill two roles: insulating and cushioning. Thanks to them, the tips of the animal's paws are protected. In other words, if the master can protect his feet with a good pair of tennis shoes before going for a walk, the dog has his foot pads. That's how important they are for the animal! Dogs can walk and run on any kind of ground, hard or soft, stony, sandy, asphalt, wet, dry, cold or hot, which would be impossible without these very special external structures.

The more active the dog is, the thicker they become. Logically, they are thin and not very tan in puppies, but they will become tougher over time if they don't spend their time on the couch.

How to take care of the dog's pads?

Since puppies' pads are still very soft, it is important to get the young animal used to going out for longer and longer periods of time so that its fibro-fatty tubers harden. To go progressively is still the best way to take care of them since it limits the risks of injuries. But it is also necessary, throughout the life of the animal, to inspect its pads with the greatest regularity. This allows to verify that they are in good condition.

In addition to this inspection, the owner can use different solutions to take care of his dog's footpads as a preventive measure:

  • Clean the footpads when returning from a winter hike in order to eliminate all residues of de-icing salt, which can seriously damage this area of the dog's body. The ideal is to use black soap which contains olive oil and potassium. Then rinse with clear water and dry the fibrous-greasy tubers and the interstices well.
  • Moisturize the pads in all seasons. In winter it limits the risks of frostbite. Even in summer, you must not neglect their hydration because the strong heats support their drying.
  • Massage them with a tanning lotion that strengthens the pads. This type of massage should be done regularly.
  • Coat the fibrous-greasy tubers with a special balm to protect them against
    • Salting of sidewalks and roads,
    • cold,
    • Heat,
    • Irritation.
  • Cut the hair that grows between the pads so that it does not interfere with the dog's running or walking.
  • Buy boots specially designed for canines. This type of accessory helps protect the pads when they are particularly fragile.
For all the necessary care products for fibrofatty tubers, it is useful to ask your veterinarian for advice.

How to care for your dog's pads?

The risks of injuries and boo-boos at this level are numerous in dogs as soon as they go out frequently. They are exposed to the risks :
  • Frostbite due to frozen ground,
  • Burns when the dog walks on hot asphalt due to the scorching temperatures,
  • Splinters, especially when walking in softwood forests,
  • Cuts, if the animal walks on broken glass or on the sharp edge of a stone for example.
If a wound is found, it is important to act without delay. The procedure for treating a pad is as follows.
  • Inspect the wound to assess its severity. If it is deep, it is best to take the dog to the veterinarian. If the wound is superficial, it can be treated at home.
  • Clean the wound with clean water,
  • Check that there are no foreign objects left in the wound. It could be a piece of glass, a splinter, a stone, a piece of plant debris... It should then be removed with great delicacy using tweezers or, much better, with 3% peroxide. It is a pressurized hydrogen peroxide which, by foaming, lifts the foreign bodies, which facilitates their removal. Peroxide has the added benefit of stopping bleeding.
  • Ask your veterinarian for a surgical glue that is ideal for shallow wounds. This product promotes healing of the pads.
Alcohol is forbidden because in contact with a wound it causes suffering to the animal as well as an increase in bleeding. On the other hand, a local antiseptic such as Mercryl or an iodine solution can be used to disinfect an injured pad. Loosely bandaging the dog's foot is useful to prevent the animal from licking itself, but the bandage must be removed after a few hours, unless the veterinarian orders otherwise.

You should always have a moisturizing cream on hand, but also a healing cream. By having the appropriate products on hand, the owner can effectively care for his pet and allow him to quickly resume his favorite walks. At the same time, when you have a garden, you can prevent injuries to the fibrous tubers by regularly cleaning your pet's natural area. It is enough to remove everything that is likely to hurt your dog (thorns, pieces of glass, sharp objects or stones).