Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stops most dogs from wanting to play outside. While outdoor playtime can be good for your pooch's health, the mud and dirt that accumulates on your furry friend's paws may not be so good for the inside of your house. These tips and tricks will help you keep your canine friend's paws clean.
Dog boots are beneficial in a couple of ways. First, they protect your dog's feet from hazards such as hot pavement, snow, ice and sharp objects. Second, because the muck in your yard collects on the boots, instead of your dog's feet, you can take the boots off and wash them, instead of having to clean your dog's paws before your pet gets a chance to track the mess all over your house.
Pet wipes or baby wipes can be used to quickly remove mud, sand or salt from your dog's paws. Wipes are particularly useful for when you are away from home. Pack some wipes when you head out to the dog park and you can clean up your pet's paws before you get back in the car, instead of having to wait until you get home. However, heavy-duty messes will probably still require some soap and water to completely clean.
When snow accumulates on your dog's feet, it can freeze and turn into balls of ice between the pads of your dog's feet. These ice balls may be uncomfortable for your dog. If you leave the ice balls, your dog may attempt to remove them, risking pulling out hair or swallowing harmful substances, such as road salt or de-icer.
To remove the ice balls, use a cloth soaked in warm water to massage your dog's feet and melt the ice. If your dog has long hair, having a groomer trim the hair between the footpads can prevent ice balls from forming.
If your dog has heavy accumulations of mud or dirt or has harmful substances, such as road salt on his paws, the best option may be to bathe your dog. If your dog's paws are the only dirty thing, you can try just washing the paws with soap and warm water. If you have a small dog, you may be able to do this by holding your dog over the sink. For larger dogs, a tub with a detachable showerhead may work. If you want to avoid pet hair and other debris in your sink or bathtub, you can purchase a pup tub, take your dog to a groomer for a bath or use a canine foot bath . Dry your dog's paws completely before you let your dog outside again.
If your dog's paws are wet, but not particularly dirty, you may be able to take care of the problem by using a towel to dry them off. This will protect your floor from footprints and keep your dog from slipping on hardwood floors. Keep a towel near the door and in your car, so you always have it handy when you need it.
Dirt, salt and sand can build up between the toes and pads of your dog's feet, causing irritation. Whenever you clean your dog's feet, gently separate the toes and look for any debris, parasites or irritation. If there is any moisture in there, dry it off. Moisture softens the pads and makes them more prone to injury.
Cleaning your dog's paws is a good time to look for scrapes, cuts or dry and cracking pads. This is particularly important in the winter when the dry air in your home and outside can cause uncomfortable cracking and ice on the pavement or ground can cause cuts or scrapes. If you spot any issues, take your dog to the veterinarian for treatment.
Whenever you take your dog for a walk his paws pick up dirt, grime, chemicals, bacteria and other substances. Your dog can then spread germs and dirt around your house. Additionally, if your dog has a cut or scrapes on his foot, the dirt and bacteria can work their way in and cause an infection. To protect your floors and your dog's health, make cleaning your dog's paws part of your post-walk routine.
Just like humans have doormats for wiping off their shoes before they come in the house, you can get a dog paw cleaning mat to remove dirt and debris from your dog's paws before he comes in the house. Teach your dog to use the mat by placing some smelly treats under the mat and then rewarding your dog for scratching at the mat with his paws. Add a marker word, such as "wipe," so your dog learns to clean his paws on command.
When bacteria and fungus accumulate on your dog's feet it can cause irritation, infection or itching. You can avoid this by using an antibacterial and antifungal spray after you clean your dog's paws.
Keeping your dog's paws clean is an important part of protecting your dog's health and preventing messes in your home. These tips and tricks will help you avoid those muddy footprints and keep your dog's feet in good condition year-round.