Our beloved dogs rarely complain and more often than not, they keep on playing despite feeling any sort of discomfort. Long walks or play sessions in a rough environment may give your dog sore paws.
A limping dog is usually what makes us worry and inspect each leg and paw. It is not rare that after taking a close look we see small cuts and tears, or even a cracked pad.
Although it usually is not life-threatening, the pain and discomfort may handicap your dog and prevent him from behaving as he usually does. Furthermore, you must make sure the situation doesn't worsen further over the next hours and days (ie. infection.)
Use the tips below to both soothe sore dog paws and avoid an unlucky inflammation.
1. Avoid Unnecessary Movements
Because dogs aren’t aware of how much they move, you need to be proactive at preventing your dog from walking unnecessarily. If your four-legged companion is crate trained, it is the best time to confine him there and make sure plenty of water is available.
Make your dog’s bed extra comfortable and do your best to keep him on it. Extra plush toys, yummy treats, and obviously, your presence next to it!
Remember that each time you dog goes anywhere, he will push against the ground with his sore paw which will delay the entire natural healing process.
Excess hair in between the pads can also be a little problematic as it will retain allergens and bacterias, you can absolutely give it a gentle trim if need be.
2. Licking and Chewing Is Forbidden!
Instinctively, dogs lick their own wounds to help with the healing process. And it does often work. However, we know that at times, wound licking may actually slow down the scarring process, and sometimes even result in a new infection and inflammation of the paw.
There are some sprays and creams that taste so bitter that your dog will avoid licking and chewing the area, but many dogs get used to the taste after few hours.
Bandaging the paw yourself or at the vet will help making sure your dog doesn’t lick that precise spot and allows for a better cicatrization. It also keeps the skin and paw away from the ground. Just like with us humans, the pressure of a tight bandage may also relieve pain itself.
However, some dogs will then start chewing the bandage to get rid of it. Having your dog wear a collar is the only sure option to avoid this counterproductive behavior.
3. Foot Soaks (Epsom Salt and Water)
Perhaps the best natural remedy to soothe and efficiently clean your dog’s paws is to give them a footbath. There are plenty of recipes on the web but one of the simplest, safest and most popular one is to simply dissolve 1 cup of Epsom salts per gallon of warm water
Epsom salts raise your dog’s natural pH level to get rid of irritants and allergens from which originate itching, inflammation and soreness. Bathing your dog for around 10 minutes allows you to boost your dog’s skin and paw cell regeneration process resulting in a healthier coat and skin.
If you can’t get hold of Epsom Salt, you can have the same results by using Povidone iodine instead. It is also safe and non-toxic while victoriously battling bacteria, funguses and yeast. You can find Povidone iodine at any decent pharmacy.
4. Use an Antiseptic and Soothing Paw Cream
If you are in need of a more lasting solution, you will want to also use a topical cream or ointment. Some creams are antiseptic, others are soothing, and a few do both.
Before applying any cream on your dog’s paw, you want to cleanse the area fully using baby wipes or salted water. Wait until it is totally dry to start apply the cream. At first, just use a small bit to make sure your dog does not react badly to it. If after an hour your dog’s paw looks healthy, you can put on more cream and smear it over the entire area.
Unlike salt and water foot soaks, you do not want to use such creams over endless weeks. These are harsher on superficial skin layers and could fragilize the paw if use too often for too long.
5. Musher's Secret Paw Protection (For The Future!)
Prevention is always better than cure. This last tip is actually a product that is loved by all mushers — the Musher’s Secret paw Protection. And there are plenty of reasons why it gets praised so much.
This paw protection is an all-natural and food-grade wax that protects your dog’s paws from rough grounds and the elements. There is plenty of Vitamin E to deeply moisturize the pads and heal micro tears and cuts to keep paws healthy.
Applied weekly, the Musher’s Secret Paw Protection cream prevents drying, burning, abrasion and cracking with its non-staining and non-allergenic formula. This is a must-have for any active dog.
A visit at the vet is always the best solution when you suspect a sore paw but in the meantime, you must take actions to soothe the pain and prevent an infection.
Just don’t overdo the cleaning of the paw to give it some time to heal properly. These tips are easy to put in place and really make a difference to your dog’s well-being!