The Best Way to Protect Your Senior Dog’s Paws May 4, 2017 11:48
Does your senior dog still “shake a paw?” That is a great display of trust. They are trusting you to make sure their feet stay safe, protected, and healthy.
Keeping your dog’s paws healthy is very important because pads are not only used for protection, but for navigating different types of terrain. Pads act as shock absorbers protecting bones and joints and the “carpal” pads work like brakes helping your dog to navigate slippery or steep slopes.
Basic Foot Care
Think of the wear and tear on dog’s paws as they age. Senior dogs typically aren’t as active as they were when they were young so their paw pads become softer and thinner. That makes them more sensitive and prone to becoming dry, cracked, and rough. The feet of senior dogs need extra tender loving care.
The first step to protecting your dog’s feet is to keep their nails at a proper length and trim the fur around their pads. It makes it more comfortable for them to walk and they are less likely to slip on hard surfaces (anti-slip stair tape can also help).
Keeping the fur on their feet trimmed will also help a lot on your winter walks. If my Newf Sadie doesn’t have trimmed paws, ice balls stick to the extra fur. She stops to try to lick or bite them off, with makes it worse as it inevitably collects more ice and snow due to the licking.
Protect and Nourish
The second thing you want to do is use a paw balm to protect and nourish your dog’s feet. The best paw balms will form a barrier over the foot pad to help protect them from chemicals (like de-icer and salts) and replenish moisture to keep them pliable and resistant to abrasion. Paw balms are important whether your dog wears boots outside or not.
In my opinion, the two best balms, or salves, to protect your dog’s paws are Pet-Tek: Paw Balm and SOOS Rescue Cream. Both are natural, moisturizing, form a protective barrier, and are harmless when licked. They have differences too though
Pet-Tek: Paw Balm
I love Pet-Tek: Paw Balm because has just 3 simple, organic ingredients: beeswax, virgin coconut oil, and lavender essential oil.
Beeswax attracts and seals in moisture while forming that protective barrier (without clogging pores). Coconut oil acts as a disinfectant. The lavender oil not only calms your old girl/boy’s nerves while you are working on their paws but it helps to clean and heal.
Note, this is on the greasy spectrum of paw balms so I would suggest using it at night when the body is at rest and cell regeneration occurs. Or wait 5 to 10 minutes before you go out for their walk.
Because of the ingredients, it works well on all parts of your dog’s body. Truth be known, it works on our bodies too! My whole family uses it. We use it on our dry skin, blemishes, or any other skin issues that arise.
SOOS Rescue Cream
What puts SOOS Rescue Cream in a category all its own is the fact that it’s non-greasy and it contains 93 different natural remedies to stop pain and prevent infection. While I love both of these balms equally, this one offers even more healing, and deeper moisturizing, benefits.
The SOOS cream is your answer if your dog doesn’t like their paws touched a lot because it absorbs very quickly. That means you won’t have to spend more time wiping the excess off and you don’t have to worry about your Persian rugs or carpeting getting marked up.
When Sadie was out on the east coast with me hiking and frolicking on the beach, she managed to cut her paw pad quite deeply. She was limping and licking the pad raw. Luckily, I had a tin of paw balm on hand. I put some on the cut area at night and twice the next day. She was up walking around normally in no time.
Also, inside scoop from one aging girl to another, the manufacture rep told me that I can rub a little extra on my own wrinkles!
Getting Your Dog Used to It
Properly taking care of your dog’s feet may take some practice. At first, when you touch the top of their paws, they may pull away. The many nerve endings in their feet makes them sensitive to the touch.
Be patient and keep trying. Eventually they will get used to it. Dogs are creatures of habit and routine so if you develop a patient, rewarding routine of touching, rubbing, and gently squeezing their paws they may even look forward to the “pampering”.