Dog Blog Musher #6
Dog Foot and Pad Care:
If you have an active dog, whether it be in the sport of running hounds, mushing, bird hunting, or it just plain likes to run, then sooner or later you will run into some problems with your dog’s foot pads. Some of the most common problems can range from, fox tails, split nails, worn pads due to abrasions, cuts, puffiness and on and on.
One of the best things you can do for your dog’s pad is to toughen them up naturally prior to the activity that is hard on them. The best ways to toughen the pads is to change the surface of the kennel are that your dog is kept. Our kennel is on river bottom, so it is all sand and rock. You may want to haul in some course sand and spread sand over the surface you already have.
Even if your dog develops tough pads, one has to be careful when you want to go for a long run after it rains, because the sand on the roads and trails gives a bit when dry, but after a rain the sand is more stationary and abrasive. Also when surface water freezes, the rocks and sharp object can’t move and they can cut into a dog’s pad.
I know a lot of Chucker hunters and their dog’s pad have a heck of a time on all the high altitude rocky slopes that they hunt. I tell them about dog booties and see them later and they are so happy because their dog’s feet are still strong after the first two days of hunting. There are all types of cloth, some with or without stretch Velcro. I don’t see a huge advantage of stretch over non-stretch. For real abrasive hunting surfaces like volcanic rock I would use a cordura type cloth. If you have a bruised pad you could put a polar fleece underneath, with a heavier bootie over it. Whatever you do, as soon as the dog is done running, take the bootie off. If you leave it on and had it too tight, and it can cut off the circulation and the whole foot will swell up. Just go to the internet and type in dog booties for selections of companies.
Once you have small cuts or worn spots on the pads from excessive miles or extremely abrasive conditions then you will need to treat them. I find that triple ointments with zinc, and oils with tea tree ingredients are effective. I don’t use anything with aspirin because if the dog can’t feel the soreness then it will continue to run and thus, possibly resulting in a more severe injury.
If there is a worn spot to where there is an open ooze area is visible, then you may want to spray a purple wound coat spray. The only problem with that is that you will have some lose of hair. For cuts wound coat is good. For deep cuts, clean out the wound and super glue the pad together and super glue some moleskin over the whole pad. I know a musher that his dog stepped on a broken bottle the day before the race. He used the super glue and moleskin along with two layers of booties, and the dog ran lead and won a 350 mile sled dog race!
There is another product out the called Algyval, an ointment for sore muscle and tendons that I feel, is also good to cover the dog’s pads and toes. It seems to keep swelling down and softens the cracks on the pads. It is also good for your own hands if they have a tendency to have cracks in the skin.
If your dog gets a split toe nail, sometimes you can super glue the nail together and put nail polish around it.
I personally feel that if you have long haired dogs, then you should keep the hair between their toes, trimmed down. They seem to collect fox tails and grit which will cause problems. In the winter the snow will collect into balls in the hair between the pads, so you want to keep the hair trimmed back short or put dog booties on their feet.
****** I am Not a Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine.****** These are just some home remedies that I have seen used or have used myself, so use them at your own risk!!!!!!
The best thing you can do for your canine friend’s feet and pads is get to know what they look like when they are healthy. Then you will be able to identify new wear or sore spots more easily. Good luck. If you have any other good dog foot care home remedies, write firstname.lastname@example.org , and I will post them. Good Luck