Your Dog's Paws
Shock absorbers, balance aids, insulators - what other tricks can your pup’s paws perform? We’ve hand picked 4 paw facts that you might not know!
Unlike human nails which sit on and grow from our skin, claws grow directly from the bones in their toes. Highly active dogs’ claws are often kept at a healthy length naturally as a result of their constant use on outdoor surfaces. Just as the bones they grow from, claws contain blood vessels and nerves, which means if not done correctly, claw trimming can be uncomfortable, painful and cause them to bleed. NEVER clip your dog’s nails if you’re even a little bit unsure of what you’re doing.
Ever spied wet paw prints even though your dog's paws aren't? Dogs don't sweat in the same way we humans do, nor can they conduct heat away from their bodies as efficiently. Sweat glands in the paw pads help cool dogs down and prevent pads from becoming too dry, and just like we might get sweaty palms if we’re nervous, dogs’ paws sweat when they’re feeling stressed.
Does your dog have Cat Feet?
Varying between breeds, dogs have differently shaped pads for different purposes. “Cat Feet” are compact and round for stability, a firm base, supporting large weight and endurance. In “Hare Feet” there are two longer central toes used for speed and sprinting, and “Webbed Feet” are great for swimming and digging. What does your pup have?
Brill in the chill, not in the hot
Dogs are able to withstand cold with their paws thanks to a thick layer of protective, insulate fatty tissue which doesn’t freeze as easily as “normal” skin, and arteries in the pads circulate cooler blood up into the body to warm it back up again. Paw pads can, however, become blistered, burn or even tear when walking, or particularly running, on hot or rough surfaces such as concrete in summer. Though it seems like lightyears away yet, paw care in hot weather is just as crucial as in winter! Consistency in their exercise throughout the year can help “toughen”, thicken and strengthen their pads for when the warmer weather comes. Just like human feet, paws that are used to walking on rough and hard surfaces may be more likely to withstand injury, can have increased traction and stability.
As with all areas of your dog’s health, regular paw checks will make sure that your pup isn’t experiencing any pain, discomfort or problems. Remember, just like humans, some dogs don’t enjoy having their feet handled, so always respect their preferences and consult a professional if you have any concerns.