Feet and Pads

"The hair between the pads should be cut. Mats and foreign matter caught in the folds are undesirable. They encourage licking, which keeps the area moist, possibly leading to fungus or infection..." (Stein, Larry B. "Addressing the Coat." Breed Column. AKC Gazette, Sep. 2003, 87-88).

"While grooming or petting your dog, screen your pal's paws for problems...

"Examine each nail for cracking, splitting, or excessive length, as well as the skin around the nail's bed for swelling, redness, or injury.

"Check each foot pad.. Foot pads should feel elastic.. Thickened, dry, or hard pads tend to crack and split. Treat this problem by soaking your dog's paws in warm water for five or 10 minutes, then rubbing petroleum jelly into the pads to retain moisture. Cover pads overnight with cotton, socks, or dog booties to prevent licking.

"Check out the skin between toes and pads. Look for inflammation (indicated by redness or moisture).. Inflammation here may signal allergies, especially if your dog licks or chews her feet.

"Prevent matting of fur, and the collection of tree sap, thorns, stickers, or snowballs by keeping hair trimmed to a 1/4-inch length between toes and pads.

"Regular pedicures prevent torn nails, an extremely common and painful accident in dogs.. " (Susan Bertram. "Stepping Out." Dog Fancy, April 2004: 63).

"...examine your dog's feet and footpads. Look for foreign debris such as foxtails, burrs, or thorns. Dry and cracked pads or any evidence of fungus needs veterinary attention...

"...trim excess hair from between footpads(Diana Mohler. "Best Foot Forward." Dog Fancy, July 2004: 20).

Colby Glass, MLIS