Taking care of your dogâ€™s feet and paws should be something every dog owner should practice. Dogs usually donâ€™t complain when something is wrong, especially when it involves pain. Itâ€™s an amazing thing compared to us whining humans, but your dog can wear a hole in a paw pad and keep on going, showing no immediate signs of pain.
Usually the first sign is excessive licking. Make sure to check your dogâ€™s paw pads if you notice a bit more licking than normal.
Hawaii Paw Pad Precautions
Everyone knows it can get a little warm in Hawaii. Here on Maui we have weather patterns that do bring rain and cooler temperatures during the evening on some parts of the Island but for the most part itâ€™s warm. When your dog is walking on pavement make sure to note that just because the sun isn’t glaring down on you, the pavement can still be hot enough to burn your dogâ€™s paw pads.
Dogs do acclimate well, probably better than humans in many cases, unless we are talking humidity. A dog living in Hawaii for any length of time will adapt to warmer surfaces their paw pads are exposed to. You donâ€™t have to leave your dog home just because the sun is out.Â Do leave your dog home if the humidity is really high.
Here are a Few Things to Keep in Mind When it Comes to Paw Pad Protection
Black pavement is going to be much hotter than a concrete sidewalk. Avoid black pavement on paw pads if you can. If you canâ€™t, limit the amount of time your dog is on it and most importantly keep your dog moving. Like running your hand across a candle flame, you can stand it for a couple seconds but not for more than that! Donâ€™t make your dog stand on hot pavement without movement.
Sand on the beach can also be very hot depending on the time of day your dog is out on it. Easiest cooling off method in this case it to walk near the water and let your dog dip her feet into the cool ocean. Again the darker in color the sand is, the hotter it is going to feel to your dog’s paw pads, keeping in mind light sand midday can be like walking on coals as well.
Dogs can also cut themselves on reef or sharp rock in the ocean as well as sharp pieces that have washed up on shore. If you have a water dog, check paw pads and feet for cuts after a beach or ocean outing.
Broken glass or bottle caps can slice a dogâ€™s paw pads easily. Though we have a policy of picking up trash and keeping it clean here in Maui or the other Hawaiian Islands, itâ€™s still out there and with your dogâ€™s paw pads always exposed the possibility of a cut is always there.
Treating Paw Pad Injuries
The possibility of infection is high in paw pad injuries but particularly of concern in tropical climates like Hawaii. Take these precautionary steps in treating any paw pad injury.
- Wash the injured paw using soap and water to get any debris out, making sure the cut is clean.
- Dry the injured paw with a clean towel.
- Use antispetic like betadine to insure the area is clear of bacteria. *Note, do not use hydrogen peroxide as it can damage tissue and prolong healing.
- A natural remedy to use as an antiseptic is Neem Oil. It is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic, and antiparasitic. *note it smells terrible but cans stop the possibility of infection quickly, even ward off the scary staph infections common in Hawaii.
- Another natural remedy to use on dog paw pads is Coconut Oil. Use internally and externally when your dog is healing from a paw pad injury. Use the day after your initial clean out with neem oil. Youâ€™ll find coconut oil will help with many things your dog may need protection against.
- Wrap the paw pad in rolled guaze or vet wrap (you can find vet wrap at most equine feed stores). Roll the gauze in a “figure 8” pattern, looping around the paw and ankle to prevent the bandage from slipping off.
- Typically, bandaging is not recommended for a dog’s injury as the limited air flow can promote the growth of anaerobic bacteria. But paw pad injuries are an exception to this rule.Â Without a bandage the injured paw pad will be contaminated with bacteria and irritated by debris.
- Check the paw pad morning and night and rewrap with new dressing until it is healed.
Coconut Oil is reported to be:
- Anti-bacterial – Can help kill harmful bacteria that can cause numerous health problems ranging from gum disease to stomach ulcers
- Anti-viral – Can help kill harmful viruses that can cause bladder infections, influenza, hepatitis, measles and other viruses.
- Anti-fungal – Can help eliminate ringworm, athlete’s foot, diaper rash, candidiasis, and yeast infections.
- Anti-parasitic – Can help kill tapeworms, lice, giardia and other parasites.
If you have an doubt the wound is not healing or it is developing an infection see your professional pet care provider immediately.
Jt Clough lives in Maui, Hawaii and practices health, happiness, natural remedies and training for dogs and their people.Â Her uncanny way of communication with both dogs and people is healing and her training is effective physically and emotionally. Her work at ReVIBE | Dogs + Joy + Vibrance is for people looking to live healthier and happier lives through their dogs and her passion for it has helped so many to find and do that thing theyâ€™ve been talking about or wishing to happen for so long. She is a dog whisperer for our best friends and studies natural dog remedies, nutrition and communication. Her latest publications are Pumpkin Dog Food + Treats Recipes and 5K Training Guide | Running with Dogs and Treading for Dogs DVD