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How to Care for Your Dog’s Paws

by dogtoysadvisor

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We tend to overlook our dogs’ paws.

Our daily routine consists of cleaning the paws thoroughly when our dogs return from their walks.

They walk barefoot (barepawed?) everyday, on rough terrain (road, sidewalk, dirt, grass, sand, you name it), if they jump, it’s their pads that will absorb the shock and protect their joints.

How We Learned About This

Dobby once stepped on a bee and a lit cigarette. Coco stepped on glass without us noticing it and bled so much we thought she’d need stitches (she didn’t, she was running around like nothing had happened just a couple of hours later).

Then one day, we were on vacation at the beach and Tommy started limping.

Tommy, who never complains, who was running around like a crazy dog the second we got him back from the vet after being neutered, was limping and clearly in pain.

We checked his entire body searching for injuries and didn’t find anything until we saw his poor paws were raw and blistered after hours running on the wet sand and the salty water.

Prevention is Key

Even though accidents can happen, prevention goes a long way in keeping your dog’s paws safe. Be sure to:

– Keep your dog’s paws moisturized at all times

– Avoid walking your dog in hot temperatures

– Keep a watchful eye over the parks and places you take him to

– On your daily dog walks, make sure to watch ahead for something on the ground that might hurt him

– Keep their nails short

A little bit of care and by following the 4 tips mentioned below you should keep your dog running around for a very long time.

How to Care for Your Dog’s Paws

We cleaned the paws the best we could and took him to the vet, who let us know that if we’d taken care of his paws properly, this could have been avoided.

Since that day, we made sure to do just that, tried a couple of things and see what worked for our dogs’ paws.

Keep it Moisturized

One of the most important things you can do for your dog’s paws is to moisturize them.

We’ve tried a couple of balms and butters, but ultimately, this is our favorite, because it smells great and it stays on for longer.

For paw moisturizer, less is more, you don’t want to get the paws too soft because they’ll get hurt easier, they need a thick paw skin.

Also, we do advise using socks for a few hours after applying it if you don’t want them to lick it and if you don’t want to have little greasy paw marks all over your home

We’ve been using this paw balm for years and we are 100% satisfied.

If you prefer to make your own, we can help you with that.

Our Homemade Moisturizer Recipe

If, like us, you prefer to use your own natural recipes to moisturize your dog’s feet, this is the recipe we like to use:

– 6, 1oz Heat safe tins

– Small pot

– 2 oz olive oil

– 2 oz coconut oil

– 1 oz shea butter (don’t replace with cocoa butter, it’s toxic for dogs)

– 4 tsp beeswax

Melt all the ingredients together over low heat while stirring.

Pour the mix into the tins and leave to cool until they harden again. It should last between one to two years as long as you store it somewhere cool.

Keep it Clean

If you’re making sure to keep your dogs’ paws clean, you’re doing half the work already.

Wipe your dog’s paws with a moist cloth when he gets home, closely inspecting between the toes for some sort of debris.

After that, use a dry towel to keep them nice and dry.

Keep it Trimmed

You’ll want to keep the nails trimmed.

We know it can be a horror movie to trim your dog’s nails. (Read also: how to cut your dog’s nails without being afraid).

It’s the only thing that makes Dobby bite, but with 4 extra nails that can get stuck on just about anything and rip, we can’t take the risk.

We’ve established a routine that works well with him.

One of us will feed him treats or even wet food (which he doesn’t get very often) while the other works on those pesky nails. He’s suspicious but food trumps fear.

The nail clipper you use is also important, we’ve tried a few he hated and we couldn’t really use properly. Then we got this one and things got a lot better.

Keep it Protected

Sometime you’ll need to take it one step further.

Either because you live in a region that gets too cold or too hot for your dog’s paws or because your dog has overly-sensitive paws, he’ll need extra protection.

In our case, after getting too carried away with the paw balm and leaving our dog’s paws too moisturized, a proper paw protector (try saying that three times!!) was required to offer an extra layer of toughness that dogs require to be able to walk on the steets without getting hurt.

We use this particular balm. It’s so easy to apply and so small you can carry it with you.

What it does is, it creates a protective coating between the paw and the surface while it helps to heal the wounds and cracks with its natural ingredients.

What to Do When Accident Strikes

Sometimes, even with all the care in the World, they can still get hurt.

The pavement can be too hot or there will be something sharp hiding in the sand or grass. They’ll get cuts, blisters, cracks, sores, burns, sometimes even ulcers.

First and foremost, you need to decide if you can handle it or if a vet is required.

If the gash is deep, if there is too much blood, if it looks infected or your dog is in a lot of pain, go straight to the vet and get it sorted.

If you can see that the damage isn’t that great, it looks clean, it’s just a small affected area or there isn’t too much blood, then there are some things you can do yourself.

You’ll start by cleaning it with antibacterial wash and then you’ll want to wrap it in something.

You can use a sock or a dog bootie. Just make sure to keep it clean and dry, luckily dogs mend quickly and he’ll be recovered in no time.

Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising and iStock


  1. Daisy

    Thank you for caring about dogs. I love animals

  2. Robyn Palmer

    I found the recipe somewhere for the homemade paw balm. I gave some to a friend of mine for her dogs as well and both of us use it on our elbows. LoL It heals dry and cracked elbows fairly quickly.

    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Robyn.

      That’s an excellent tip! We’ll be sure to try that!
      Mike and Sandy

    • Kellie

      Are you willing to share your recipe?

  3. Marlene

    Is there a safe way to keep my dogs jowls moistened?

    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Marlene.

      We guess it depends on the dog, can you be a bit more specific? Are they chapped? Just dry? Do you need to hydrate them or just moisturize?

      Thank you,
      Mike and Sandy

  4. Donna Kryston

    This is the best article I have read on Paws. I am always searching for Homemade remedies for our 2 Mini Schnauzers. Thank you so much for this info. I will be making your PAW Butter for them.

    For Life Animal Lover, Donna

    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Donna.
      THank you so much for your comment, we really appreciate it.
      Let us know how it went with the paw butter.

      Best of luck,
      Mike and Sandy

    • Carol F

      I frequently see people walking their dogs on macadam in 90 degree temps. Please stop it. Take your shoes off and see how it feels. If it’s too hot for you, don’t make your dog walk on it.

      • dogtoysadvisor

        Hi Carol,

        Absolutely, it can be very dangerous to walk your dog in scorching pavement.

        Thank you

      • Ryleigh Spradling

        I see the same problem as well!My dogs wear boots anytime we go out even if its cold I dont like the risk.In the backyard its a different story since we have a fence that stops them for stepping on the concrete but the stairs.People will laugh and say its adorable and I explain why its best to wear them on walks my local pet store has had to restock a lot since I have told people about them!I recommend telling people about the boots as well!In the beggining it looks goofy when they walk but they get use to it shortly.

    • Phyllis Schockner

      I found a great site if your dog has Arthritis or hip problems, my Prince used Winston Formula for years before he was killed, had another dog who lived almost to 21, pain should not be a reason to put them down if there help.

  5. Gert king

    Happy to learn about paw care. Thank you…🐾🐾🐾

    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Gert.

      Thank you for your feedback, we really appreciate it.

      Good luck,
      Mike and Sandy

  6. Kaye

    Heat and sand are one problem watch those paws in snow, ice, & freezing weather. Paws can become frost bitten as well

    • Kellie

      The recipe calls for coconut oil. Do I use solid or liquid?

      • dogtoysadvisor

        Hi Kellie.

        Well, our coconut oil is actually solid in the cold weather and liquid in the hot weather so we don’t really know how to reply! Hehehe. I guess if we had to choose, liquid is easier to mix.

        Let us know how it went! Thank you,
        Sandy and Mike

  7. MaryJane Rhinebold

    Hi, am a new puppy owner, have had dogs before but I am taking extra care with “PIP”. He is 14 weeks old and is a Schnoodle! We are in the nipping and still potty-training him. We are feeding Purina One for Puppies and fresh fruits and Vegetables all on the “Good for Dogs” list. I have purchased Dog Boots for our winter months and I am careful of the places he walks this summer; since he is only 9 pounds I carry him to the grassy places and not on the cement or tarmac. Thanks for the recipes for moisturizer for his paws, should I trim the hair around the pads? I will be interested in your tips and recipes forth coming. Thank-you again!

    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi MaryJane.
      Pip sounds like a very lucky puppy! It’s a good idea to trim the hair around the pads. It will make it easier to clean after going on walks and it won’t mat as easily. Plus, during summertime, it makes it easier to spot anything that comes home with him, like ticks and other insects that can sometimes latch on between the pads.

      Let us know how it went,
      Good Luck,
      Sandy and Mike

    • Tracy

      I’m a groomer and yes his paw hairs should be clipped. You should be taking him to the groomer now too. If you find the right groomer they will take him in & start training him for grooming. Small steps to ease him into the sounds, smells & feeling of different tools used in a grooming salon.
      Keeping the hair trimmed on the feet also helps them walk easier & dogs sweat from their feet so it will make it easier for them to sweat.
      Also, a heads up. Depending on how he looks & the type of hair he has, will make a difference in how short his hair can be cut. If its soft & silky then longer is better. If it’s more coarse like a terrier then it can be short on his back. Dogs hair is like the the insulation in your home. It keeps them warm when it’s cold out, & cool when it’s hot out.

      Stinky K9 Spa

  8. April

    Wouldn’t this clog their sweat glands preventing them from an additional homeostatic heat regulation source? I remember reading in one of my animal science books that putting balms and creams on dog paws is counteractive because it may fix one problem, it causes another which is more severe. Just something to consider when you do apply it, I would do it when you know they aren’t going to be going outside soon, or exercising or playing.

    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi April.
      We agree, it makes sense to apply the balm when the temperature is milder and they’re at home resting as a preventive measure.
      Thank you for your input.

      Have a great weekend,
      Mike and Sandy

  9. Rita

    How often should you apply balm?

    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Rita.

      If your dog’s paws are looking pretty much okay, we suggest once a week, as maintenance.
      If they look dry, maybe once every three days, if chaped maybe once every other day until they’re beter.
      Remember, once they’re looking okay, don’t overdo it or the skin will become too tender and they might get hurt easier.

      Let us know how it went,
      Thank you,
      Mike and Sandy

  10. Darrin Tomaski

    I’ve been using bag balm on my dogs paws for years, it works great.

    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Darrin,

      Thank you so much for your feedback! We agree.

  11. Rachel

    Thank you for this article. It was very helpful. I just noticed this morning that the pads on my dogs paws have started to get rough and figured it was probably a good idea to look into something for him. For the recipe you listed that you can make at home, is there a specific brand that you use for each item?

    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Rachel.

      We’re so glad you liked it.
      Honestly there is no specific brand, we’ve tried a few different ones with very similar results.

      Good luck and let us know how it went!
      Mike and Sandy


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