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How to Protect Dog Paws and Pads

Healthy feet are crucial for your dog's well-being. Cold weather and rough surfaces can cause peeling pads, cracks, and fissures between the toes, which can be painful and cause limping. Here’s how you can protect your dog's paws and pads to keep them healthy and pain-free.

Understanding Dog Foot Pads

The footpad is essentially a thick callus that can heal quickly with proper care. However, dogs don’t stay off their feet, making prevention essential. Any limp should be examined and monitored closely, especially in winter. Cracks or fissures between toes and on pads are very painful and require prompt attention.

How Do I Protect My Hunting Dog’s Feet?

Bird dogs, in particular, can endure a lot of pain while hunting. They can "hunt their pads off" if not properly cared for. The main cause of damaged pads in hunting dogs is rough, rocky terrain. If your training ground is rocky, maintaining your dog's pads is critical. Apply a protective balm to toughen pads before hunting. However, avoid overdoing hard surface conditioning to prevent joint trauma and arthritis.

Athletes, Joggers, and Sporting Dogs

Regularly examine your dog's feet. If the pads show wear, apply a thin coat of super glue to the pad surface. For advanced abrasions, apply moleskin over the glued surface for extra padding, then use dog boots. Boots are beneficial but ensure they are used correctly. Most boots are designed to go over wraps, not bare feet. The correct dressing technique is super glue, moleskin, wrap, and then boot.

To support joint health and reduce fatigue, consider giving your dog glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. These increase joint fluid, easing fatigue and trauma, and improve the absorption of impact. Start these supplements at least 30 days before strenuous activities to allow them to take full effect.

House Dogs

House dogs face different challenges, such as exposure to salt and chemical snow melts. These substances dry out the pads, causing cracking and licking. Washing your dog’s feet can help, but the drying process may have already started. Apply a protective balm to restore moisture and heal chemical damage without staining your furniture.

For more information and resources on protecting your dog's paws and pads, visit

white dog paws laying on the ground
dog paws


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