I don’t know about you, but going for a hike without my dog seems empty somehow. It is like having a fantastic experience but something’s missing. That’s an easy fix. I hike with my dog, ALWAYS!
One thing I’m paranoid about is having my pooch’s paw pads cut or hurt. It wouldn’t be too fun to carry a hurt 100 lb dog out of the forest, considering that’s almost my weight.
To keep your pup’s paws healthy and safe, here are my favorite dog paw care tips for hiking, so you can rest easy and have a paw-fect hike!
By Adeline Ee.
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4 Dog Paw Care Tips For Hiking
In addition to checking your dog’s paws frequently during the hike for nicks, cuts, or any sharp objects that might be embedded, there are a few preventative care measures that you can take to ensure your dog’s paws are kept in tip-top shape.
Shorten your dog’s nails
There’s nothing more grating when I hear the clickety-clack of a dog’s nails on a hard surface. Someone needs a nail trim for sure!
Keeping your dog’s nails short will ensure a happy paw.
Nails that are too long can get snagged on rocks and roots and break off, or cause their gait to be hampered, leading to joint problems in the future.
Long nails can cause your dog much discomfort and pain as they walk because the pressure goes right into the nail bed and prevents a natural gait.
Unless your dog runs for miles on asphalt or some other hard, texture surface that can naturally wear dog the nails, you’ll need to cut their nails every two weeks to a month.
You can either use a doggy nail clipper with a safety feature that prevents you from reaching too deep into the quick, or my personal favorite, the Dremel tool fixed with a grinder to file the nails down.
This works especially well with dogs that have black nails, preventing you from seeing the quick.
Use dog booties
Investing in dog booties is one of the simplest ways to protect your furry friend’s paws while hiking. There are a plethora of options available, and it is easy to find a pair of dog shoes that fits your dog’s paws.
Unlike other boots, dog hiking boots give your pup a thick layer of protection between the rough terrain of the trail and the sensitive skin of his paws, allowing him to walk without slipping or cutting his paws.
In addition, dog shoes are useful not only on hot days when you want to protect your pet’s paws from hot surfaces but also during the winter when hiking with your dog.
Dogs have paw pads that often trap snow, making the walk uncomfortable, and even painful.
Dog booties are a great way to prevent ice from accumulating in the sensitive paw pads!
When putting booties on your dogs, try going slow and treating and praising lavishly.
I have met many a dog owner that simply tugged the booties on and expected their dog to instantly take to their booties.
As many of us already know, this often results in an extremely comical reaction from the dog, who now refuses to take a step, or walks with his legs splayed hilariously out.
Wax your dog’s paws
In the event that your dog does not like wearing doggie shoes, you can consider using paw protection wax to protect their pads.
While balms and waxes aren’t quite a substitute for tough, durable dog boots, they can still offer some element of protection against the cold, heat, and snow, as well as prevent small nicks, scrapes and cuts.
Natural ingredients like beeswax, are often used in paw balms and waxes, and these ingredients create a protective barrier around the paws.
There are some products that contain nutrients like Vitamin E, hemp oil, and organic shea butter that can be beneficial to your pooch’s paws, and contain natural ingredients that nourish their skin.
If the weather is too hot or too cold, you’ll need way more planning to keep you and your pooch safe.
In scorching temperatures, your pet might suffer from heatstroke when it’s hot out.
In contrast, prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures may cause your pet to suffer frostbite and hypothermia.
Strengthen your dog’s paws
When hiking, you can strengthen or toughen up their pads so that they are less likely to suffer paw injuries if you are on the fence about getting your dog to wear boots or prefer not to use foot protection.
Walk your dog in increasing durations on rough surfaces like asphalt and concrete instead of sticking to soft trails or smooth indoor surfaces.
This should help build up tougher skin and calluses on their paw pads, reducing the risk of them getting punctured, nicked, or cut when out in the busy.
Watch out during hot weather though!
Asphalt and concrete are notorious heat-absorbers. Always check the temperature of the surface before you make poochie walk on it.
As a general rule, if you cannot walk barefoot on it, your dog shouldn’t have to either.
Hiking with your dog is a super fun, enjoyable experience that every pet parent should do.
By following these simple tips, you’ll keep your dog’s paws healthy and able to enjoy many more miles together.
Thanks for reading, and happy hiking!