Treating Your Dog’s Pads
The health of your dog’s feet is important – especially when your gun dog is working in cold and wet conditions. Tips for treatment and preventative care for your pet’s feet are discussed here.
Treating a Laceration
Anything can happen in the field, which is why it is necessary to keep a first aid kit on hand. If your pet ever suffers a puncture wound or laceration to its paw pad, the first step is to clean the area thoroughly. Saline solution or bottled water is recommended. Next, wrap your dog’s paw with gauze or strips of fabric in order to stop the bleeding and keep the area from becoming infected. Seek treatment for your dog’s injury as soon as possible, and watch vigilantly for signs of infection, such as redness or swelling. Paw injuries can be slow to heal, so it is important to follow the veterinarian’s instructions as closely as possible.
Protecting Paw Pads
A working dog’s paw pads can become worn down and sore, especially during cooler months. If your dog is showing signs of soreness, a salve or ointment can remedy the problem. Protective salves which coat the paw and shield sensitive areas from cold and damp conditions are widely available. Simply rub the salve into the paw before loading up your dog. To soothe a sore paw, restorative ointments that contain vitamins, minerals, and moisturizers can also be used.
Inspect the Feet
Every time your dog returns from a day in the field you should inspect his or her feet. Look for any object that may have punctured your dog’s pad, such as a briar or thorn. Spread your dog’s toes and investigate the webbing to ensure it is free from cuts and abrasions. Feel the pads for rough or sensitive areas, and apply moisturizer as needed. While you are inspecting the feet, it is also worthwhile to check for ticks or grass awns that may be stuck in your dog’s coat.
Ultimately, a dog that comes up lame is no use in the field. Avoid lengthy recovery times by preventing injury to your dog’s sensitive feet. Dogs should be properly conditioned to the rigors of an all-day field session before the first hunt of the season. Owners should also take special care in cold, wet, and snowy conditions to keep a dog’s paws healthy by providing care before, during, and after the hunt.
A great product and a product that has been used for years is Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax, 200-Gram. Take a look and think about adding some to your field first-aid kit.