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Taking care of your Dog’s Feet

Several aspects have to be considered in order for your dogs to maintain a good bill of health. Diet, exercise, genetics, loving attention and mental stimulation are all aspects that we need to take a look at. Grooming is also an important factor to consider when thinking about your dog’s overall health. A dog that is well groomed is more likely to be healthier and with a better appearance. He will have shiny coat, clean eyes, clean ears, clean, healthy teeth, and an overall even structure.

Some dog owners seldom overlook the importance of feet grooming. Sharp claws can hurt human skin. But they can also get in the way of your dog’s movement by bending the foot back too much and splaying out the toes. Paw pads can become dry and cracked during dry weather or after walking on snow and ice.

Let’s take a good look at a dog’s foot. All dogs walk on their toes just like a horse, rather than the soles of their feet like we humans do. Our dogs have four paws that are the counterpart to the toes and ball of the human foot. These paws must always be maintained in good shape. The hairs between the foot pads must be trimmed on a regular basis to prevent matting.

All claws need to be trimmed regularly, including dewclaws. Dewclaw is the term used for the fifth paw on the inside of the leg a few inches from the four paws. A lot of dogs are born with dewclaws. This vestigial paw is non functional and provides no purpose. Many pet owners as well as breeders have the dewclaws surgically removed by a Veterinarian for pure cosmetic reasons. Some breeds such as the working breed need to have their dewclaws taken out to prevent them from accidentally tearing it off. Other breeds however are required to have dewclaws in accordance to their breed standards.

Dog’s feet come in different looks and sizes. Some dogs have tight, rounded, compact cat-like feet that have a shorter third toe. These tidy looking feet are easy to lift and create better endurance. These feet are especially efficient for working dogs. Examples of breeds with cat-like feet are Bichons Frise, Doberman Pinschers, Finish Spitz, and Newfoundlands.

Some dogs have more elongated hare-like feet. These feet have two center toes that are longer than the side toes. Dogs with hare-feet make for a fast runner, such as the trait of Greyhounds and Whippets. Other examples of breeds with hare-like feet are the Bedlington Terrier, the Papillon, and the Samoyed.

Various types of long haired breeds grow hair in between their foot pads. With the exception of some sled dogs, these hairs need to be trimmed away on a regular basis in order to prevent matting as well as ice caking during the winter season. Sled dogs have paw pad hair that serves a protective purpose.