• Look at your dog’s feet regularly so that you can spot any developing problems like cuts and sores. It’s also a good idea to pay attention if your dog is biting at his feet or constantly licking them. Other signs like limping, not using the foot or refusing to walk should be heeded and checked out.

    • Watch where your dog walks and keep his home and play area free from hazardous items like broken glass, chemicals, sharp objects and abrasive surfaces. Do as much as you can to eliminate insect pests and irritants that could irritate a dog’s feet, like getting rid of weeds with burrs and using safe or no products on your lawn

    • Stay off of hot pavement during the summer months. Sidewalks and roadways can burn your dog’s paws when the temperature soars. Opt for walking on the grass or on surfaces like wood chip paths. Softer, natural paths can be easier on your dog’s paws and you’ll have less chance of burns and sores.

    • Wash your dog’s feet off with warm water after she’s been out in the snow, ice or on any area that may have been treated with a chemical de-icer. This helps to melt any snow or ice balls that have formed between your dog’s toes and it gets rid of harmful chemicals that your dog might ingest later while licking her feet. You can apply petroleum jelly or bag balm to the pads if sores develop or for protection against snow and ice (just be sure to wipe it off when you come inside).

    • Buy your dog boots or shoes to wear in rough terrain or when it’s cold and icy. You can purchase boots at most pet retail stores. Your dog may need some time to get used to them and some dogs are quite adept at getting boots off quickly.

    • Take your pooch to the vet if you notice any signs of injury or if the paws seem chronically painful. It’s normal to have small issues crop up from time to time and many can be treated at home, but if you are unsure or if the problem gets worse, make an appointment.