How To Care for Wet Dog Paws

As a dog owner, you know that your dog needs his exercise, rain or shine. He also needs to do his business, whether it's wet out or sunny. If it’s rainy, it is inevitable that your dog, especially his feet, is going to get wet and probably muddy, too. This is not just an inconvenience for you and your floors, but it can be an issue for your dog’s sensitive paws.
dog with wet muddy paws

Since your dog’s paws are always exposed to the ground, whether it is wet or dry, they can be susceptible to infections. When a dog cavorts happily in the dirt, mud or rain, they pick up bacteria that can lead to disease. Plus, mud is not only messy but slippery and a muddy paw has no grip. No grip means that your dog can go “slip sliding away”. Any dog owner is aware of what happens whenever you blend rain with a lively dog – an incredible big mess. Rain or not, your pet still has to head outdoors to do his business and if you reside somewhere where it can rain for hours on end, your canine can’t typically outlast Mother Nature. Therefore to the yard he goes, in the puddles within the grass and the mud in the garden. And what happens to that water and muck when he has completed his rounds? It comes into the home onto your new carpet, your floor tile and hardwood flooring, and even your furniture if you aren’t ready for that jump onto the couch. With these things in mind, here are a couple of sound tips to take care of your dog’s paws when they get wet.

Be Prepared

Keep an old towel on the porch or inside the entry way on rainy days. When your dog is ready to come in with those wet or muddy paws, make him sit first and wipe down each paw as best you can. (This is also an ideal way to practice that ever so elusive “sit/stay” command!). For particularly dirty paws, you can follow up with a second, more thorough cleaning using pre-moistened wipes. Just make sure they are alcohol and chemical-free. Baby wipes work great and you can even find a pre-moistened wipe product made especially for dogs at your favorite pet store chain.

Keep Them Tidy

Another way to keep your dog’s paws ready for wet, muddy weather is to keep the hair trimmed that grows between the pads of their paws. That fur soaks up excess water and mud, making for an extra messy and germ-ridden paw. Furry dogs like Golden Retrievers, Shih Tzus or Poodles quickly grow a lot a hair in that area.

Cover 'Em Up

dog wearing jacket and boots in the rain
If you have one of those dogs who either don’t like their paws handled or thinks it’s the most fun game in the world to tease you by running from the towel as soon as you get it close, there is another option. Many people have found dog booties to be the perfect solution. The right set fits nice and snug and are water proof so after a romp in the rain, their paws are still nice and dry. They also have a non-slip tread for better traction in the mud or slick surfaces. Your first thought may be that your dog would look silly in boots. After all, you only see little lap dogs dressed up in in clothing and booties, right? You'll put that thought aside as soon as you find out how practical they are! Dog rain boots are not only water-proof but they can provide grip for when he steps from the soaked, muddy lawn upon a wooden outdoor patio or slick cement porch. If you live in an apartment and have to brave the rain and take your dog for a walk to get to the nearest bathroom, it is possible to direct him or her clear of the mud however, not the puddles. Sometimes, dog booties are more for your benefit than the dogs. But booties could also guard feet from chemical compounds and bug sprays on your grass which could surface whenever it's wet outside. Good quality boots should even have leather-based or vinyl fabric bottoms that resist abrasion from asphalt and rough cement sidewalks. Before your pet dog goes outside in the rainfall, slide on and cinch up his / her rain dog boots and steer clear of a phone call to the rug cleaner. When he’s finished, take them off and leave them at the patio for next time.

Practice Makes Perfect

Next, you might wonder how you are going to get those boots on to your dog and make him keep them on, especially if he’s one of those that doesn’t like his feet touched. If this is the case, you first need to work with him so he gets used to having his paws handled. Then you can slowly start to introduce him to the boots, one paw at a time. Treats work wonders after you get the boots on him to give him the idea that good things happen when he lets you put the boots on. First treats and then the walk in the rain! Wet weather is not an excuse to keep your dog trapped inside the house. But if you are prepared for the rain and educated in the things you can do for your dog’s protection and safety, then you can be confident in saying, “a little rain never hurt anyone.” Neither did wet paws.

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