Care of paws

SOLHEDS Derma-products – support with care of paws

Paw care

Extreme temperatures and changing weather conditions are challenging for paws.  In winter temperatures dropping to below zero and in summer hot bitumen can cause problems. Working dogs (eg . hunting and agility) benefit from preventative care when nearing hunting or agility season. If paws are in good condition, they can cope better with stress from harsh conditions. Regular checking of paws and maintenance are a good preventative strategy. A good  paw cream support skin’s elasticity.

Keep paws clean

Dirty skin is more prone to skin damage. Roadbase, gravel, salt and pitch from the roads causes wear and tear on skin. Broken skin is susceptible for infections.

Derma4 Gentle Shampoo , is a good  product for basic skin care. Water alone is not enough to keep paws clean, just a small amount of  Derma4 Gentle Shampoo assists in keeping paws clean. When weather is muddy , rainy  or it is sleeting, wash paws and abdomen at least once a week with diluted Derma4 Gentle Shampoo to remove salt and pitch from irritating skin. Avoid sulphate based washing agents as they are too aggressive and wash away beneficial and protecting fatty acids of the skin.

If the skin is broken, scratched or red, Derma1 Skin care Shampoo is antiseptic and can assist in healing. Paws should be dry ; moist skin can harbour bacteria and infections.

If you want the paws to have some grip, it is  good to keep the hair near paws short. Long hair is slippery and gathers dirt. If having grip is not an issue, long hair can give paws more protection from the elements. Just be mindful that long hair can gather lumps of snow between paw pads.

Good paw cream – moisturise as needed

Fatty acids  protect the skin by improving elasticity and increasing the skin barrier, which is especially helpful under stress. Derma10 Heel balm is water free product that provides elasticity, improves tolerance to extreme temperatures and poor weather conditions and moisturises and protects skin. Use as needed. Before going out in the winter, you can use the Derma10 Heel balm between paw pads on hair to reduce snow balling between toes and paw pads. You can also moisturise paws at night before going to bed.

An effective product absorbs quickly and contains beneficial fatty acids. Try to avoid thick ointments and creams that block the skin. Dogs are only able to sweat from their paws, so it is important not to use thick and greasy ointments that might  block the skin on their paws. Panting and sweating from paws is an important part of dogs’ temperature control. Products eg. vaseline and paraffin can block the skin.

Avoid unnecessary use of products containing strong active ingredients eg pitchoil, tar, sap or tea tree oil. Many natural products contain phytobiotics  – antibiotics derived from plants, these products are for problem skin care, not for everyday use. Derma10 Heel balm , absorbs quickly and can be safely used everyday to care for the paws. If you know that your dog has dry paws that crack easily, commence care of the paws early to prevent problems.

Appropriate packaging is closed bottle or tube where the product doesn’t get contaminated eg. by fingers. Open jars are a risk to product safety.

Problem situations and cracked paw pads

Under duress and extreme use, paw pads can crack and “wear out”.  This is often caused by dry paw pads with poor elasticity.  Regular preventative paw care can prevent this. Cracked paws are managed as wounds due to the infection risk. Derma5 Germ Fighting cream can be used to manage cracked paws.  Derma6 wound oil is also an excellent product for care of cracked paws. Derma10 heel balm can be used on top of these products for extra care.

The area between toes is a challenging and sensitive area of paws. This area is prone to infections and commonly problematic on dogs with allergies. Wet weather creates opportune conditions also for Furunculosis (“paw infection”). It is important to keep this area clean and dry. Further information is available on pages covering Allergic skin care and skin infections .

As with other paw care, it is important not to block the skin with thick ointments and waxes. Many causative agents for serious infections are anaerobic microbes (e.g. bacteria living and active in the absence of oxygen). Blocking the skin can cause unaerobic conditions, which support the unaerobic bacteria to thrive better.

With skin conditions causing problems it is important to contact the vet early.

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Preventative Care for paw problems

Snow in coat and paws

Wet, heavy snow gathers easily between pawpads, toes and long hair and can make the dogs movement difficult and even painful. This can be prevented by keeping paw hair short and using Derma10 heel balm. As before, try avoiding the use of heavy and waxy  creams that block the skin’s normal function.

You can reduce lumps in the coat by using Derma9 Luxury shine&care spray, this will also make is easier to comb out the lumps of snow. Try avoiding products containing silicone as not to hinder skin’s normal function. Derma9 spray and Derma10  leave a surface on skin like silicone but do not require strong detergents to remove the residue.

Derma9 Luxury shine&care spray and Derma10 heel balm, are safe and ecologic choice. They  are safe for cats and dogs even if digested.

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Pawpads are in contact with surfaces and bear the brunt of the wear and tear. Pawpads harden and thicken over time and in use to better protect from injuries and infections. Gradually increasing walks and exercise with puppies with provide this naturally. The rough surface of the paws also increase grip in slippery conditions.

Dogs regulate their temperature by panting and sweating from their paws. Paws are the only area that dogs can sweat from. It is very important not to block the skin on the paws with heavy creams and waxes.

Skin between paw pads is very sensitive and prone to skin issues. Damp conditions, salt on roads , dirt and small cracks on  the skin increase the risk for infections. Keeping paws clean and dry and caring for them with good quality products prevents any skin issues.

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