Ripped up & bloody paws from running in the dog park
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Thread: Ripped up & bloody paws from running in the dog park

  1. #1
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    Ripped up & bloody paws from running in the dog park

    We have a 9 month old shih tzu puppy that loooves going to the dog park. We live in the city and the closest and move convenient dog park we have is about 2 blocks away. Each time we take him there, we stay anywhere between 1-1.5 hrs. The only thing is that the pavement is really hard on my puppy's paws. His paws always get cut and bloody from running around. We spoke with a couple of the other dog owners at the park and they didn't have the same issue. I also noticed that the other dogs were lighter on their feet when they run. We started wrapping his paws so he wouldn't get hurt, but someone suggested that we just let him get used to running with his paws so the skin will roughen up and be tougher to break. Has anyone experienced this issue before? Any help would be appreciated!!!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member LilasMom's Avatar
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    Re: Ripped up & bloody paws from running in the dog park

    Don't let him walk on pavement. Pavement is very hard on a puppies joint's anyways, he should never be running on something that hard. Especially with a breed that small, you shouldn't just "toughen" them up in my opinion. You just need to make sure she stays on soft surfaces like grass and dirt to keep her feet and joints healthy.
    Lila 3.5 lbs
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  4. #3
    Senior Member Poly's Avatar
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    Re: Ripped up & bloody paws from running in the dog park

    Since you live in a city, you don't have much choice about exercising him on pavement - lots of pavement in a city, and not much unpaved areas.

    However, as you have discovered, pavement can be tough on paw pads.

    I must disagree about keeping your dog's pads in a soft condition.

    A properly conditioned pad will feel like very rough leather, but will not show any cracks. Generally speaking, a dog's pads will toughen up sufficiently for normal activity with every-day use. However in some cases and before very intense activities, you may have to help it along with a pad conditioner. Notice I said a pad conditioner, not a pad softener. You do NOT want to soften you dogs pads.

    Some well known pad conditioners are Pad-Heal (which we use a lot), Tuf-Foot, and Pad-Tough. Whichever one you use, follow the instructions exactly.

    Another product you can use is a paw wax, such as Musher's Secret. These don't really toughen the pads but they do protect them somewhat from cracking. One application will last a few days to a week.

    As for running or walking on pavement being tough on joints, it depends on the pavement material. Medium-hard surfaces such as blacktop pavement, boardwalks, or RAC are not all that bad. On the other hand, a very hard surface like untreated concrete can be tough.

    Actually, running/walking on a very soft or very yielding surface, such as a very soft beach sand, is much tougher on joints than any medium-hard surface, as anyone who has trained by jogging on a beach can tell you.

    Of course, the best surface for running or walking is one that is both firm and resilient, such as rolled grass, packed sand, or similar artificial surfaces, and is also relatively level. But you may have some trouble finding that in a city. Often the only place that qualifies is your local high school running track, and dogs are generally not welcome there.
    Last edited by Poly; 03-02-2012 at 10:42 AM.

  5. #4
    Senior Member LilasMom's Avatar
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    Re: Ripped up & bloody paws from running in the dog park

    I didn't mean to keep them in a soft condition, I just don't think it would be okay to keep letting them get all ripped up. But a paw conditioner is an excellent idea to gradually get the paw pads a bit thicker.
    Lila 3.5 lbs
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  6. #5
    Senior Member dantero's Avatar
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    Re: Ripped up & bloody paws from running in the dog park

    What Poly said. But in the meantime it's also important for the paws to stop getting torn up until they toughen. Think about new skin on your own body after an injury. It's much softer than the skin around the non-injured area. If you keep getting injured over and over, that new skin never has a chance to transition to "old skin" and then to "tough skin". I would use a toughner product, and when out and about for normal potty walks leave the feet bare. When you go to the dog park after 15 minutes or so, wrap the feet or put booties on. Then 30 minutes. Then 45, etc As the feet toughen generally you won't need the booties anymore. And easy wrap is just some vet wrap around each foot and part way up the leg. When you see how much some dogs wear the wraps you'll realize just what they are doing to their feet.

    What color pads does your dog have? I have noticed that dark pads are tougher then pink pads and worked with dogs in the past who no matter how much we worked to toughen their feet, the pink pads had issues. Even on a foot with partially brown/black pads and partially pink pads the pink ones were the ones that tended to get injured.

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    Re: Ripped up & bloody paws from running in the dog park

    Quote Originally Posted by dantero View Post
    What Poly said. But in the meantime it's also important for the paws to stop getting torn up until they toughen. Think about new skin on your own body after an injury. It's much softer than the skin around the non-injured area. If you keep getting injured over and over, that new skin never has a chance to transition to "old skin" and then to "tough skin". I would use a toughner product, and when out and about for normal potty walks leave the feet bare. When you go to the dog park after 15 minutes or so, wrap the feet or put booties on. Then 30 minutes. Then 45, etc As the feet toughen generally you won't need the booties anymore. And easy wrap is just some vet wrap around each foot and part way up the leg. When you see how much some dogs wear the wraps you'll realize just what they are doing to their feet.

    What color pads does your dog have? I have noticed that dark pads are tougher then pink pads and worked with dogs in the past who no matter how much we worked to toughen their feet, the pink pads had issues. Even on a foot with partially brown/black pads and partially pink pads the pink ones were the ones that tended to get injured.
    Thanks everyone for all the great advice! He has pink paws and they r fairly soft. I will pick up some paw conditioner and mushers secret tomorrow! We do have booties but they were a nightmare to put on!

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