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I adopted a 1.5y old golden retriever about 3 weeks ago. She was previously used to playing on grass, but my yard has some grass, but mostly rough concrete. She loves to play fetch and the longest stretch of my yard is along a concrete path where she often makes sudden turns if the ball changes direction. We go on walks or to parks most days where she can play on grass, but she needs more play time than I can spend at parks, so playing in my yard is our best option. Since I got her, her paw pads have gotten very rough and started to crack in spots. I noticed last night that the cracking has gotten worse and she had a scrape on her one paw pad that is higher up near her wrist (I am assuming she scraped it on the concrete while playing, but I don't know exactly how or when that happened). This scrape had been bleeding previously, but the bleeding had stopped and it didn't look very deep. She hasn't limped or shown any signs of pain and is still frequently asking to go outside to play fetch.

This morning I put a little neosporin on the cut and then a gauze pad and wrapped it in a self-adhesive bandage. She tried to chew at the bandage originally and walked funny for a little while, but now is behaving normally and not bothering the bandage. For her paw pads, I put some musher's secret wax on them this morning (a friend gave it to me, this is the first time I am using it). I have tried to discourage her from doing more running activities (like fetch) and tried to encourage calmer activities, like chewing bones. I have also been trying to limit how much she goes outside today.

I have a few questions about how to best heal her paws currently and also a few about preventing this in the future.
For healing her paws currently:
  1. How often should I reapply the musher's secret (or is there a different product you would recommend for her dry, cracked paws)? The instructions say 2-3x week, but I have heard more often application is ok in the summer. Should I apply it daily?
  2. I followed the first aid directions I found online for treating her scraped paw. I don't think it is bad enough to see a vet, but I am willing to take her if needed. Any suggestions to better treat her scrape? How long should I leave the dressing on for? Even though she isn't messing with the dressing anymore, I am nervous to leave her unsupervised with the dressing on. Should I leave the dressing on and have her wear a cone, or would the scrape probably be ok being exposed?
  3. She hasn't made any indication this is bothering her and still wants to play. Am I likely to cause more damage to her paws by playing fetch indoors (tile and hardwood) or in a grassy park?
For preventing future paw damage:
  1. I have heard of musher's secret being useful for hot temperatures and winter conditions. Is applying this enough to protect her paws while running on rough concrete? I was thinking with the help of the wax and just giving her paws time to adapt to the concrete, maybe she would be ok once the current cracking heals. Of note, I don't think the temperature of the concrete is much of a factor. My yard gets a lot of shade and she doesn't go out into the sunny parts of the concrete very much when it is hot out (or we try to stay indoors all together). I think the bigger issue is the rough texture of the concrete (the kind that has small pebbles and some of the filler concrete around the pebbles is wearing away, so the concrete is almost more similar to a pretty compacted gravel in the roughest spots).
  2. Other solutions I have thought of besides the wax are to get her boots or try to pad some of the concrete areas. Boots sound like a good solution, but I have heard that dogs overheat more easily since they can't sweat well through their feet and some dogs don't handle them well, so I have been a little hesitant. Also, she loves just laying outside and wouldn't need boots then, so I would just have to try to put them on/off every time she wants to play which is doable but a bit of a pain. I am renting this house and likely moving next year when my lease is up, so I can't make any permanent alterations to the yard and don't want to spend too much money.
I attached a couple of pictures so that you could see the cut on her paw (from soon after I saw it last night), the cracking on her other paw pad, and the layout of the yard with that longer walkway on the right side being our main fetch lane. Of note for the picture with her laying in the yard, she LOVES to lay in that spot and play with her tennis balls. She will knock them off the ledge and jump down and get them or wait for me to throw them (in this case she stays laying down like that then basically jumps up from that laying position which I think might have been how she cut that higher paw pad).
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Thank you for any help and advice!
 
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