Depending on the time of the year, our dogs are more likely to suffer or develop certain ailments. For example, during the warmest months of the year, the chances of becoming infected with parasites are greater and, therefore, to be able to get diseases transmitted by them. On the other hand, the dog’s legs in winter are the part of the body, next to the joints, that suffer most.
Certain factors can cause the pads of the legs to suffer more damage than usual, such as age and race. Therefore, we will offer you some tips to take care of them, keep them healthy and avoid the most common problems of the dog’s legs during the winter, especially if this season is very cold in the region where you live.
The plantar pads of the dogs
The pads of dogs’ paws are, after all, skin. However, they have different characteristics and structures to those we can find elsewhere in the body.
This is because it is the area through which the dog has a very direct contact with the ground and, in addition, must place its weight on them. The main characteristics of the plantar pads of the dog are:
- Thick stratum corneum: it is the main barrier against the environment. It constitutes a layer of the skin formed by keratocytes, epithelial cells that synthesize keratin, a protein that serves as protection.
- Broad lucid layer: it is a layer of the skin that can only be seen where there is no hair, such as pads or dog truffle. It is behind the stratum corneum.
- They do not have hair follicles or sebaceous glands: hair follicles are the structures that create hair and, on the pads, are unnecessary. The sebaceous glands are usually linked to the hair follicle and secrete sebum to protect the skin and hair.
- Atrial glands: they are sweat glands, that is, they secrete sweat. In dogs, these glands are very numerous in the plantar pads and do not exist in any other area of the body.
- They have a lot of fat: despite not having fur, the accumulation of fat in the pads prevents heat loss.
Tips to take care of dog’s paws in winter
Although most dogs are prepared for the cold thanks to the inheritance of their common ancestor, the wolf, many breeds are not. Due to multiple crossings and the creation of races by human selection, some have lost certain characteristics that protected them from the environment, either because in the circumstances of the moment they were not necessary or because the weather did not require it.
For these reasons, we must now be more aware of the dog’s paws in winter, since, unless we are tutors of an alaskan malamute, a husky or a Tibetan mastiff, which are races accustomed to the cold, our dogs can suffer damage .
Avoid walking on stone floors when it freezes
If it is too early and the sun has not yet risen, it is very likely that the ground is frozen. This surface, being stone, can cause abrasion damage to the dog’s pads. During this time he tries to walk through dirt places, which are not so harmful.
If you have a puppy, watch the dog’s paws even more in winter
Very young specimens, when they have not yet gone out enough, have the little keratinized pads. For this reason, wounds will be made much faster, since they will not be protected.
If you go to the snow, wear protectors
In the market you can find both socks to protect the legs when you go to the snow and protective creams. These creams adhere to the skin creating a protective film. They are not infinite, so you must apply it every day.
Keep the pads hydrated
Daily, together with the routine of foot care, it is advisable to use moisturizers for dogs. The cold dries the skin a lot, which will cause the appearance of very painful cracks. If any type of lesion appears on the dog’s legs, visit the veterinarian.
Dog paw infections can be derived from other primary diseases or be a pathology in itself. Read more “