Longshanks, my imaginary everydog, had been napping around the house all week and really needed to get some fresh air. While he may have been thinking about a backyard potty break, I was thinking a grand hike at the lake! When we finished exploring, Longshanks was tired and ready for some rest, but he was limping a bit on his way back to the car. Did he sprain something? Roll or strain something? Step on a thorn? No, the poor boy’s pads were torn. Luckily, there’s something we can do about it.
Torn pads is actually a very common occurrence for dogs, especially for dogs who aren’t used to a daily or weekly routine of activity such as walks, daycare or socializing with other dogs.
Most of our regular boarding and daycare dogs have become very used to being outdoors, but for a new dog to the property, or the occasional four-legged visitor, their pads may not be broken in yet. The increased amount of running and activity, the outdoor terrain, and access to water pools (which may soften some pads), can all attribute to wearing down a dog’s pad. Our playgroups have plenty of grass but being a Ranch, some of our areas also have dirt, mulch or pebbles, like our transition areas. Not to worry though, this is something that DogBoy’s Dog Ranch keeps a very close eye on. Through regulation, prevention and swift topical treatment, we almost always prevent it entirely!
In case you didn't know, at DogBoy's, we provide daily “vet checks” that include looking over your pet’s feet and pads every night, as well as at drop off, and we always appreciate any information you can volunteer to our office or kennel staff about their condition if they are torn or cracking. Because we rotate your pets, our best friends, every day, we’re able to keep an eye on them and notice any early warning signs, such as limping, licking at their paws or acting differently than they would on a normal day. It is always worth checking on a dog favoring one side of their body in group or an active dog not moving as much as they normally would.
Limping is the most common sign as the dog will not want to put weight on the pad it has recently torn. The pad is made of layers of skin and when the outer skin layer tears, it will often look like it has torn away at a corner like the corner of a page, or it has worn to the point that you can see the second layer of skin because the first layer has rolled back exposing a circular tear spot. Because we check the dogs regularly, if we see tearing, it is usually in the early phase and able to be treated several easy ways.
The best treatment is often rest. We customize every dog’s day at the Ranch to make sure they’re having the best stay possible, and sometimes that means taking a break. Rest does not mean your dog will be alone all day or up all day. It simply means we’ll modify their rest time, activity and groups to ensure they are back to their best selves as quickly as possible! We use a preventative quick dry spray called Pad Tough when we see the initial signs of wear on a dog’s pad. It contains comfrey extract and aloe vera. If the pad moves from worn to torn we use a healing product called Protecta Pad. It speeds up the recovery process when gently applied to the pad after it is clean of debris. It is a soothing cream containing Natural collagen protein and Lanolin.
Longshanks was a little antsy being restricted to the house, backyard and the occasional walk to the mailbox for a few days, but he loved being able to stand with confidence again more and more each day. I also knew I’d be better prepared next time. I’d like to think that big grin he shot me from my office desk was a giant thank you, but on second look, he had my mouse dangling from his mouth… but that’s another story.
Pad Tough and Protecta-Pad are sold at DogBoy’s Dog Ranch as well as other stores in the area. Please contact us with questions about your Boarding, Daycare, Dog Park or Training questions related to this article. If you have questions about sore pads and feet, or other concerns about boarding, click below to contact a Reservations Expert. That's what we're here for!
Blog post by Thomas Korpi, DogBoy's Dog Wrangler