Before we got a dog, I’ve read about how dog owners love to smell their dog’s paws. I thought it sounded absolutely icky. After all, dogs walk on the floor with those paws, picking up god-knows-what. Isn’t that the equivalent of smelling feet? And the description of how those paws smell like popcorn or corn chips sounds vaguely borderline insane.
But when I got QQ, I realized that it’s actually true! QQ’s paws smell delicious. I sometimes feel tempted to munch on them – I never do of course, mostly because he’ll give me an injured why-are-you-doing-this-to-me look (don’t ask me how I know that). I did further research and apparently dogs sweat through their paws, and that yummy smell the paws emit comes from the sweat glands within the paws. Knowing this doesn’t make it smell any less yummier though.
Because we play and smell QQ’s paws so much, we do try to keep them as clean as possible. In the beginning, we thought of making QQ wear shoes whenever we go out. We did do it for a few times. The first couple of times are hilarious. At first, we had the hardest time making QQ keep his shoes on. He’ll keep struggling to kick or bite them off. And we had a hard time finding shoes that fit his tiny little feet. We ended up taking him to a local REI and trying on various sizes to find the right size. The sales assistant at REI also told us a trick – the moment you put the shoes on him, take him out and start walking really quickly so he’ll be too busy keeping up with us to worry about taking the shoes off. Once he figure out how to walk in the shoes, he won’t even notice they are there. And it worked! Pretty soon QQ was running in those shoes.
However, the husband didn’t really like the shoes, mostly because it’s a drag to put them on all four paws before going out, and he thinks it isn’t very dog-like. So now we mostly reserve the shoes for the times we go hiking where we worry there might me something sharp on the floor that might cut QQ’s paws. It’s also important to check the shoes regularly – once we found a piece of stone inside one of the shoes when we took them off. QQ is so active it’s likely that that piece of stone flew in the shoe when he’s zooming off and kicked up a flurry of loose gravel when he took off.
Now we keep a box of wet wipes at the door and when we come in, we wipe down both QQ and Chyler’s paws.
Because QQ is such an active dog, he’s always running or galloping somewhere, and it’s hard on his paws. I missed those puppy days when his paws were pristine. Now, the paw pads are rough and sometimes raggedy. I try to help by applying a salve.
The salve I used is the Natural Dog Snout Smoother. This company actually makes a paw smoother, but I bought the snout smoother because I originally wanted to buy a product that can be used as a dog sunscreen. The snout smoother has an estimated SPF 9. Neither QQ nor Chyler have pink snow-noses, but QQ and Chyler both love to sunbath. And we take them out frequently to the beach so they are frequently exposed to the sun and wind. I worried that they will get cracked nose. So I use the snout smoother on them occasionally. The ingredients of the snout smoother also works great for cracked paws. I love that it’s all natural – we humans can also use it, even as a lip balm!
I rub the salve into his paw pads and also use this opportunity to give the dogs a mini- paw massage, pressing in between the paw pads to rub the salve in. I usually also trim the fur in between the pads so that they don’t grow too long and affect their walking.
I think the salve really works. QQ’s paws can be very dry and after application, they usually look much more hydrated.
Chyler has delicate pink paws. She usually doesn’t run as much as QQ and doesn’t do frequent brakes and stops. Her paws are generally in way greater shape.
But I do still apply the salve on her paws occasionally, just so for preventive purposes.
Paws can be a neglected part of a doggie’s care, simply because we don’t see them. But it’s important to take care of them!