One often-neglected aspect of pet care involves properly looking after the paws. This extends well beyond regular visits to the veterinarian for nail clipping, as the paws come into contact with all types of materials on walks. Debris may have toxicity or cause allergic reactions.
A first step in caring for the paws involves regular inspections and wipe downs, which help ensure that the paw has no clinging debris and that abrasions or sores requiring further attention are quickly identified. A mixture of a little apple cider vinegar in warm water works wells in cleaning the paws. Dog wipes are also acceptable, although the owner should confirm that the chemicals used are safe for the canine. In cases where cracked paws develop, consider specialized balms containing ingredients such as shea butter and beeswax.
One major owner decision involves whether to trim paw hair. Doing so can reduce the amount of dirt tracked into the home and allow more efficient searches for tics and fleas. On the other hand, paw hair provides natural protection against elements that work against paw health.