As a dog owner, you know that your dog needs his exercise, rain or shine. He also needs to do his business, rain or shine. If it’s rainy, it is inevitable that your dog, especially his feet, is going to get wet and probably muddy, too. This is not just an inconvenience for you and your floors, but it can be an issue for your dog’s sensitive paws.
Since your dog’s paws are always exposed to the ground, whether it is wet or dry, they can be susceptible to infections. When a dog cavorts happily in the dirt, mud or rain, they pick up bacteria that can lead to disease. Plus, mud is not only messy but slippery and a muddy paw has no grip. No grip means that your dog can go “slip sliding away”.
With these things in mind, here are a couple of sound tips to take care of your dog’s paws on rainy day outdoor trips.
Keep an old towel on the porch or inside the entry way on rainy days. When your dog is ready to come in with those wet or muddy paws, make him sit first and wipe down each paw as best you can. (This is also an ideal way to practice that ever so elusive “sit/stay” command!)
For particularly dirty paws, you can follow up with a second, more thorough cleaning using pre-moistened wipes. Just make sure they are alcohol and chemical-free. Baby wipes work great and you can even find this a pre-moistened wipe product made especially for dogs at your favorite pet store chain.
Keep Them Tidy
Another way to keep your dog’s paws ready for wet, muddy weather is to keep the hair trimmed that grows between the pads of their paws. That fur soaks up excess water and mud, making for an extra messy and germ-ridden paw. Furry dogs like Golden Retrievers, a Shih Tzu or a Poodle quickly grow a lot a hair in that area.
Cover ‘Em Up
If you have one of those dogs who either don’t like their paws handled or thinks it’s the most fun game in the world to tease you by running from the towel as soon as you get it close, there is another option. Many people have found dog booties or rain boots to be the perfect solution. The right pair fits nice and snugly and are water proof so after a romp in the rain, their paws are still nice and dry. They also have a non-slip tread for better traction in the mud.
Your first thought may be that your dog would look silly in boots. After all, you only see little lap dogs dressed up in in clothing and shoes, right? You’ll put that thought aside as soon as you find out how practical they are!
Practice Makes Perfect
Next, you might wonder how you are going to get those boots on to your dog and make him keep them on, especially if he’s one of those that doesn’t like his feet touched. If this is the case, you first need to work with him so he gets used to having his paws handled. Then you can slowly start to introduce him to the boots, one paw at a time. Treats work wonders after you get the boots on him to give him the idea that good things happen when he lets you put the boots on. First treats and then the walk in the rain!
Rainy weather is not an excuse keep your dog trapped inside the house. But if you are prepared for the rain and educated in the things you can do for your dog’s protection and safety, then you can be confident in saying, “a little rain never hurt anyone.”