Can Healthy Dog Paws Improve Your Bottom Line?

Do you get frustrated with your dog tracking everything in the house? Dog paws can collect a lot of debris. I know my dog, Henry will stop mid-leap and wait for me to come pluck a sticker out of his paw. Those tumbleweed stickers hurt! How often do you check your dog’s paws? Your dog’s paws can tell you a lot. Specifically, they are an indication of your dog’s health. Today, let’s dig in and discover how healthy dog paws improve your bottom line.

a cute pup shows off what it looks like to have healthy dog paws
Budget tip:

The great news is that it doesn’t take much time or money to care for your dog’s paw pads. Yet the payback can be huge in healthy dog paws. Specifically, you want to avoid serious injuries and diseases, which you can often see first with a paw and paw pad inspection. As with anything, early detection is vital before the whole house (or in this case dog) comes crumbling down. That’s a great use of time and a huge WIN-WIN for you and your dog!

Why is it important to keep my dog’s paws well-maintained?

Your dog’s paws have first contact with the world. As such, if there’s something harmful, your dog’s paws will be first exposed.

For comparison, think if you were walking around everywhere in all weather and in all conditions without shoes. I’d guess your feet would hurt. Mine hurt just thinking about it. 

Thus, if you step on something hot or cold your feet feel it. Or if you step on sharp objects like broken glass or stickers your feet feel it. Similarly, if you step on an angry red ant or bug and get bit on the bottom of your foot, you certainly feel it. 

As a result, feet or if you’re a dog, paws, and pads can take a toll. 

How often should I inspect my dog’s paws?

I recommended a thorough inspection daily to ensure healthy paws. Then another good inspection of paws and pads after a hike or an adventure outside. 

For example, with Henry’s paw care routine, I inspect his paws each morning generally while he’s still in bed. Then while he’s out running on the property he may find a sticker or two. Although I try to steer him to the clear areas, he loves the areas where the critters live. However, when he hits a sticker (mostly tumbleweed stickers) he’ll stop and hold up his paw. Then I race to his rescue. 

Additionally, I check his paws when he comes back inside. You’d be shocked at the number of times I’ll find sap in his paws. Admittedly I’ve yet to discover the source of the sap. 

Also, I’ll find the tiniest little pebbles between his toes. Maybe he thinks if he holds them long enough they’ll become diamonds? Honestly, the verdict is out on that one. 

Do you know how to remove sap from your dog’s fur? In this article, I share all my secrets.

How do I keep my dog’s paws healthy?

As I mentioned, I recommend doing a full paw inspection daily. Consequently, as a rule, I use my eyes, hands, and nose for inspection. Let me explain. 

  • Look at all sides of the paws
  • Feel all sides of the paws
  • Spread the toes and look and feel as well
  • Move to the toenails and look and feel them

In particular, here’s what you’re looking and feeling for:

  • Redness 
  • Bleeding
  • Stickers or foxtails
  • Sap
  • Dry, cracked pads 
  • Parasites, ticks, or ants
  • Growths or lumps
  • Sensitive areas
  • Mats
  • Cuts or abrasion
  • Wet areas from excessive licking (indication of an issue or even dry paws)
  • Burns or blisters
  • Torn pads
  • Long nails
  • Ingrown nails
  • Torn toenails
  • A bad smell
Henry knows he has healthy dog paws
A sleepy Henry shows off his paws.

My dog has a mat between his toes. What can I do?

First, never use scissors. They could easily slip and hurt your pup’s paws.

Second, I always like a simple method for paw care. There are a few. But the one I rely on a lot is simple olive oil. I massage a bit of the oil into the mat and then comb or brush the mat out. 

Why do my dog’s feet smell like Frittos?

A foul smell coming from your dog’s paw generally indicates an infection. You’ll want to consult with your vet. 

Are you not sure your vet is a good fit? In this article, I share the 15 most common signs that you need a new vet.

Why are my dog’s pads furry?

This could be a sign of hyperkeratosis, which can indicate an underlying health issue or a genetic predisposition for this disease. Either way, this is most likely very uncomfortable or even painful for your dog. Thus, you’ll want to contact your vet for a proper diagnosis and advice. 

Are you looking for a vet? In this article, I share how to find a great vet like I have for Henry. 

How do I trim my dog’s nails?

This doesn’t need to be as intimidating as it seems. I was super nervous about trimming Henry’s nails. However, I found a nail grinder that works very well and is easy too. This is the nail grinder I use for Henry. It makes caring for dogs’ nails super easy! 

Nonetheless, if you or your dog are just too anxious to trim his or her nails, then contact your dog groomer. For example, in my area dog groomers will welcome nail trims as “walk-ins” without appointments. 

Want more details about how to use a nail grinder like I use for Henry? In this article, I walk you through what I do to grind Henry’s nails. 

Should I trim the fur between my dog’s toes?

Some dogs’ toe fur never really grows. Other dogs, like Henry, is more like a Chia Pet. Thus, I keep Henry’s toe fur and paw fur trimmed. Although, I use a razor so I don’t take a chance of slipping with the scissors. 

Although, determining whether you trim your dog’s toe fur or not will depend on your dog and dog breed. Some dog breeds won’t need it and some dog breeds need that fur for protection. If you’re not sure, just ask your vet. 

Should my dog wear dog booties? 

Some dogs simply won’t wear booties or shoes regardless of how much your try. Honestly, it doesn’t even seem to matter what booties you try. They can kick them off in a few seconds. If your dog falls in this category then always avoid hot cement, asphalt, and other surfaces. If you’re not sure if the surface is hot, then lay the back of your palm on it. As a general rule, if you can’t leave your hand on the surface for 7 seconds it’s too hot.

However, if your dog will wear booties, then it’s a great idea! There are many dog booties to select from on the market. You may want to look at a local pet store to make sure your dog will be able to wear them.

Additionally, watch out for salted sidewalks in the winter. 

What about a paw salve for my dog?

I think a good paw salve or paw balm is great! Dog paws can go through the ringer just like our skin with the change in seasons. Personally, I’ve given a DIY paw balm several times as Christmas gifts to friends. I like this one. And everyone loves an easy dog paw care kit in a jar!

For clarity on gift-giving, I put the paw balm in a nice short (open-mouth) jar with a label and a pretty bow. It’s always a big hit. Plus, it’s nice on dog parents’ hands too!

Can maintaining my dog’s paw health really reduce my expenses?

Yes! Although maintaining your dog’s paw health may not avoid all paw issues, it will alert you when your dog needs assistance. In other words, you’ll get a warning sign when a dog’s paw health isn’t up to par. Without good paw care you will want to consider the following:

Infection $118-189
Ingestion of foxtail or stickers$100-5000+
Sap ingestion$200-2000
Parasite, tick, or ant bites$100-20,000
Growth or lump$100-4,000+
Sensitive area (arthritis)$200-400/month
Torn pad$100-2500
Ingrown or torn nail$200-300

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Summary of healthy dog paws

It may seem cumbersome to keep your dog’s paws healthy. However, it only takes a few seconds. Or if you’re trimming your dog’s nails, a few minutes. But those minutes are gold! They can ensure healthy paws for your dog. Or if you see something suspicious you can nip it in the bud (or I suppose that’s the paw) before it becomes an issue. Clearly, that’s a no-brainer task.

While I inspect Henry’s paws and pads many times a day, it comes with some side benefits. Of course, there are cost savings. But there’s also the entertainment factor. Heck, I still giggle at how Henry will freeze and lift his paw to wait for me to de-sticker him. It truly is the little things in life!

a cute husky puppy shows off his healthy dog paws

How do you care for your dog’s paws? Did you know you can save on your bottom line by caring for your dog’s paws? 

About Terri Rodefer

Terri Rodefer is the founder of Tail Wag Wisdom, a blog focused on affordable pet care. She likes to say helping pet parents afford and love their animals even more, makes her tail wag. As a lifelong lover of all animals with a background in economics, biology, and marketing, allows Terri to bring a unique spin to pet care. 

5 thoughts on “Can Healthy Dog Paws Improve Your Bottom Line?”

  1. Great post and we are so busy looking after our dogs we never think of their paws as such so it is good to bring this to our attention. I get Laylas nails trimmed by her vet or groomer so they are always in good shape especially since she is not walking as much as she used to, I brush out all matts to keep her as matt free as possible also

  2. Excellent post! First, I have to chuckle at your reference of Henry’s paw fur looking like a Chia Pet! Having Siberian Huskies, and one of them being a wooly, we had lots of furry paw pads, so I totally get that reference! (I had a Chia Pet, too, when I was little!)

    I personally did not attempt to trim their paw pad fur or the nails…I left that up the professional groomer! But you are so right, doing paw checks often is very important. Thankfully, from conducting them, I discovered right away when one of dogs had a ripped off dew claw! Off to the vet we went! But thanks to always checking, it did not get infected as it was caught right away. Another time, I discovered a growth, that thankfully was benign. And, paw checks so important when they are out in the snow as the beads of ice could adhere to the fur, so I did use paw balm on them all the time.

    I love that recipe you posted of a homemade version. That will come in handy for so many dogs!

    It’s always amazing to me how much people can save just by doing steady care. I think so many times people may not think about the issues that could make vet care expensive early on when just giving proper care could help not only the dog, of course, but one’s wallet.

    As always, such great info! Sharing for sure!

    • Oh, I have lots of terms and nicknames, Dorothy. I bet I could make you chuckle a lot. Henry is my real-life chia pet. I never knew a dog’s fur could grow so fast. I should really take a time-lapse video or photo to provide it. I think he must have Miracle Grow in his DNA somewhere (except it didn’t work on his size, which is fine with me).

      I honestly, don’t know if I would attempt to groom or trim Henry’s paws if he were larger or more fussy. It really depends on the dog and on your body’s abilities. Whenever in doubt always turn to the professionals like you do.

      That paw balm recipe is great! I’ve even used it on my cracked hands.

      You know the savings part is one of my favorite parts of each article. It helps to bring home the point of doing the task. Well, I’m also a huge numbers nerd, so I just love numbers.

      Thank you so much for all your kind words and sharing. I really appreciate your continued support!

  3. Thanks for sharing these insights! It makes a lot of sense to me, especially in hot summer months with harmful heat potentially causing injury to sensitive paws. The amount on can save in money is so much more than I realized. I used to giggle with delight when passing dog owners on the street in the rain and seeing their dog in a raincoat and booties. Now I realize, it’s more than just ” cute and stylish” but actually practical!

    • Yes! You’re absolutely right. Those “cute and stylish” shoes and booties do serve a purpose. It’s also rather amazing how much money you can save with simple tasks like caring for your dog or pets’ paws. I really appreciate your continued support and encouragement, Kamira! I means a lot to me.


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