Because your dog's footpads probably feel rough and tough to the touch, you might be under the assumption that they provide your pet with indestructible protection. And while it's definitely true that footpads were designed to navigate a variety of terrains and provide serous padding for relatively fragile bones in the feet, like everything else, they'll work better when they're properly cared for. That's why you should outfit your pup with sturdy booties when going outdoors during seasonal extremes.
The Benefits of Booties in Winter
Because domestic dogs descended from wolves, and wolves were able to move easily through wilderness areas covered with ice and snow, many people believe that their furry friends can also navigate well in snow and ice. However, while large, young, and healthy dogs enjoy a good frolic in the snow with bare feet, and this is particularly true of certain types of dogs that were bred for cold-weather conditions, such as Huskies and Saint Bernards, consider buying your pooch a pair of booties if it spends time outdoors. Many small breeds, such as Chihuahuas, were bred in warm parts of the world and may not be able to handle snow and ice—and all toy breeds were primarily bred to be indoor dogs. Therefore, their footpads aren't nearly as tough as those of their larger, more rugged counterparts.
Another thing to consider when walking with your dog in winter weather is that road crews often use rock salt and other deicing materials as well as sand on the roads to create safer driving conditions for drivers and pedestrians. If your daily walking routine includes the sides of local streets, bear in mind that all of these can work their way into the cracks and crevices of a dog's footpad. Rock salt and chemical deicers have particular potential to cause damage to even the strongest canine footpads, and grains of road-grade sand have sharp edges.
The Benefits of Booties in Summer
Few things feel better on bare paws and feet than running or walking on velvety green grass. However, other surfaces aren't so kind, and care should be taken to ensure that your dog's feet don't bear the brunt of summer heat. For instance, pavement holds heat, so if you routinely walk your dog on the sidewalk, check to see whether the pavement is hot first. A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn't walk barefoot on a surface yourself, you shouldn't expect it from your dog. Also, even though running on the beach on wet sand is one of the quintessential joys of summer, bear in mind that dry sand becomes very hot, and the individual grains can easily get caught in your dog's feet.
Visit your veterinarian for more information. If you don't currently have a regular veterinarian, you can find one by visiting sites like http://www.emergencypetclinics.com.