From the Ground Up
Alright, folks. The last post was a nice, fluffy, piece about our dogs and cats, but it's time to get back to it. Our business is bringing to light the important issues and business is good.
So what's the deal with dog pads? They're super weird and I'll politely disagree with anyone who says different. Sometimes soft, sometimes scratchy, (really, super scratchy, especially in the middle of the night, Becker), sometimes smelly, and always in weird segments like a little flesh tangerine.
Pads themselves are pretty versatile. You've got lily pads, bachelor pads, Pad Thai, launch pads, Paddington Bear, Heli-pads, pad locks, Anakin's late wife Padme, football pads, hockey pads, padded rooms, but the only ones that we're concerning ourselves with today are those squishy marshmallows on the bottom of your dogs paw.
Dog pads are made up of both collagen and adipose tissue covered in regular old epidermis, and serve the obvious purpose of separating the dog from the ground and absorbing the shock from walking, running, snuffling, having the zoomies, etc. They reduce wear and tear on your dog's joints for three years or three thousand miles, whichever comes first. It is only advisable to change your dogs pads yourself if you have the proper certifications, otherwise take them to your local pup-chanic. Oh, and that weird dongle one that's like a quarter way up the leg? That's called the carpal pad and it helps with stopping and going down slopes; think of it kind of like the brake on the back of roller skates. Side note--don't ever use the brakes on the front of quad skates, you'll break an ankle then promptly die.
The reason some pads have that really specific smell that some refer to as "Frito-paw" is both from the presence of bacteria that gets transferred to the pads from the soil or water that they walk through, as well as the natural scent secretions from the pads themselves. If you don't know what smell I'm talking about, grab the nearest paw and give it a hearty sniff. Some say it's yeasty, or, (like I said above), it smells like corn chips, but as long as it doesn't smell really funky everything is as it should be. It's a natural odor and there's not too much to be done about it. This is also why male dogs will often kick and scrape their paws on the grass after going to the bathroom, because they're self-important goons that think the whole world should smell like their feet.
If you've ever wondered why your pup has sandpaper on the bottom of her feet, or you've had to dodge an inbound hug for fear of losing a few layers of skin, we have the answer as to why this inconvenience exists. It's not very exciting. The simple truth is that pads are made up of skin, and skin reacts to the environment around it. Pad skin is made to be tough and thick to handle the stress and abrasion of walking, but it can get coarse and callous just as ours can.
While rough pads are totally normal, if there is excessive dryness or cracks in the skin, it may be time to intervene. The first steps in pad care are being aware of what your pup is walking around in and wiping down the feet and pads after walks or other trips out into the world. It's not always necessary, but a quick wipe every once in a while can do wonders in terms of preventative care.
If you notice an unusual amount of dryness in your dogs humor or pads, a great over the counter remedy is plain old coconut oil. Massage a bit onto their pads, try not to let them lick it off for a minute or two, then give Fluffy's paw a swirl in your Pina Colada for that smooth island flavor.
If things get super serious and you see cracks and gouges in the skin, then we happen to sell Pawstik, a topical application that's kind of like chap stick, made with aloe vera, a combo of different moisturizing oils, and a few essential oils. There are a few similar products out there, but this one is our favorite. Obviously don't hesitate to call your vet if the situation is serious.
There you have it, Posh Pooch keeping it real and tackling the serious issues. You're welcome for haphazardly answering all those burning questions you had about dog feet. Until next time, my pretties.