VCA El Rancho Animal Hospital

Nail and paw care for your animal companion

Published: Dec 28, 2012

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Most dogs love to go on walks, and they don't ever complain about going around "barefoot." But walking outside can pose certain threats to a dog's paws, so it's important that pet owners are constantly checking on their canine companion's feet to make sure everything is safe and sound. Here are some paw care tips for dog lovers:

Nail care
Dogs have nails that must be cared for. Many pet owners cut their dog's nails themselves, while others allow a professional to do it during dog grooming appointments. Either way, it's important that you know how and when your dog's nails need to be clipped, because nails that are too long could split, which is likely to cause pain in dogs.

Urban dog owners may not have to worry about cutting their dog's nails, as taking strolls on sidewalks and pavement can often keep them at an appropriate length. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that a dog's nails should be trimmed once they touch the ground while the dog is standing. If you choose to do the trimming on your own, you have a choice of two styles of clippers - scissor or guillotine. Either works well, but you should visit one of your local vet clinics and ask a professional to demonstrate the best way to clip your dog's nails.

Puppy paws
Raising puppies comes with extra responsibilities, so if you're an owner of a young dog, you'll need to pay serious attention to her paws. According to DoctorDog.com, canines who are new to walking, running and hiking in the great outdoors may need more time for their paws to adjust, because the pads of their feet may be more prone to cuts, chafing and other injuries.

If you are ever walking your dog and notice that she has sustained an injury on her foot, you must seek medical attention. A veterinarian can provide dog wound treatment, which should clear up the problem. Should the injury need time to heal, you may have to shorten your walks until your canine is in better shape.

You can proactively prevent foot wounds. If you live in an urban area, keep an eye out for any broken glass or other debris that may pose a threat to your pet's paws. Those who take walks in nature should stick to clear, well-maintained paths and use a leash to keep their pet from running off.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency during normal business hours, please call us immediately. If you have an emergency outside of our normal business hours, please contact a local emergency animal hospital.

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