No Foot, No Dog

The old adage, “No foot, no horse” still holds true today and certainly applies to the stockdog. Las Rocosa Rogue, a working cowdog ©Copyright 2013 Hartnagle Archive

The old adage, “No foot, no horse” still holds true today and certainly applies to the stockdog. Las Rocosa Rogue, a working Australian Shepherd ©Copyright 2013 Hartnagle Archive

The old adage, “No foot, no horse” still holds true today. Foot pads on the bottom of the paw is where the “rubber meets the road.” The pads are important for traction, shock absorption and protection from rough, hard ground, thorns, and ice. They are normally thick and resilient, but sandy and abrasive surfaces like crushed lava can wear them thin and rip the pads.

Proper foot care is necessary for soundness. Inspect your dog’s feet regularly. Things to look for are puncture wounds, cuts, swelling or redness between the toes (web injuries) and around the nail beds. Gently wash small cuts with antiseptic soap and pat dry. Surgical Super Glue® is good for closing small wounds. Deep cuts can injure ligaments and tendons may require veterinarian attention.

During the hot summer months blacktop and asphalt roads can burn and blister the pads. They can become cracked and dry. Pad toughening agents such as Pad Tough® or Pad Kote® can be applied to provide a protective covering and minimize wear and tear in rough terrain.

Foxtails, cactus thorns and sand burrs puncture your dog’s pads. Keep a pair of tweezers handy to take out embedded objects. If not removed they can easily become infected. Sharp rocks and gravel can also damage and injure and the feet.

Alfalfa and milo stubble can injure even the tops of your dog’s feet. Dog boots may be helpful to prevent damage. Booties can also keep ice and snow from balling up during winter months, but they decrease traction on slick surfaces which may cause the dog to slip and fall. Apply a wax based product, like Musher’s Secret®, between the pads. It also provides a good barrier against salt on some roadways.

Lastly, keep the toenails short to minimize the risk for injury. Long nails predispose the dog to torn nails, nail bed injuries, and broken toes.

Rogue and Tiggie 2

HOF Ch Las Rocosa Bengali Tigress and Las Rocosa Rogue moving Corriente steers. ©Copyright 2013 Hartnagle Archive

See also: Hot Weather Tips for the Stockdog: https://stockdogsavvy.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/hot-weather-tips-for-the-stockdog/

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Copyright © 2012 by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ty Taylor.

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