Skip to main content

How to Keep Your Dog's Feet Healthy

How to Keep Your Dog's Feet Healthy

A hunting dog may be in tremendous physical condition, but if his feet are sore, raw or bleeding, he won't be hunting anything. So it pays to pay attention to your dog's paws.

Some dogs have tough feet and some don't. You'll have a pretty good idea which type of dog you own after a season or two, but even if he has tough feet, you should be prepared to protect them if the conditions warrant.

The terrain the dog is running on makes all the difference in the world. Retrievers, for example, rarely develop foot soreness, because their job description involves swimming, not running (so long as you're not a full-time field waterfowler).

paws_2

Flushing and pointing breeds operate in a different world. They can and often do run for hours, which can put them at risk for sore feet.


As a general rule, the drier and rockier it is, the more likely your dog is to tear up his pads. That means most of the public land in the western half of the U.S. is suspect.


Can you toughen up a dog's pads before hunting season? Sure. Daily runs on almost any kind of ground will help, as will keeping your dog (at least some of the time) on a concrete kennel run.

There are also commercial pad tougheners that work reasonably well if you follow the instructions and treat your dog's feet at least a couple weeks before a trip.

But the most reliable protection is to buy dog boots.

paws_1


There are many different varieties, all of which have their boosters. One of the simplest and cheapest is a motorcycle or mountain bike inner tube, cut to fit. Whatever you choose, buy an extra set, because sooner or later your dog will lose a boot and you'll need a spare.

Always tape the boots on. No matter what kind of fastener the boots come with, they'll stay on better and longer if you tape them snugly — not tightly — around the dog's leg. Duct tape works fine.

How can you tell if your dog's feet are sore?


He'll tip-toe around at the end of the hunt. Even if his pads have not yet torn, that's a sure sign that they will if you continue to hunt him. Put on his boots. It will make him vastly more comfortable and that means more hunting for you.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 2

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 2

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 2

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 10

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 10

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 10

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Whether you're building or buying a new dog kennel, following these simple guidelines will ensure a safe and comfy home for your favorite hunting buddy.How To Build the Perfect Dog Kennel How-To

How To Build the Perfect Dog Kennel

Jerry Thoms

Whether you're building or buying a new dog kennel, following these simple guidelines will...

Deep frying is a great way to maintain moisture in game birds that tend to dry.Southern Fried Grouse & Quail Recipe Recipes

Southern Fried Grouse & Quail Recipe

Brad Fenson

Deep frying is a great way to maintain moisture in game birds that tend to dry.

The newest member of Fabarm's XLR5 family is a standout in the gas-gun market.Shotgun Report: Fabarm XLR5 Composite Hunter Shotguns & Ammo

Shotgun Report: Fabarm XLR5 Composite Hunter

Brad Fitzpatrick - August 14, 2020

The newest member of Fabarm's XLR5 family is a standout in the gas-gun market.

A step-by-step analysis on what to expect from your dogYour Pup's First Year Puppies

Your Pup's First Year

Bob West - September 23, 2010

A step-by-step analysis on what to expect from your dog

See More Trending Articles

More Health & Nutrition

Knowing how to react in the field can mean the difference between life or death.First Aid for the Field Dog Health & Nutrition

First Aid for the Field Dog

Jeff Schuett, DVM, ABVP

Knowing how to react in the field can mean the difference between life or death.

The back half of the season requires special safety considerations.How to Keep Your Gun Dog Safe in Cold Weather Health & Nutrition

How to Keep Your Gun Dog Safe in Cold Weather

Tom Dokken

The back half of the season requires special safety considerations.

Why your four-legged youngster need a specific formula Puppy Food for Hunting Breeds Health & Nutrition

Puppy Food for Hunting Breeds

Tony J. Peterson

Why your four-legged youngster need a specific formula

Four different formulas can feed your pup throughout every life stage.Kinetic: A New Super Food for Gun Dogs Health & Nutrition

Kinetic: A New Super Food for Gun Dogs

Jerry Thoms - August 22, 2019

Four different formulas can feed your pup throughout every life stage.

See More Health & Nutrition

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Gun Dog subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now