By Dr. Sherry Weaver
I recently saw an episode that said dogs need about a 45 minute walk per day. Well, I started walking my miniature dachshund this week, but we have only walked about 20 minutes each day so far. I noticed today after our walk that she was licking her paws a lot. I was concerned. I just looked at them again, and she now has a couple blister-looking sores on her pads. What should I do to help her with the pain and to make sure her paws heal properly?
Boiling Springs, SC
We see this problem fairly often during the hot summers in Atlanta. Dogs that haven't been acclimated to hot pavement get blisters on their pads just like a human would walking without shoes. Dogs need to build up calluses just like people do. In the long run, taking it easy and slowly increasing the amount of time your dog walks on pavement will allow those calluses to form. Once the blisters heal, you can still take the longer walks but on softer surfaces, such as grass, wooded ground, and underbrush, or with "booties" to protect the feet, only allowing cement walking for increasing time to grow the calluses.
For now, just keep the blisters clean with water. Do not use peroxide; it will slow the healing. Apply Neosporin twice a day until the sores heal. If you need a pain medication, you should call your vet to see if they will just send home a non-steroidal pain medication as the sores heal. Only very severe blisters require antibiotics, but if you are unsure, you should consult your vet.