You may not think much about your best friend's feet but their paws serve many purposes. In the winter it is especially important to check them since ice can often make them bleed and can cause infection. Those pads on their feet insulate their paws against cold and hot elements, help them provide traction on slippery ground and of course, hold onto their beloved bone or rawhide.
Need A Band Aid
If you notice a cut on your dog's paw and it is smaller than half an inch you can usually take care of it on your own but if it is larger than half an inch, has excessive bleeding or you can see something stuck in it you need to go to see your veterinarian.
If you just recently started hiking or jogging with your dog then his or her paws need time to adjust to the activity just like your body does. There is a good chance they can get very dry and cracked during this transition. you should rub a cream on them to soothe them if they will let you! A good one is Protecta Dog Paw Pad and Elbow Creme or Petco Tender Paw for Dogs.
Old Man Winter
When your furry friend comes in from the cold, be sure to wipe their paws off of snow, salt ot antifreeze. Licking their paws could ultimately ingest poison. Never pull encrusted ice or packed snow off of your pet's paws. Instead try to get them warm to promote melting where you can gently wipe them dry.
Summer Is On The Way
Try when possible to avoid walking your dog where insecticide or their poisons may have been sprayed. Most lawn companies will put little signs sticking out of the grass. Those signs are there for a reason! Be sure to never have your dog stand on asphalt for a long period of time. It warms their body temperature and their paw pads can burn.
Your dog's paw are an important part of their body so check them often and keep them healthy.