Tag: dogs

Help or Hype? Does Your Dog Need Paw Balm?

Does your dog need paw balm?

I see a lot of people pushing paw balm (butter) in all seasons.  My own philosophy of dog skin care is that less is more.  That is, I need to know that a product is truly beneficial before I use it.  Does your dog need paw balm?  Does paw balm help or is it so much hype?

Paw protection in the winter

The most convincing use of paw balm is as a protectant for your dog’s paws in the winter during freezing weather.  In this case, using a wax of some type in the formulation truly seems to provide protection against paw cracking.  The wax also forms a barrier that minimizes contact with de-icers.  These salts can injure your dog’s paw pads.  Anecdotally, mushers and those with working dogs use paw protectants religiously during the winter.

Paw protection in the summer

There is little evidence that paw balm provides useful protection to your dog’s feet during hot summer months.  Keeping your dog off the concrete and asphalt during the hottest parts of the day is a much more effective way to prevent pad burns.  And for those time when you simply must get out during very hot weather, boots may be a better option.

Function over form

Using paw butter to soften your dog’s paw pads may be counterproductive, winter or summer.  Your dog’s pads need to be tough enough to withstand normal wear and tear. That means walking on gravel and occasional sharp objects, as well as hot and cold surfaces.  And to stand up to all that, your dog’s pads need to be tougher than the bottoms of your own feet. It is natural for your dog’s paw pads to feel a little rough.

Think about the last time you went swimming and had to walk across gravel.  Unless you go barefoot frequently, it probably felt excruciating.  People generally work hard to keep the protective callouses off the bottom of their feet.  We get away with this because we wear shoes that protect our feet.  Dogs do not wear shoes consistently (and they shouldn’t except when weather conditions are extreme).

If your dog develops deeper cracks, it may be appropriate to use a healing lotion and a protectant to prevent further damage.  If your dog develops cracked pads, you should also consider making a visit to your veterinarian.  Changes in your dog’s skin may indicate underlying health problems.  Unless your dog has unhealthy cracking in the pads, do not apply moisturizing lotions.  Avoid any lotion that leads to skin softening.  It is a mistake to apply human cosmetic standards to dogs.

A word about safety

Did you know that pet cosmetic products are not regulated by the FDA?  These types of products are considered to be grooming aids.  As such, unless they claim to treat a disease or condition, they are not subject to rigorous testing for either efficacy or safety.  Most companies that make and sell these products are ethical and believe in their products.  But belief is not evidence.  Until a controlled study is published demonstrating that routine use of paw moisturizers leads to better paw health, I will remain skeptical about the hype.

 

Networking with Dogs at the Bar K

Join us for another evening of canines and drinks! These evenings have been a hit so far in our Networking with Dogs! KC community.

If you are not a member of Bar K Dog Bar, there is an entry fee of $10 for your first dog, and $5 per additional dog. All dogs must be vaccinated and non-aggressive.

Bar K Running Club April 26

From the Bar K:

Every Thursday evening, we host the Bar K Running Club! This is a group run for people and dogs of all ability levels. Running with your pup is a great way for both of you to get some exercise and increase the bond between you and your dog.

We will have a couple different route options laid out for you. We’ll have water at the finish for your pup . . . and of course a beverage waiting for you as well! If any of your pups aren’t runners, you’re welcome to leave them in our fully staffed dog park and they can play with us while you get in your workout!

Bark at the Park

The Kansas City Royals are excited to host Bark at the Park again in 2018! This year’s four events will be held on April 24, May 30, August 15 and September 12, 2018. Bark at the Park gives you the chance to sit beside your canine friend while taking in an evening of Royals baseball. Please note that you must pre-register to attend Bark at The Park or to bring your dog into the stadium. Registration for the April 24 and May 30 events is now open!

We will have vendors on the concourse by the Hall of Fame but will NOT have a pre-game parade due to the weekday game date and timing of the event.

Benefits the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City (HSGKC)

Bar K Running Club April 19

From the Bar K:

Every Thursday evening, we host the Bar K Running Club! This is a group run for people and dogs of all ability levels. Running with your pup is a great way for both of you to get some exercise and increase the bond between you and your dog.

We will have a couple different route options laid out for you. We’ll have water at the finish for your pup . . . and of course a beverage waiting for you as well! If any of your pups aren’t runners, you’re welcome to leave them in our fully staffed dog park and they can play with us while you get in your workout!