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Caissie Canine Instruction: Dog Paw Facts


We begin this week’s “RUFF TAILS” featuring a beautiful Black Labrador Retriever named Fleet.


My mom and dad said I have two speeds of moving, full speed and supersonic. I try to coax my brothers, Grayson (Retriever) and Jackson (Boxer), to wrestle, run, and roll in the mud.



Mom says I am sweet and smart. I just finished competing in conformation for my Canadian Title. I have earned 9 out of 10 points. 1 point to go. Almost “Canadian Champion!!!!” My registered name is “Devonsleigh’s Fast Breaking News” I can DO IT!!!!!



Welcome to Doggie Dialogue:


Dog paws are cute, leathery, and smell like corn chips. HEE! HEE! However, dog’s paws protect them from overheating and picking up bacteria. Dogs with larger paws are generally from colder climates.

Their footprint acts like a “snowshoe” when travelling over the snow. St. Bernard’s, Labrador Retrievers, and Newfoundlands have these larger paws.


Certain breeds have webbed feet.


Dogs with these paws are excellent swimmers. Portuguese Water dogs, Spaniels, Shorthair Pointers, and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, speed through the water with ease, because of their “webbed” feet.



There are 5 distinct parts of a dog’s paw.


#1. Are the claws (referred to as “nails”) They are shaped like a beak and are comprised of thick keratin, much like our human hair and nails. Claws are used for grasping, digging, and traction.


#2. There are 4 digital pads. These pads are the leathery pads directly under the dog’s toes. They leave those iconic “pawprints”. Dogs have 4 pads per limb, but other animals, including cats have 5 or more.

These pads can be black, pink, or white in colour. These pads are made of epidermis, like the soles of our feet. They contain fatty tissue which does not freeze, helping your dog to withstand the cold, ice, and snow.


#3. The metacarpal pad is the heart-shaped pad just below and at the center of the digital pads. These pads are like wearing a great pair of running shoes, taking stress off the load-bearing limbs. On the front paws your vet will refer to these pads as metacarpal however, the rear paws (back legs) are called metatarsal pads.


#4. The carpal pad stands alone and are higher up the leg. (Looks like a gumdrop) This pad allows for better traction when stopping abruptly or sliding down a hill.


#5. Lastly the dewclaws, the solitary nail that is higher on the leg between the metacarpal pads and carpal pad. Dewclaws in some breeds, such as Great Pyrenes may have double dewclaws. (2 claws growing from 1 spot on the rear legs).


Declaws do not look like any of your dog’s other nails. They often grow in a circular manner, therefore need trimming, so they do not grow into your dog’s skin.

Most dogs cannot wear down this nail on their own, so extreme care is needed to cut it to a safe length. It is difficult to cut this nail without causing blood loss from a nicked “quick”. (The blood vessels and nerves that supply the claw) We have done it!!! UGH!!!! We personally recommend a professional groomer for nail care.

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