Basic care, Health

How To Protect Weimaraner’s Paws


I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my full affiliate disclosure here.

Weimaraners are very energetic working breed but your dog doesn’t have to be a hunting dog to injure their paws. They tend to be a little (a lot) crazy, so they can cut their paw pads, lose a nail or break a toe in just about any type of situation.

Keeping their nails short can minimize the risk of broken toes and nails. Too long nails can also cause pain and discomfort, and for prolonged periods could cause orthopedic issues later in life. Cutting or filing down your Weim’s nails should be a part of your routine if their nails don’t get worn down naturally.

You should check their feet on a regular basis to make sure there isn’t anything embedded between their toes which could cause irritation, or any cuts, scrapes and broken nails. If you notice your dog licking their paws or starting to limp, make sure to check them!

Nelly's puppy paw

Protecting Weimaraner’s Paws In Winter

Road Salt

Snow and ice usually appear in the winter months and to avoid dangerous ice from forming on roads and sidewalks road salt is being used to melt it. Besides being corrosive to metals, cars, concrete and generally bad for the environment, the road salt is also bad for your pup’s paws.

Road salt is usually sodium chloride (NaCl), which is cheap to use, but some places started adding other chemicals into the mix. What does your dog do when you come home after a walk in the snow? Most likely they will clean their paws with their tongue. While a small amount is not likely to cause any big issues if they digest it, why take the risk at all?

The road salt can dry out their paw pads and they can start cracking. If you’ve ever had dry cracked hands during the winter, you know what that feels like! You don’t have to walk on that though unlike our poor pups.

The best way to avoid road salt is to buy some booties (these Ruffwear ones are great). If you can’t buy booties or your Weim will not tolerate them whatsoever, make sure to wash, dry and check their paws everytime you come from the outside where the area were salted.

You could also use a paw balm/wax before you go out as that will act like a sort of barrier against the outside elements. Musher’s Secret is a favorite brand of many Weimaraner owners. Make sure to wash their paws after coming home.

Nelly's paw print

Protecting Weimaraner’s Paws In Summer

Hot weather brings its own problems for your Weim’s paws, especially if you live in urban areas. In summer, the pavement can get very hot and if you walk your dog with no paw protection, you are risking painful blisters and burns.

The good folks at Pet Sit USA did a test to see how hot the pavement could get at various times of day during summer. The numbers speak for themselves and are quite eye opening.

Time Of DayAir TemperatureCement – ShadeCement – SunBlacktop
6 AM79°F (26°C)84°F (28.8°C)94°F (34°C)
9 AM85°F (29°C)92°F (33°C)105°F (40.5°C)110°F (43°C)
Noon94°F (34°C)106°F (41°C)135°F (57°C)146°F (63°C)
2 PM99°F (37°C)107°F (41.6°C)151°F (66°C)161°F (71.6°C)
4 PM102°F (38.8°C)126°F (52°C)154°F (67.7°C)165°F (73.8°C)
6 PM102°F (38.8°C)126°F (52°C)144°F (62°C)146°F (63°C)
8 PM97°F (36°C)119°F (48°C)121°F (49°C)
10 PM93°F (33.8°C)98°F (36.6°C)106°F (41°C)
Pavement temperatures (source PetSitUSA.com)

The general rule is to take your dog out early in the morning and later at night when the temperatures are not so extreme. If you have a bit of a pavement before you can step on some grassy area, you can either put booties on for the short walk or apply the paw wax I mentioned above.

You can also do a quick test – press the back of your hand on the ground and if you can keep it there for 7 seconds, it’s ok for your dog to walk onto. If not, it’s too hot and you should either:

  • put booties on or
  • apply paw wax or
  • carry your dog to grassy area

Paw Anatomy & Fun Facts

A typical dog paw consists of 5 parts – digital pads, claws, metacarpal pad, carpal pad and a dewclaw. I’ve always wondered what those extra things on dog’s feet were since I was a little child but I didn’t think to ask. Since then I’ve learned what they are and what is their purpose.

Weimaraner paw anatomy

Dewclaw
Dewclaw is sort of like a thumb. All dogs have dewclaws on their front legs, few breeds have dewclaws on their hind legs but it’s quite rare. Dewclaws shouldn’t be removed unless there’s a repetitve injury. In most cases though, it’s better to keep and treat injured dewclaws.

Dewclaws have their own muscles and tendons, as well as nerves and blood supply. They’re used for better grip and they help when turning as the dewclaw comes into contact with the ground.

Carpal pads are used for braking, especially when the dog is going down a steep hill or slippery terrain.

Weimaraners have what is called “cat feet”. While that doesn’t mean they have retractable claws, the paws are round and the toes are close together. They are more compact, which provides more endurance as they don’t require a lot of energy to lift up. Most breeds with “cat feet” are working dogs, built for endurance and agility.

Cat paw
Cat’s paw (CC Revital Salomon)
Nelly's back paw
Nelly’s back paw

Did you know?

  • Dog’s paw sweat, much like human hands and feet.
  • The “Frito smell” of dog’s paws is actually caused by bacteria and fungus.
  • Weimaraners have webbed feet.
  • If you’re bandaging your Weim’s paw, make sure to put something absorbent in between the pads to soak up moisture.

Paw Injuries

There are a lot of paw injuries that can happen to a Weim. As I mentioned above, Weims are notoriously high energy, running up and down, left and right and it’s only a matter of time before something happens to their paws.

The most common paw injuries are the following:

  • paw pad cuts, cracks and scrapes
  • broken or torn nail
  • broken toes
  • bug bites/stings
  • yeast infections

Paw Pad Cuts

Their paw pads are fairly thick, so some superficial wounds can heal on their own with some home care. Betadine will keep it clean and you can either use booties or an old sock if you’re going out.

Deeper and bigger wounds usually require stitches and they tend to heal for longer. So make sure to arm yourself with patience since they will be required to rest. Good luck getting your Weim to rest! 😀

Nelly is an expert when it comes to her paws – most recently she had something stuck in between her toes on one of her back paws and during the night she chewed a hole into her metacarpal pad (photo here, not for the squeamish). Of course after that she couldn’t really put weight on it and stood on her digital pads.

Nelly's injured paw pad
Nelly with her injured paw pad

We bought booties just for outside (Ruffwear) so that dirt and other stuff couldn’t get in and the wound wouldn’t get infected. In the end she had to go to the vet. They put Betadine on the wound and wrapped it.

We had to keep an eye on Nelly because she would take every opportunity to go hide and start unwrapping it. So she did have to sleep with a cone, poor thing. She went back to the vet for a re-wrap once and it didn’t take that long for the pad to heal.

Torn Nail

Torn nail usually isn’t an emergency if there’s no sign of infection or swelling and the bleeding has stopped. You can wash the paw in mild saline solution (vets recommend solutions with around 0.09% salt). You should contact your vet so they can prescribe pain meds as this injury is very painful for your Weim. A torn nail usually takes up to eight weeks to grow back.

Conclusion

Make sure to keep your Weimaraner’s nails short, this will protect them from nail and toe injuries and orthopedic issues later. Use booties or paw wax, especially when the roads have been salted in the winter or when the pavement is really hot during summer.


Resources

  • Mills, K. E., von Keyserlingk, M. A. G., and Niel, L. (2016), “A review of medically unnecessary surgeries in dogs and cats” (link)
  • Zink Chris, Schlehr Marcia R. (2020), “Working Dog Structure: Evaluation and Relationship to Function” (link)
  • Dr. Lichtenberg D., VMD (2019), “Dewclaw Removal in Dogs: When Is It Necessary?” (link),
  • Pet Sit USA (2011), “Don’t make your dog do the hot cement quickstep!” (link)
  • Pet Poison Helpline (link)
How to protect Weimaraner paws

Recommended

Check out the vet-formulated and science-backed air-dried dog food by Front Of The Pack! High quality like fresh food but with the added dry food convenience! :) #ad



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *