Make foot health a regular part of your working dog exams!

Injuries to paw pads, nails, and feet are a common risk for working dogs. Dogs may work in all kinds of temperatures, from hot to cold, and may be required to navigate rough terrains. To help them perform their very best, make paw exams and discussions of proper foot care part of every visit.

While all working dogs benefit from good foot care, protection and detection dogs are at particular risk. Paw and nail injuries can be challenging, since these dogs may work in situations where foot protection, like booties, is not an option. 

Therapy, assistance, and service dogs can be injured by hot pavement, salt residue on sidewalks and streets, and broken glass. For these dogs, booties may be a good option. 

Practice tips to keep feet in tiptop condition: 

  • Regular nail trims, including dewclaws
  • Keep functional dewclaws intact as these help with traction
  • Consider using booties and other forms of foot protection if compatible with the dog’s duties 

Learn more about how to care for these hardworking and dedicated patients in our 2021 AAHA Working, Assistance, and Therapy Dog Guidelines. at