Does your canine pal know any cute paw tricks? Fido’s feet have become his unofficial sigil: we often associate paw prints with Man’s Best Friend. As it turns out, those feet are quite extraordinary! A York, PA vet lists some things you may not have known about your pet’s paws in this article.

Dog Paws Are Weatherproof

Fido’s toe beans are made of fatty tissue and supple fibers, covered in extremely thick skin. This protects your pet’s bones from heat and cold. When your dog walks on cold surfaces, the arteries in his feet move the blood back into his body, where it gets warmed up again. 

Dogs Lick Their Paws To Relieve Stress

Is your furry pal constantly licking or chewing his feet? There are two possible reasons for this. One would be pain: pups often work at sore spots. The other possibility is that your pooch is doing this to relieve stress. Dogs often lick their feet to soothe themselves. (Think of it as a doggy version of a child sucking their thumb.)

Dogs Have Dewclaws

The dewclaw is that small extra claw on Fido’s ankle. While most pooches only have them on the front, a few, such as the Great Pyrenees and Newfoundlands, also have them on the back. Why are they there? They help dogs grip things like sticks and bones they are chewing on, and can help with traction.

Some Pups Have Webbed Feet

As you may know, each breed was developed for a certain purpose. Many of our four-legged friends are renowned swimmers. In fact, several of our canine buddies have webbed feet, which help them navigate through water. That list includes Newfoundlands, Portuguese Water Dogs, and Labs.

Paws For Thought

Fido’s paw pads are quite remarkable. They serve as shock absorbers, offer traction, emit pheromones, and help him gauge temperature. (The largest, or center one, is roughly heart shaped. It actually looks like a koala bear if you draw a little face on it.) Another interesting thing about those toe beans? Man’s Best Friend only sweats through his paw pads, so if you notice that your pup’s toe beans are damp, he may be too hot. You may also notice a smell, such as popcorn or Cheeto feet. This is simply from bacteria pets pick up on their feet.

Please contact us, your local York, PA pet hospital, for any questions about caring for your canine pal’s feet. We’re always happy to help!