Pad Problem

Not all it’s cracked up to be

Peat’s right rear pad has been bugging him for a while now, and I thought I’d see if I could get a boot on it so we could look for birds today since hell hasn’t frozen over yet. Leslie decided to video the experience (see below).

Obviously, the boot was a no-go. I’m not sure what to do. My friend Rob wraps his dog’s feet in vet wrap and duct tape, so I tried that. It was much less bulky and problematic to Peat, but still he hated it. Ideally, we’d let the pad recover, but I’m not sure that, (a) it would recover before the season ended, and (b) if we or he could sustain that much down time. He needs exercise, and we need him to have that exercise.

The cracks appear to be pretty deep, but there’s no oozing and he really doesn’t squirm much when we prod and palpate it. But he was limping pretty badly last night, although putting weight on it, which made me think his hip might be bugging him since we’ve seen him hopping around on three feet quite a bit since all this started, keeping his right rear foot off the ground. He’s not limping today, thankfully. I also need to remind myself that here, halfway through the season, he’s run 373.8 miles so far.

Any suggestions on a quick, miracle cure of a pretty split up pad?

24 Replies to “Pad Problem”

  1. I know of no quick fix for Peat unfortunately but have been using the motorcycle tube style boots with great success. I use Kendra 2.75/3.00-15 size on my 60lb pointer and 2.25/2.50-15 on my 40lb GSP. There is a great video on youtube with two TX fellows explaining everything you need to know. It takes a little time to boot them but well worth it because I need my dogs when it’s go time. Hoping for a speedy recovery!!!

  2. My observation: I run Britts. Your dogs look heavy. I feed purina pro plan and string beans for bulk. ON THE FOOT. Have you seen making a boot from a piece of motor cycle tube? Tape the ankle , tape backwards sticky side out. Slide on a piece of tube with toe end open just beyond the toes. Again tape the top tight … May work? Some dogs never tolerate boots. This boot at least lets them lick their toes. Full heal of a pad takes 12 weeks.

    1. I appreciate your comments, John. And I agree on the weight issue; a couple years ago Angus lost so much weight during the season that he lost a lot of muscle and his arthritis got pretty bad. So I’ve been overcompensating (he’s doing great, although a bit chunky). What do you mean you use string beans for bulk? Do you use raw, cooked, as much as they want?

  3. There’s no quick cure. Try shea butter. You’ve got to get a boot on that paw. He will get use to it. You will get use to it. I use a toddler sock and wrap duct tape over it. Its cheap and fast once you get some pratice. You will get pratice because you will loose a few each day. I always have a sock and duct tape in my hunting vest for emergencies. I tried all the premade booties and cried every time I lost one.


  4. My grandpa had a shorthair with real soft pads that would tear and crack. He use to put a spray called pad tough on his feet and it would toughen his pads up. It might be worth a try. I know theirs other sprays or creams for paws that might be worth looking into on the internet. I just don,t know how long it takes to work.

  5. I’m having the same problem right now with my Lab after hunting in the Owyhee’s. Colby despises anything on his feet. Its been a week and the part where its healing over is still baby soft but he needs exercise. I’m thinking of taking him to a local WMA for pen raised pheasants for now as the vegetation is so thick it might just protect his pads from touching the ground.

  6. Bob I treat the pad with PadKote and Cut Heal. Try the local farm supply for either product. Tire tubes are great. Try the fat tire size (Walmart) for bicycles for smaller dogs. I tape the forearm first just below the elbow joint. Cut the tube into six inch sections. Then slip the tube on, leaving the nails exposed. Wrap the tube to the tape previously applied. Good luck!

  7. Diet may have something to do with the cracking. I have seen this before and when you switch to a no grain gluten free food most skin related issues go away.

    As for keeping weigth on and dealing with arthritic dogs diet is very important. There is a delicate ballance between how hard you hunt and what you feed them and how much.

    Can you be specific on what you feed your dogs and what a typical week of hunting entails?


    1. Thanks, Vincent. This is Peat’s third season. Each of the first two entailed the same number of hunts per week as we’re doing now: 2 – 3, sometimes 4. The fact that he never showed any pad wear his first two seasons, but now has this issue – on his back foot, which apparently is uncommon – suggests he cut it on something unusual. So it seems it’s more a freak accident than something more systemic, like diet. I realize, however, that dogs – like people – develop sensitivities to things as they age, so I’m not ruling out dietary issues, as you suggest. I feed both dogs Purina Pro Plan Sport during the hunting season (Sept – Jan) and the slightly lower protein version of the same the rest of the year.

  8. This has been let go too far. Boots are the only answer to keep you dog hunting. Most often this problem occurs on front feet. Boot bilateral. Do not put on just one boot. I usually only boot my dogs on the front. Before hunting season use tuff foot daily for 10 days or so. There are other good suggestions above as well.

  9. I really appreciate all the comments on this post, and the suggestions for treatment. I have to admit this is ironic given that I’ve always sort of bragged how we never have any foot issues with our dogs because we run them year-round on gravel and rock roads and trails, which keeps their pads tough. I’m also a bit ashamed I didn’t deal with this more aggressively sooner, at least to save Peat the pain and the trouble of having to submit to a boot. Until yesterday it was a small crack, but it opened up significantly yesterday. So we’re on it. I’ve got motorcycle inner-tubes and tape and PadKote on the way. A new experience, unwanted, but not to deter.

  10. I will put a second vote on the Mushers Secret. My Brits pads were pretty torn up earlier this season pretty close to Peats but maybe just a little less. He also won’t do any boots and the Musher Secrets healed them up and they are now in shape to make it through the snow of winter. I use it all the time in the snow and when his pads get torn up.

    I have always felt like a tough set of pads is necessary on a Chukar dog. I have tried boots to get through a cut pad and they just don’t last.

  11. Bob, I have been plagued with pad issues on my dogs during chukar season. It was suggested to me from a trainer, just a week ago, to shift my dogs diet to a higher protein meal. (i.e. Purina Pro Plan 30/20) The reason for this seemed to resonate with me – when the dogs start to tire and fatigue (something we can’t always see) the dogs start to get lazy on their feet and start to sit further back on their main pads and in the chukar hills this will always crack and tear pads. Higher protein/fat will keep them going stronger, longer. I was on a 26/18 meal. I just switched to the above listed food and haven’t field tested this theory yet.

    Also – Lion Country Supply sells a product called ‘Pad Heal”, it is a mix of ingredients that unlike Tough-Foot and some other products harden the pad, it actually softens the pad and heals it. I haven’t used mushers secret, but I think it is a pad softener as well – but I think it is a balm that the dogs can lick off (I may be wrong)- pad heal absorbs fairly quick and can’t be licked off. (beware do this outside until it absorbs, it is a strong smelling product that can and will stain carpet) It seems counter intuitive to me that soft pads are good and hard pads are bad, but after many many seasons of blown pads in our dogs – this seems to work best at helping our dogs recover faster between weekly hunts as well as helping them during hunts. Also it has been suggested to use the rubber tire to boot Peat, this always works well until the snow flies, at which point the tubes become well, tubes like on a tubing hill. It can result in blown ACLs in your dogs, so beware. Chukar hills in snow with inner tubes as booties is dangerous for your dogs. Until the snow flies the inner-tube works great and I have used them, after the snow flies the best boot we have found is from, it is a 1000 denier Cordura bootie that the dogs can still grip the snow in and not slip as bad, also it doesn’t take super long in chukar terrain or the claws to tear through and they can use them for grip. They do make a 9000 denier bootie, but it is slippery as well. You have to buy and keep these on hand as you wear through them in a hunt, but we have found we can get 2 hunts per boot, you just flip them around the second time you use them. They are $6 per bootie set.

    Just me $.02

    1. Hi Jeff, thanks for your long comment. I really appreciate it. We switched to the same food you’re now using a while ago and it’s really helped Angus especially, who was wasting away during chukar season no matter how much we fed him. We’re taking Peat to the vet this afternoon for his $.02. Several people have recommended Pad Heal, so I’ll ask our vet (who knows working dogs and chukar dogs) about the method you’re suggesting, which makes sense to me. I’ll post an update afterward. Thanks again!

  12. Super Glue to close the cut while it mends with a boot for support and a lighter work load for a week might help heal a little quicker. Might be worth a try. Not sure it will translate for pads the same way with skin.

  13. Bob I’m pretty sure that is not your case but two weeks ago one of my english setter has got tetanus tetanus through a broken nail of the rear leg…so in case you see something strange in his behaviour contact the vet!

  14. I never considered this to be a food problem but this got me looking at my dogs feet and I was feeding the same 30/20 as you, but switched because I was scared too much protein wasn’t good for their kidneys and realized that sled dogs have some crazy tough feet and there diet is mostly Salmon. Went to a salmon and sweet potato food and I ran Hunter who is a 45+ pound Brit well over 20 miles Saturday and his pads are looking really good. I seem to remember him having pretty dry and cracked pads before and now they are smooth and soft.

  15. Hi Bob. I use mushers secrete. Works well. One thing I noticed when you put boots on a dog try to have them ready to hunt or go for run. Not idle to see if or how they are going to react to them. If they are distracted by running ,hunting they tend to forget about the boots rather quickly and go on about their business. The video reminded me of my first attempt to boot my dog. Thought he would never wear boots. Not the case when distracted. The innertube boots wore sore spots on the top of my dogs toes. Not from being to small of tubes either. Just rubber friction on them. Don’t like them that’s when I started using mushers secret. Good luck with Pete and hope for speedy recovery.

  16. Bob, I am an avid chukar hunter and guide here in the high desert of Southern California. The terrain here is very rocky with lots of shale and cactus. I run Lewis dog boots on my GSP and my hunting partner runs them on his 2 Britts as well. They are a rubber boot that is light and holds up very well. The dog gets used to them after just 1 minute of having them on. I recommend giving them a try, you will not be disappointed.

  17. Tuf-foot works just as good as pad heal with a good smell pad heal is great for outside dogs smells like turpentine.

Chirp away

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