If your dog spends most of his time indoors or in a manicured yard, chances are he'll come back with sore feet from a hike or other outdoor adventures. Sand, gravel and other natural surfaces can abrade his paws, particularly wet or frozen surfaces and matter. At home you can help to toughen his paws, fostering more enjoyable times together on the trail.
If you have an outdoor kennel or dog yard, cover the surface with coarse sand or pea gravel and allow him in it for several hours a day. If you have gravel landscaping, play fetch on it daily, starting with just a few minutes. You can take him on walks and runs over asphalt and gravel roads, starting with a half-hour per day and lengthening the walks as the pads toughen. If you live in a hot climate, do not run your dog on asphalt during the heat of the day, as his pads can blister from contact burns. His pads can take more heat than your bare feet can, but not so much more that it's negligible.
Grooming matters, even on the bottoms of the feet. Enlist a vet or groomer to trim your dog's nails and to trim the hair between the pads. Both of these grooming measures will increase direct contact between the ground and his pads.
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