Lucky boy Tuisku has been out two nights in a row; yesterday with Thunder and Leia and tonight with Titan and Gem. This evening we decided to try a new trail that we have passed by a couple of times when driving to the airport. It turned out to be a nice track for carting as it provided a good mix of running surfaces – everything from deep, soft sand to hardpacked gravel. The sand is good for building muscles and the harder surfaces are good for toughening up the pads.
Tuisku, Titan and Gem practising sit/down-stay during a break.
Our Mals spend a lot of time on soft grass at home so we’re careful not to run them on hard surfaces like asphalt too much. If a dog has sore pads we let him/her rest from training while adding fish oil to the food, as this product works wonders for both skin, coat and pads. In our experience, feet problems are less likely to return when treated from the inside with a quality Omega-3 supplement, than when treated only from the outside with various ointments. Luckily none of our dogs have real “problem feet” but we always examine their pads after every run, just to be safe. A good advice about feet is that if you check your dog’s feet often, you’ll know what they look like healthy and it will be easier to recognize problems when they occur. If a dog has cracked pads we clean and dry the feet and apply olive oil on a daily basis. If the dog is keen to lick it off we put an elizabethan collar on for 1-2 hours per day, before applying the oil, and keep the dog indoors during this time. We never use booties on the trail as a preventative measure, as they often cause more problems than they solve.