Dogs love outdoor activities—they enjoy walking and running on all types of terrains, but can dogs walk on gravel?
The answer to this question depends on several factors.
Read on for more information about whether dogs can walk on gravel and how to make sure your dog’s paws don’t get injured during his daily walk.
Does Gravel Hurt Dogs’ Paws?
Not all paws are created equal. Just like humans, dogs’ paws aren’t all the same when it comes to pain tolerance. Some dogs’ paws are more sensitive than others.
That’s why not all types of gravel hurt the paws of your dogs. It depends on several factors, such as:
The Breed of the Dog
Some dog breeds have naturally strong paws, including:
- Saint Bernard
- Great Dane
- Basset Hound
These breeds can walk freely on gravel with sharp edges without any problems. Their paws are tough, so they can handle most terrains, unlike dogs with sensitive paws.
The Age of the Dog
Older dogs tend to have tougher paws because they’ve used them much more than younger ones. That’s why they can often comfortably walk on gravel without feeling pain.
A puppy is more likely to refuse to walk on rough ground.
The Type of Gravel
There are several types of landscape gravel for outdoor spaces. Out of all, pea gravel is the most dog-friendly gravel type.
Pea gravel is a medium-sized oval or rounded stone with smooth edges. That makes it safe for all dog breeds, even the ones with tender feet.
The Size of Gravel
There are several sizes of gravel, and not all of them hurt dogs’ paws. Gravel of moderate size is the best for most dog breeds.
Smaller gravel can get stuck under the dog’s nails or paw pads, which causes discomfort and injuries. On the other hand, larger gravel may host pebbles or sharp pieces of glass that can severely hurt the dog’s paws and the skin around it.
The weather also makes a difference. Even on the safest terrains, extreme temperatures can hurt dogs’ paws.
Avoid taking your dog out in super hot or cold temperatures. Excess heat or snow can burn the skin around the dog’s paw pads.
How to Tell that a Dog’s Paws Are Injured?
Dogs can’t tell us when their paws hurt. However, some tell-tale signs will show discomfort. You may notice some changes in your dog’s behaviour even before you see any physical trace of the injury.
Every pet parent should be able to tell when something is off with their pet. Watch out for any behavioural changes, such as:
- The dog excessively licks or chews its paws.
- The dog doesn’t want to walk or run.
- The dog whimpers with pain.
- The dog’s paws smell bad.
If you notice any of these changes in your dog’s behaviour, check for physical signs. Gently hold your dog’s paws in your hands and check for any of these symptoms:
Seeing any of these is a sure sign that your dog’s paws are irritated.
How to Treat Your Dog’s Injured Paws?
If you notice any injury on the paws of your furry friend, follow these steps:
Clean the Wound
Use water or an antiseptic, such as diluted chlorhexidine solution, to clean and disinfect the wound.
Gently remove any foreign object on the paw. Don’t force anything out. See your vet if you can’t do it yourself.
Assess the damage
Take a good look at the paws to assess the damage. If you only find superficial cuts or scraps, you can remedy that at home.
If you find deep cuts, don’t try to fix it yourself. See your vet for help. An injured dog may need sedation or antibiotics to treat the wound.
Stop the Bleeding
Try to control the bleeding by applying gentle pressure on the wound. You can also use water and ice. That can work with mild bleeding.
However, in the case of excessive bleeding, you should check with your vet before taking any step.
Use a nonstick bandage directly over the cut. Try to keep it as dry as possible. You can cover it with a plastic bag if the dog wants to get outdoors.
Moisture can encourage bacteria to grow under the bandage, which makes the wound a lot worse.
Give It Time
Note that a dog’s paw requires time to heal. You can expedite the process by keeping the paws safe and clean.
The healing time varies according to the severity of the injury. However, you still shouldn’t allow your dog to do extensive activities during this tough time.
How to Prevent Paw Injuries on Gravel?
Fortunately, there are some measures to take before, during, and after your walks to prevent injury.
Before the Walk
Before you take your dog on a walk on a hot day, check the temperature of the path. Place the palm of your hand on the path for 15 seconds. If you can’t tolerate it, your dog won’t.
You should also look around for any large or sharp object that may hurt your dog’s paws to reduce the risk of injury.
During the Walk
During the walk, there are several precautions to ensure your dog’s safety. For instance, avoid walking on deicing asphalt as it may cause inflammation of the dog’s paws.
You should also walk in shady areas, especially on hot days to avoid the burning hot paths.
After the Walk
After the walk, check your dog’s paws. Remove anything stuck in the nails or under the paw pad.
You can apply wax or moisturizer on your dog’s paws after each walk to soothe any minor cuts or scraps.
Can dogs walk on gravel?
Yes, they can, but it may hurt the paws of some dogs. The type and size of the gravel have a say.
For instance. pea gravel is the best and safest type of gravel for dogs. Its round edges make it smooth enough even for puppies.
The dog’s age and breed determine whether it can walk on gravel. The older the dog gets, the tougher its paws can be.
As a pet parent, you should always be on the watch for any paw injury. If it’s severe, don’t hesitate to call your vet right away.