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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dog Paws on the Desert Floor

More from our desert trip... Dogs' paw pads can be fragile, especially when faced with rocks in the desert after a winter of soft snow. You would think that cacti would be an issue too but our dogs learned a long time ago to stay far away from cacti. Unfortunately, sore paw pads became a brief issue on our trip.
On about the third day of our trip, the boys explored a steep-walled canyon during their run (it's off limits to bikes). It's one of those canyons that periodically has flash floods when it rains uphill of the canyon. Then, the formerly dry passage becomes a raging river. Due to those flash floods, the ground in the canyon varies between dirt, sand, gravel, and some occasional rocks. We thought that R would be fine without boots in the canyon because most of the running would be on non-rock surfaces.
Indeed, he seemed fine right after the run but, by that afternoon, he had very tender paw pads. They were so sore that we decided that he needed to wear boots almost all the time for a couple of days.
R generally doesn't mind boots too much, as long as he's doing something fun while he wears them. But, he doesn't like them when he's not distracted by something as fun as running - as you can see in the next photo.
He also seems to have difficulty knowing "where" his paws are when he's wearing boots. He adopts some odd paw positions.
After a couple of days, his sore paw phase passed as quickly as it had started, and he was fine to run again. And, on the very good news side of the ledger, his elbow held up well. We are now giving him pain medication more regularly to help him have fun through the summer until his elbow surgery in the fall.

Through it all, Shyla's paw pads were fine. She thanked her lucky stars for that because she abhors boots. In fact, she sometimes goes "on strike" and refuses to run if she's wearing boots. She's a barefoot kind of dog!
Because R had to be sedentary while his paws healed, I was glad that a big part of our camping trips involves simply relaxing in camp, watching the natural world around us and enjoying the quiet.
We always have our camping dinners at dusk while watching the stars appear. Then, we all go to sleep while my pre-programmed camera records the action in the sky.
I love the desert, and I am eagerly looking forward to going back again before it gets too hot there. I think that R may wear boots for every run on future trips!


  1. Good thing for boots. I don't think I would like to go barefooted on those rocks either:)

  2. Great shots. Torrey likes her boots. I think she knows they protect her feet because she runs really fast when she wears them.

  3. poor R, but glad he kept his boots on for you.

  4. POor R! My heart goes out to his feetie feets! I love all your photos but that second to last shot, oy, a stunner of light and shadow in full color. hard to do in full color sometimes. easier to do sometimes in b/w.

  5. Such pretty photos! I'm sorry about R's paw pads! That's happened to us, too! Zoe got a blister! It was weird. Zoe has to wear boots now any time it rains, we've discovered she has a problem with wet grass and she gets these odd paw infections if she's been wandering around in wet mucky grass. She does not like the boots.

  6. I really like the bare paws photo.

    Aroo to you,

  7. I love paw pictures. Digging his shoes!

  8. Yay for boots for R and Shyla!!
    Yay their paws are ok.
    and Yay that R'S shoulder is doing okay right now.

    The beauty you share with us,,, well we would love those stars painted on our ceilings,,,
    We look at your canyon photos all the time,, there is medicine in them!

  9. What a beautiful trip. I am glad the boots worked out for R so he can be more comfortable. Sasha would not ever wear them, I am glad Shyla didn't need them

    Anne and Sasha

  10. R... Sportin' the boots! Dude...


  11. Boots for R, he does not look happy at all, and super trails, what a wonderful camping place.

  12. We're barefood dogs, too. Good thing R likes his. All the temperature changes...snow, ice and rocks sound like recipes for sore feet.

  13. You're a good boy to wear your boots, R. You want to have fun on your vacation and not have sore paw pads.

  14. Beautiful photos. Looking at pictures of the desert is like looking at another planet altogether. Hard to imagine a place that peaceful here on earth.

    Love your boots, R!


  15. I think my dogs would go on strike if they had to wear boots. The desert looks like an amazing place to spend some time, though. :)

  16. I bet that terrain is tough on tender winter feet! I know going barefoot in the springtime is hard for me ;-)

    In reply to your comment on my agility post.....the judges are the ones who design the courses and they must do it well before the actual trial. They must submit them to the AKC for approval (safety, challenge level appropriateness, etc.), so there is no changing a course after the trial actually starts. The only changes they can make are small tweaks based on safety concerns brought up by the competitors. Sometimes the course designed on paper doesn't fit the actual ring quite so well, so obstacles are shifted slightly but the basic design remains the same.

  17. KB, I always love hearing about your time in the dessert. I'm sure the warmth helps you feel better too. You have a way with your photos of making our world a much prettier place-so thank you!
    We are supposed to get some rain tomorrow, but I'm all for the sunshine staying.
    Happy Spring dear friend!

  18. Good thing R will tolerate boots. And they look really nice on him too! I am like Shyla. I could never tolerate them for even one second. Mom says she is surprised how well our feets hold up against all the elements on the ground!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  19. Oh R, you look FABulous in booties!!! I've never tried them before, butts I thinks I would probably do a 'dance' and growl at Ma for the humiliation!!!
    I LOVE those photos!! I thinks Ma would love to just stay in camp and watch those beautiful sights!
    Ruby ♥

  20. He looks so cute - if somewhat annoyed - in his boots! It's amazing the things dogs can walk on barefoot!

  21. Oh Prince Arrrr! I am so glad there was help for your sore feets. Those boots are sort of exotic looking, where are they made?


    Jo, Stella, and Zkhat who wants a set of those boots!

  22. The photos are stunning.

    My dogs don't care for the boots either and actually staged a lie-in one morning so they didn't have to wear them. Honestly, sometimes I wish I could reason with them. LOL


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