Let’s Talk About Your Dog’s Feet

Can we focus on FEET for a second? Look down, waaayyyy down, and there at the bottom of those cute, furry legs, are four important things. They take it all: the snow, the salt, the rain, the muck, and the heat. They get scratched, burned, matted, dirty, and most of the time, they smell like Nachos: your dog’s paws. The paws are a very important part of a dog’s and cat’s anatomy. Did you know that dogs sweat through the pads of their feet? YES! They are not able to sweat through their skin, so, body heat is regulated and escapes through their feet. For some dogs, they are a cause of constant anguish, for other dogs, they are extremely ticklish, but whichever way you look at it, caring for problem feet can be a real challenge.

In this blog post, we are going to have a look at allergies that affect and present in the paws. Many dogs suffer from allergies. Skin allergies for dogs can often be seen surfacing on or between the toes. If your dog chews his/her paws to the point of chewing them raw, it could be one of two things: an allergy-related to food intolerance, or an environmental allergy. It is a common fact that allergies in pets can be very difficult to isolate and identify, and a lot of research in the vet industry suggests that a process of elimination is often the best route to take when you are trying to determine the cause of an allergic reaction. Take notice of how your dog’s paws seem after a walk in the long grass or a romp through a sawdust-covered barn. If you see a flare-up in the paws or a peaked interest in chewing or licking at these areas afterward, it may be an environmental allergy you are facing. If you are feeding a new dog food, notice what protein sources are in the food and try to find a common denominator. Chicken can be a common allergen for dogs and cats, while duck is considered to be much less allergenic. Many dog food brands offer a hypo-allergenic diet, and a Nutritional Consultant can help you to choose the right food for your dog or cat. Look for red bumps or even pustules on the top of feet and in between toes. Notice inflammation and smell, and if you suspect your pet is suffering from sore feet, get in and talk to your vet about some things you can do to help ease this burden for your dog. A few of our fave suggestions are:

1. Try a warm Epsom salt soak. Add a ¼ cup of Epsom salts to a litre of warm water, and immerse the paws one by one. Do this for up to 10 minutes per foot, up to 3 times a day. Remember to dry the feet thoroughly and in between the toes to prevent infection.

2. Consider a booty! It might seem funny, but there are a lot of great options for protective booties, and this could save your pet a lot of grief. If you are planning a visit to an area that you know can be high risk, get used to the idea of using protective booties on your pet’s feet. You can purchase these on Amazon, or at a pet supply store. Remember to make sure the booties are completely dry before each use.

3. Keep paws trimmed and in good shape. Regular maintenance on your pet’s feet is worth the hassle. Teaching your dog or cat from an early age to be tolerant to you handling and caring for his/her feet is a huge convenience later on, and I promise, your groomer and veterinary technician will thank you for this! Trimming the toenails helps to keep nails from becoming overgrown and painful, and keeping the fur in between toes clipped will allow your dog much better grip and maneuverability as well as keeping painful mats from developing there.

4. NO licking! If your dog or cat has a compulsion to lick his or her paws, make sure you are taking measures to stop this behaviour whenever possible. Opening a wound on or between toes can allow bacteria to multiply and infection can spread very quickly. Put a cone on your pet to keep him/her from getting at it, or use a clean cotton sock that is not too tight to discourage your pet from irritating the area.

Having a dog or cat who chews his/her feet to the point of a painful injury is stressful for many dog owners. As such, if your dog or cat has developed problems with his paws, get in and talk to your veterinarian about what the cause of the issue may be and how to best keep it under control.

Written by: Van Isle Veterinary Hospital



Get a Cupcake and Support BC Animals in Need During Treat Week (Feb 24 - Mar 1, 2020)

Van Isle Veterinary Hospital is super excited to be hosting our 4th annual cupcake day fundraiser! BCSPCA celebrates “Treat Week” across the Province from Feb 24th – March 1st 2020 where business, pet owners and animal lovers can bake up a storm and sell treats with the proceeds going to BC animals in need.

Read More
See All Articles

Last updated: July 5, 2021

Dear Clients,

At this time, we will be maintaining our current health and safety policies as the province entered the next stage of on July 1, 2021.

Note: We will not be making changes to our health and safety policy until our staff have had the opportunity to receive their second vaccine.


This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

As you can imagine, we have a significant backlog of surgeries and wellness/vaccine exams to catch up on and we will be working hard over the next several weeks to do just that. We want to thank everyone in advance for your patience while we work through this. Although restrictions have been lifted, our health and safety protocols have not. It is important we continue to follow the guidelines set out by Worksafe BC and social distance our large team as much as possible. This means although we can offer these elective services, we are doing much fewer during the day than we were pre-COVID.


As of July 7, 2021, we are excited to invite our clients back into the exam rooms! We have put some important safety measures in place to help keep our clients and our team safe.


The use of our online store for easy ordering, payment and delivery of our pet's food, flea and tick medications. Orders over $100 can be delivered to your home for free! CLICK HERE


During the first 8 weeks of COVID, we were operating as a 24-hour facility to better serve our community and to maintain social distancing within our team. However, as the COVID-19 situation changes, so do we!

Our team of doctors felt it was important to get back to performing your pet's much needed regular services. In order to do so safely, we had to once again change the way we do business. 

As such, effective October 6, 2020, we will no longer be available for after-hours, on call services between midnight and 7:00 am. After-hours emergency care will be referred to Central Island Veterinary Emergency Hospital between the hours of midnight - 7:00 am. They can be reached at 250-933-0913.

We will continue to be available until midnight for your call-in, after hours needs.

Our regular hours of operation remain the same:

Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

We are all looking forward to this next stage in our Province’s reopening and the future is looking bright! Thank you for helping us make this transition as safe as possible, so our team can be at its best and continue to look after your pet!

- Your dedicated team at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital