Soothing and treating cracked paw pads
Dog’s paw pads are as vulnerable as human feet. Just like human feet, they need to be taken care of with love and pampering.
Although a dog’s paw is meant to be tough for traction purposes, it can get dry or cracked, and this can be highly frustrating. In this article, we explore ways in which we can treat and prevent cracked paw pads.
Why does my dog suffer from cracked paw pads?
In many cases, cracked paw pads are a reaction to your dog’s environment and surroundings. For example, harsh chemicals used on the flooring of your house can be transferred to your dog’s paw pads causing dryness and irritation.
The easiest way to understand why dogs suffer from cracked paw pads is to think of human feet. If you walk barefoot a lot, the soles and heels of your feet get tougher and more callused. Cracked heels are a common issue many people face. Similarly, the texture and roughness of your dog’s paw pads can change with the ground on which they walk and the environment and seasons.
Other reasons could include zinc deficiencies or pH imbalances which can occur if your dog is not getting enough meat in its food. Senior dogs can get cracked paws from an age-related condition known as hyperkeratosis. This is when your dog produces too much keratin causing cracked paw pads.
How can I treat my dog’s cracked paw pads?
If your dog’s paw pads appear to be mildly cracked, you may not need to take any immediate action. The paw pads could heal on their own, but you need to make sure your dog is not excessively licking them.
If the cracking worsens, or your dog’s paw pads begin to bleed, you will need to start treating the problem.
- Start cleaning the paw pad by gently wiping off any blood and grime.
- Apply a paw balm / paw butter or salve to the paw pads, e.g. Vaseline or coconut oil or paw butters by Bark Out Loud, Happy Puppy Organics, Papa Pawsome, Captain Zack and many more.
- Cover the paw pad with a sock to avoid your dog from licking the paw balm/salve off.
- Check your dog’s paw pads daily and reapply the ointment as necessary.
Avoid using human lotions/creams because it could make your dog’s paw pads too soft, causing more harm than good. The key is to keep your dog’s paw pads moisturized by sturdy to withstand the environment.
If the problem persists, your dog could be suffering from an allergy. Speak to your vet for an optimal solution.
Preventing cracked dog paw pads
- New terrains
Take your dog on new grounds in small increments of time. If your dog is not used to the ground, e.g., hot pavement or sand their feet will be tender and more vulnerable to injury.
- Doggie boots and foot wax (paw butter and healing balms)
This can help protect your dog’s paw pads.
- Avoid harsh chemicals
Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean your house and in fertilizers.
Interesting Facts About Paw Pads
- They act as shock absorbers for dogs, easing of pressure from their joints
- Dogs sweat through their paw pads, hence why bandages may not stick or will need to be frequently changed.