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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dry, Cracked Paws?

Stefanie emailed me this a while back and I'm finally getting to it.

I would like to know how to care for my dog's paws in the dry heat and winters here in Arizona. Are a dog's paws even supposed to be smooth and soft? Are the cracks and dryness that I see "normal"? And if not - what would you recommend I use to help those rough patches?
I do feed her a high-quality dog food and also give her a supplement provided by my vet for her hip dysplasia and also is supposed to have something in it to help her skin and coat (Phycox).
My first recommendation is to have your vet look at the paws.  While a puppy's paws are soft and smooth, it's very common for an adult dog's paw pads to become rough and thick.  Such changes are a normal response of the body to walking on rough or abrasive surfaces.  A little thickening will happen merely with age, but the harsher the surface a dog spends much of its time the rougher the pads will get.  That's exactly what the pads are designed to do.  Some cracks and dryness are normal, but you can have situations where there is a medical problem causing excessive cracking.  That's where your vet can determine if what you're seeing is normal.

There are several products that can help.  A basic vitamin E lotion often will do the trick.  There is also a lotion called Bag Balm that was originally used to help cows' udders but can be used to soften skin and relieve minor irritation on any species.  If a dog is going to be on rough ground for a very short period of time a little petroleum jelly can be a temporary protectant.  But if the harsh ground (rocks, sand, extreme heat or cold, etc.) is going to be more than a couple of minutes you should consider getting protective booties.


  1. I use Pad Heal on my dogs if they need to be on rough or difficult surfaces for an extended period of time. It works very well. The ingredients kind of scare me, but I haven't found anything that works nearly as well, and it's worth it for how much it prevents/how quickly it solves pad issues.
    I'd be interested in your thoughts.

  2. I don't have any experience with that particular produce, so I don't feel comfortable giving an opinion one way or another.

  3. My dog a three year old German Shepard hikes seven days a week , rain or shine . The terrain is always steep and rough mountain trails . Her pads are thick , she never seems to have any pain or itching . However her pads do have some small cracks . I am now starting to worry about them . She has been seen by her vet several times . The vet knows she is a daily hiker but has never checked her paws ? I now need to know how to find a vet who last qualified in this matter .
    Any help would be appreciated !

  4. Thank you so it was a big help to me and my dogs. My dogs are very important to me because they are My best FRIEND and my Service animals for my family.


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