How to Soothe and Treat Cracked Paws

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Cracked dog paws are not only painful for your pet, but they may also indicate a health issue. Learn about the causes of cracked dog paws and the treatment options available.


What Exactly Are Cracked Dog Paws?

An injured, split, or worn paw pad is referred to as cracked dog paws. (The paw pad is a trio of fatty tissue and fibers located on the underside of a dog's feet). A thick layer of skin protects a dog's pads from rough surfaces and cold weather while also absorbing stress and pressure during movement. A cracked paw pad can be painful for your pet as a result of a variety of external conditions as well as several dog health problems.

Certain dog breeds, such as beagles, poodles, West Highland terriers, and bichon frise, are more likely to develop cracked paw pads, according to the American Kennel Club. Fortunately, dog owners have a variety of paw care options, including home remedies and over-the-counter medications.


What Causes Dog Paws to Crack?

Dogs' paws crack due to a variety of factors. They are as follows:

Allergies: Seasonal allergies, as well as food allergies, can cause itchy feet in dogs, which they try to relieve by licking or biting excessively. When a dog licks its feet excessively, it frequently develops red, irritated, or cracked paws.

Climate: Extreme heat and cold are common causes of cracked dog pads. Cold weather, as well as exposure to salt and deicing chemicals, can leave dogs with cracked, dry paws, according to the American Humane Society. During the summer, hot pavement can cause paw dryness and even blisters.

Contact irritation: Your dog's feet come into contact with a variety of potential irritants in your home or neighborhood, resulting in cracked dog paws. Harsh cleaning chemicals, lawn fertilizer, and plants like burr chervil and foxtail are all dangerous to dogs' paws.

Health concerns: Limping, excessive licking, and dryness are also signs that your dog's cracked paws are the result of a health problem. Wounds on a dog's paw that refuse to heal may indicate liver disease, whereas cracked or swollen paws may indicate an autoimmune disease or hormonal conditions such as Cushing's disease. Skin conditions, such as hyperkeratosis, which causes thickened paw pads in senior dogs, are also common paw-related health issues.

Nutrition: Cracked and crusty dog paws may also indicate a nutrient deficiency in a dog's diet. Along with shedding and gastrointestinal issues, it is one of the primary symptoms of zinc deficiency. Supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids are frequently used to treat nutrition-related issues in dogs, but always consult your veterinarian before adding any supplements to your dog's diet.


How to Soothe Cracked Dog Paws

There are several treatment options for cracked dog paws. Among them are the following:

Skincare remedies: Many skincare items you already have in your home can be used to treat cracked dog paws. Shea butter and Vitamin E lotion moisturize and soothe dog paw pads that are cracked, dry, or blistered. Make certain that these products are all-natural and do not contain any chemical ingredients or artificial scents.

Waxes and oils: Beeswax, olive oil, and coconut oil are also excellent natural paw protectors for cracked paw pads. All three also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that keep pads healthy and infection-free.

Paw balms: Paw balms can be applied to your dog's paw pads to treat dry or cracked skin, as well as after long walks. Paw balms do more than just soothe dog paws; they also form a protective layer over the paw pads, preventing further exposure and damage. Pet parents can choose from a variety of all-natural paw balm brands.


How to Treat Cracked Dog Paws

Follow these step-by-step instructions to treat cracked dog paws:

1. Clean the paws. Warm water and dog-friendly soap should be used. Remove any residue or visible irritants with a soft towel and dry.

2. Take care of the cracked paws. Apply a soothing agent to the affected areas of the dog's paws, such as a dog-safe moisturizer, oils, and paw balm. If visible wounds exist, use an antibacterial product as well. Inquire with your veterinarian about the best antibacterial treatments for dogs.

3. Wrap or cover the paws. Wrap gauze around the affected paws or cover them with a soft sock to seal in the soothing treatment. Prevent your dog from chewing on the gauze or socks, and monitor the treatment on a regular basis to ensure that the wounds heal properly.


How to Prevent Dry Paw Pads

Here are a few methods for preventing dry paw pads:

Dog boots: Dog booties protect paws from hot pavements and icy streets. Your dog may not take to boots right away, but consistent practice and positive reinforcement with treats will help acclimate them to their new footwear and keep their paws safe. Paw wax is a simple alternative to dog boots.

Grooming: Regular grooming will keep the fur around your dog's toes and between the paw pads short. Trimming the fur allows you to easily inspect your dog's paw for irritants while also preventing matted hair buildup, which can be painful to untangle, and keeping their paws free of ice or debris from the sidewalk.

Safety: Keep walks short on very cold days, and in warmer weather, direct your pet onto grass rather than hot pavement. Avoid areas with visible debris, such as glass shards or sharp rocks, as well as patches of dense weed growth.

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