Keep your dog's footpads from becoming dry, cracked and possibly even infected by massaging them with moisturizing agents and protecting them from irritants.
Treating Problem Footpads
Although they're meant to be tough, dog footpads are still subject to trauma, injury and everyday wear and tear. Pads can become dry and cracked, and if an infection sets in, could require veterinary treatment. Protecting your pup's feet and catching footpad problems early through regular inspection can help prevent serious issues.
Get into the habit of regularly looking over your dog's feet by touching, holding and massaging them. This might be easiest when you're grooming or just relaxing together. Getting your dog used to having his feet touched will make him more likely to go along with a moisturizing routine, as well as toenail clipping.
Soaks and Ointments
Homemade foot soaks can be made using warm water and just enough iodine to turn the water an amber hue. Another soothing agent is a bag of chamomile tea added to a foot soak. If paws are simply irritated, keeping them dry can help ease discomfort. As a preventative measure, commercial waxes applied to a dog's footpads before exposure to the elements can reduce the potential for drying.
While you can buy dog footpad moisturizing agents from pet supply stores, you also can use common household items to restore moisture. Rub small amounts of petroleum jelly or cold-pressed, food-grade coconut oil onto footpads, using just enough to absorb into the skin. Massage just as you would the heel of your own foot, working the substance into cracks and dry spots. Distract your dog with a chew toy, or he may be tempted to lick away the moisturizer, negating its effectiveness.