Your dog's paw pads empower them to explore and enjoy the world around them. They help them navigate all types of terrain they'll be walking on, and pads provide traction and absorb shock when your dog is running. Dry, rough or cracked paw pads can be irritating or even painful for your pup, but you can keep him in the pink by rubbing his pads with moisturizing agents and keeping his feet protected from indoor and outdoor irritants.
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How dog paw pads get dry
Even though dog paw pads are meant to be tough and sturdy, they can still get dry or damaged, especially if your pup is outdoors a lot, or runs and plays on rough surfaces. Keep an eye on your dog's pads. If paw pads get cracked, they can become infected.
If you notice cracking, bleeding, pain, swelling, or redness, take your canine companion to their veterinarian to get them checked out because your dog may have allergies or an illness that needs to be treated. If there are any raw or open wounds on the dry dog pads, don't put anything on the area until a veterinarian can examine and treat them.
Moisturizing your dog's paws
Many pet supply stores carry commercial moisturizing agents designed to keep your dog's paw pads soft. You can also use home remedies to achieve the same outcome. Both petroleum jelly and coconut oil, massaged into foot pads, are moisturizing agents that absorb quickly and restore suppleness to the skin. Your dog may be tempted to lick, so cover his feet with dog booties or distract him with a chew toy to let the substance soak in.
Be careful not to over-moisturize dry dog pads. If they become too soft, that can lead to injury and tearing. The best practices for taking good care of your dog's paws include regular nail trims, making sure that the fur around your pet's paws is free of tangles and matts, and keeping the fur around their paws trimmed.
Outside dogs will need more frequent moisturizing than indoor dogs. Regularly inspect your pup’s feet and moisturize when you see signs of dryness.
Never use [moisturizers formulated for humans on your dog — they could be toxic.
Prevent dry, rough dog paws
Prevent dryness by putting booties on your dog in cold weather. Take good care of the booties, cleaning and completely drying them out regularly. Otherwise, they can create a moist environment for your dog's paws that can lead to skin irritation.
Also, be careful where you walk your dog when temperatures soar. Avoid hot surfaces in warm temps. Never walk your dog on hot pavement or concrete to avoid serious burns. If you aren't sure whether the pavement is too hot for your dog's paws, place your hand on the pavement and hold it there for 15 seconds. If it feels too hot and you're not able to hold your hand there for the full 15 seconds, it's too hot to expose your dog's paws to the pavement. Dry off your dog's wet paws and wash away the residue of rock salt or lawn chemicals. Not only could rock salt irritate and dry out pads quickly, but it can be toxic to dogs. So be sure to wash all remnants of it from your dog's paws or simply have them wear booties.
Lastly, conduct regular foot inspections to make sure your dog's dogs are in top shape. If you notice any changes or injuries, take your dog for a check-up and protect their paws until they can be treated.
Foot care can be a good bonding opportunity for you and your dog. Incorporate it into your regular grooming routine and make it a pleasant experience.