What to Use for Dry & Cracked Paws

By Elizabeth Tumbarello

Cracked dry paws can come from a variety of causes. Usually cracked paw pads respond to home treatment and the avoidance of unhealthy conditions, although in certain cases veterinary help should be sought.

Dry Paws

Paws pads can become dried out and cracked just as human feet can. Apply a moisturizing substance, such as petroleum jelly or Bag Balm, until the cracks have healed.

Overall Care

Keep the area clean and moisturized until the pad has healed. Discontinue moisturizer use after the paw heals, as it is better for a dog to have rough pads than tender ones, which can lead to further problems.

Winter Care

Wintertime salting of sidewalks can cause a dog's paws to dry out quickly. Limit your pet's exposure to salt, and invest in a protective product, such as Paw Wax or a set of boots.

When to Seek Medical Treatment

Clean the area thoroughly, and apply triple antibiotic ointment if the paw is bleeding. Bandage the paw, and continue this routine daily until the pad has healed. If it does not heal within a week, seek veterinary help.

Zinc Deficiency

Sometimes a dog's paws will crack due to a zinc deficiency. This can be determined by veterinary testing and can be treated within two to four weeks with a zinc supplement made for dogs.