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What Causes Dry, Cracked Dog Paws and How to Treat It

Is your dog licking its paws? Have you noticed any unusual behavior after playtime? Is it some kind of discomfort? It can be an alarming sign of dry and cracked dog paws. Unfortunately, just like human heels, cracked pads are common among dogs. If not treated in an early stage, the itching starts worsening, causing great discomfort.

Though a wide range of home remedies and paw balms are available, finding the core reason behind it is important. This article will provide you with detailed insights about it.

Causes of Dry and Cracked Paws in Dogs

Knowing the key reason behind itchy paws is important to resolve the issue. The reason can be an internal health issue or an outside weather condition. Let us go through each of them:

1. Food Allergies

When I introduced a new meal to my dog at the age of 6, one of them developed a food allergy. Initially, I had no idea about it. However, when I noticed constant itching in the paws, I took it to the vet.

After diagnosing, the vet told me about protein allergy. Thus, I immediately cut down protein from the diet, which resolved the issue.

Note: if this itching is not treated, it can make the cracks bigger, which in turn leads to bleeding.

2. Wear and Tear

Traction Socks for Paw Protection

In the center of the dog’s paw there is the main pad that absorbs shock. It enables the dog to crawl, walk, and jump. However, over usage can bring wear and tear in it.

Furthermore, paw-pad cracks may arise due to seasonal changes. Especially in winters, when roads are full of ice-melt products, the paws get easily cracked. These products contain harmful chemicals which are also dangerous for dogs.

Noticing the paws even in the warmer season is important. If your dog stands on a warmer asphalt for a long time, paws are likely to get cracked.

3.      Chemicals and Cleaners

Floor cleaners and carpet cleaners can also be equally dangerous for the dog. Yes, some of these chemicals are harsh enough to cause damage.

4.      Diseases

Sadly, cracked paws can be a signal of a disease. Some diseases are discussed below:

  • Hyperkeratosis

One of the most common diseases related to paws is called hyperkeratosis. Due to a high level of keratin, the disease makes the skin dry. Thus paws become cracked. Additionally, it can grow cones on the paws, which can negatively influence your dog’s mobility.

  • Pemphigus 

Pemphigus is another disease related to pad-dryness. In this disease, the immune system works negatively. It considers the skin cells as pathogens that cause disease. Thus, it destroys the skin cells and causes blisters filled with pus. The condition becomes painful for the innocent creature as it creates a crust on the paw-pad. Furthermore, it can even lead to the ear and nose. So, appropriate treatment is mandatory. 

  • Hard Pad Disease 

If your pup is recovering from distemper and has cracked paws, hard pad disease may be the reason. In this disease, the paws swells, besides becoming dry and flaky. 

5.      Mineral Deficiency 

Dry paws can also be a sign of mineral deficiency. If your dog is not taking a good diet, zinc deficiency is likely to occur. It can make the pad harder, thus increasing the chances of cracks and dryness. You need to be more careful with a mineral deficiency if you have any of the following breeds:

  • German Shepherd
    • Beagles
    • Siberian Husky
    • Great Danes

Treatment of Cracked and Dry Paws

The treatment plan solely depends on the cause of the dryness. If it is a disease, you need to treat it. However, if it is due to a weather condition, you need to take appropriate steps.

Besides the basic treatment advised by your vet, you can follow the below-mentioned tips:

  • Keep your dog safe from surface cleaners. Also, make sure to clean the paws so that there are no traces of the irritant.
  • Clean the carpet if it has mold or any other form of bacteria.
  • If the garden is sprayed, do not let the dog step into it.
  • Change the diet if it is an allergic reaction. Firstly, try to change the brand and give some time. If it doesn’t work, change the type of food.
  • Buy a pair of winter boots. They will help your dog walk even on surfaces with sharp objects.
  • Buy moisturizing paw products..
  • Though auto-immune diseases are not curable, they can be managed. Therefore, instead of losing hope, start taking care of your canine friend.
  • Make sure that your dog has a balanced diet. Diet as per age and weight is important for fulfilling all nutritional requirements. So, carefully read the food label as well as the ingredient list. Also, try to avoid food with artificial ingredients.

Note: the above tips are suitable for mild cases. If it is severe damage, you might need to bandage the paws. Apart from it, restricting mobility is also essential for healing.

Basic Steps of Paw Cleaning and Maintenance

  • Gently clean the paws by using paw pads. Dip the pad in the saline solution. It will act as a disinfectant for killing germs.
  • See if the cuts are deep or there is just a minor crack. In case of deep cuts, take the dog immediately to a vet. For minor cuts, apply balm and moisturizer.

Final Thoughts

Cracked paws can make your furry friend feel uncomfortable. It can even lead to serious conditions if not treated at the right time. Fortunately, there are various ways to treat it. Many over-the-counter medications are available. Along with this, you can use the above-mentioned tips to protect your dog’s paws.

Did you ever notice the cracked paws of your dog? What was the cause, and how did you treat it? Share some tips with us!

Thank you to guest author, Myrah Abrar. Myrah is a computer science graduate with a passion for web development and digital marketing. 

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