Taking care of our dog’s paw pads is one of the most overlooked aspects of good canine care and grooming. But how do we properly keep our dog’s paw pads healthy?
Dogs spend significant time romping around the yard or indoors. In the process of walking and playing, the paw pads can get worn out and dry. You can take cautionary and maintenance measures to restore the paw pads to a healthy state. Most of these tips are easily doable in the comfort of your home.
Your pup doesn’t have to come home limping for you to pay attention to the paws. Paw pad maintenance should be a regular practice to avoid dry and chapped pads. However, if you notice your pup hobbling around, inspect the paw pads for thorns, insect stings, and other foreign objects.
Why Should You Take Care of Your Dog’s Paw Pads?
The paw pads are the direct contact dogs have with the ground they walk on. Unkempt and neglected paw pads can crack and even stink once infected. The ASPCA explains that the paw pads act as shock absorbers to protect the bones, ligaments, and tendons of the limbs.
Additionally, paw pads provide traction and protection while walking on rough land and terrain. They act as breaks when your dog walks on a steep area and protect the feet on a rocky, gravel surface. This explains why outdoor dogs have thicker, rougher paw pads, unlike those who spend most time indoors.
Now that you know how important paw pads are to your pups, the importance of maintaining the paws should be much more apparent. Taking your indoor dog on walks regularly is essential to train the paws on different textured surfaces. The more time your dog spends outdoors, the more durable the pads get.
Neglecting your pup’s feet can lead to drying and cracking. Much like not moisturizing your lips can cause them to chap. Our quality paw treatment moisturizes and quickly restores damaged paw pads. Ensure the moisturizer you use for your pup is dog specific to avoid unintended harm to the pads.
Uncared for paws can get uncomfortably itchy for your dog. If your pup spends an inordinate amount of time licking the paws, they’re susceptible to paw infections such as Malassezia. Secondary bacterial and fungal infections intensify paw issues and can cause wounds and abscesses once infected.
How to Care for and Moisturize Your Dog’s Paw Pads
There are plenty of home remedies and store-bought products to incorporate into your pup’s grooming kit. Natural products like coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax give the paws much-needed rejuvenation. Store products like specialized paw cream and vitamin E oil are effective ways to moisturize your dog’s paws.
A range of factors like de-icing salt in the winter, chemicals in the yard, allergic reactions, and excessive licking can dry paws out. Moisturizing is quick to do, but it will make all the difference to your dog’s paws. Here are 5 effective remedies to moisturize your dog’s paw pads and keep them healthy.
Vitamin E oil or cream
Rubbing some vitamin E oil into your furbaby’s dry paws will restore them to top-notch condition. You can add vitamin E oil to your dog’s bath water or apply it to dry paws. Vitamin E oil is a common ingredient in many quality dog foods, as it works wonders on dogs inside and out.
The healing properties of vitamin E oil extend beyond the paws to the entire body and coat. A bath with a drizzle of vitamin E oil will leave your canine’s coat looking shiny and feeling smooth. We have covered how to clean your dog’s paws for a more elaborate explanation of the subject.
We can credit vitamin E’s healing properties to its antioxidant properties that eradicate free radicals on the skin cells. Vitamin E promotes the growth of cell membranes resulting in healthy skin. Topical vitamin E capsules fasten the healing of burns and skin irritation to the paw pads. Vitamin E oil relieves your dog from itchy paws when you notice them gnawing on the pads more frequently than usual.
This household staple is probably in your pantry right now. Like vitamin E cream, coconut oil soothes your dog’s irritated paws once rubbed into the paw pads. You can say goodbye to dry and chapped paw pads once you incorporate this natural product into your dog’s paw maintenance routine.
Aside from the moisturizing effect, coconut oil also has antibacterial properties. The lauric acid content in coconut oil enables it to fight against harmful microorganisms. Using coconut oil on the paws regularly keeps the environment unsuitable for microbes, discouraging bacterial and fungal infections.
Coconut oil is also safe for your dog once they consume it when licking their paws. To use it, massage the coconut oil into the paw pads thoroughly. Some dogs don’t like their paws touched, so training them to get used to it with treats and praises, helps make the process easier.
Specialized dog paw cream
It’s not unusual to see a dog’s paws cracked and chapped due to dryness. Dog creams are specially formulated for dogs in line with their skin’s pH, which is more alkaline than Humans’. Using human lotion can make the paw pads too soft, causing them to blister and ulcerate easily when the dog walks.
The PawSafe balm protects your dog’s paw pads from harsh weather elements like the snow and sun. Store paw creams offer fast relief from dry and itchy feet if home remedies prove to be too slow. You can consult your groomer or vet on which paw cream best suits your dog’s issues.
It’s best to moisturize the paw pads preventatively when it’s too hot or cold outside to protect them. A few factors that irritate the paw pads are frostbites, road salt in the paws, and hot pavements. Apply the paw cream a few times every week for the best moisturizing results.
Beeswax and shea butter homemade paw balm
If you’re a fan of fun DIY remedies, you can whip up a fantastic paw balm for your dog. To make one, pour these ingredients into a jar:
- A tbsp. of olive or coconut oil
- Scoops of beeswax
- A few tbsps. of shea butter
Heat the mixture and mix it thoroughly until you have a uniform consistency. After mixing, allow the treatment to cool into an applicable balm. There you have it, an organic dog paw palm with a shelf life of a couple of years.
Shea butter and bee wax are rich in fatty acids and vital vitamins that promote skin health on the paw pads. Ensure you allow the treatment to seep into the paws by rubbing the mixture thoroughly but gently.
Beeswax has antibacterial and antifungal properties, similar to honey. All the ingredients in this remedy are pet safe, so there’s no need to worry if your pup licks them off the paws. If your dog licks the mixture soon after application, consider distracting them with treats until you finish moisturizing.
Doggy boots come in handy during harsh weather in the winter or summer. Irritation and injury could be why your dog’s paws are pink. Dogs’ paw pads are incredibly durable in line with their environmental conditions. Snow breeds like Newfoundland have wide paws with a wide surface area for stability on icy terrain.
Water dogs like the retriever have webbed feet to help them swim better. Despite all this paw resilience and adaptability, your dog needs extra protection when outside in extreme temperatures. Doggy boots are cute protective measures that keep the paw pads safely hidden away from harmful conditions.
If you trek on jagged terrain with your dog, thorns and other sharp objects may stick to your dog’s paws. Hot asphalt on a sunny day can cause burns and blisters on the paw pads. Dog boots come in handy when you must leave with your dog on a sunny day to dodge the hot pavements.
It may take time for your dog to get used to walking with boots. Patience and lots of treats and praises will help your dog become a boot-wearing pro. The next time your dog mushes on snowy trails, you can be at ease because the paws are well protected.
The paw pads are sensitive yet durable and need regular care and moisturizing. Applying a paw cream or home remedies like coconut and vitamin E oil promotes healthy and well-moisturized paw pads. Dryness can cause excessive licking and cracking of the paws, which can be painful for your dog in extreme cases.
The paw pads protect the bones and ligaments of the limbs, so you must protect them. Along with regular paw moisturizing, you can get your dog boots for when you walk in the winter or on hot days. Get your dog’s paws checked out by the vet if they’re consistently smelly and lacerated.
Tamsin De La HarpeAuthor
Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.
Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.