Indoor heating can dry out the skin while embracing the outdoor winds and cold temperatures can lead to cracked, irritated skin. For a dog, cracked skin can further be exacerbated by salt or other chemicals sprinkled on the roads and sidewalks.
Keeping your dog’s paws healthy and moist is a crucial part of their health. Their paw pads work as shock absorbers for their joints and protecting them from injury. If the paws are dry, it can lead to worsening skin problems like cracked skin and/or bleeding, which can lead to infections. Bleeding paw pads should always be examined by a veterinarian.
If your dog has rough, dry paw pads, (like my dog, Phoenix), what can you do?
Look for a balm or salve that has all natural ingredients like shea butter, coconut butter, vegetable glycerin, lavender, or olive oil. Dogs like to lick anything rubbed on their skin so make sure that it is safe for ingestion.
NOTE: Using skin creams created for humans may have ingredients that are not safe for dogs and could also lead to over-moisturizing. For a dog, having too soft of skin is just as bad as having dry skin.
Apply balms/salves to clean, dry skin. Use an all natural baby wipe, and clean your dog’s foot, making sure to get in between the paw pad. Let the area dry before rubbing a small amount of salve on your dog’s paw. Cover the paw with a dog sock to prevent your dog from licking their paw, which could lead to further irritation.
Applying a salve before bedtime allows for more contact with the skin without it being rubbed off. If applying socks over the paws, dogs are least likely to pull off the socks when they are tired.
If you want to save some money, paw salves are easy to make and need only a few simple ingredients. For a DIY recipe, click here.
Dry paws can also be caused by a zinc deficiency. Usually this is remedied by giving your dog omega-3’s found in fish oil. If your dog is allergic to fish oil, giving coconut oil is a good substitute. Add a squirt of liquid coconut oil in your dog’s food once a day, which helps to create shiny fur and prevent dry skin.
Persistence is key. It may take a few weeks of nightly application of paw salve before you can notice a difference with your dog’s paws. If the paw pad looks red, irritated, cracked, or bleeding, take your dog to a veterinarian for evaluation.
If you live in an area with harsh winter conditions, it may be time to invest in winter booties for your dog to help protect their feet and keep them warm. Booties come in many styles so make sure to read reviews before purchasing.
With the winter elements wreaking havoc outside, it can become overwhelming to remember to think of the simpler things, like moisturizing your dog’s paw pads. Keeping your dog protected from the blistering cold is essential to their health. Stay warm and moisturized all winter long, and take a look at some of the paw salves and sock selections listed below.
As always, leave a comment below and make sure to follow Wee Wee Frenchie on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube. Tag #WeeWeeFrenchie when posting a picture of your pet. We love pictures, and Cooper and Phoenix enjoy hearing from you!