dog health

Dry Paws in Dogs: Causes and Treatment

Have you taken time to observe your dog’s paw pads? Do you ever wonder what paw pads actually do to your furry friend? Here are some of the most interesting facts about your pet’s paws, and how you can prevent dry paws in your dog.

Things You Need To Know About Your Dog’s Paws

Dogs sweat through their paws, and this is exactly the reason why bandages don’t stick to their paw pads. Another thing to take note is that paw pads help dogs absorb shock, and protect their joints from too much pressure.

However, some dogs do have overly sensitive paws, which is why they usually get cracked paw pads. Commonly experienced by dogs, cracked paw pads can be very painful for them.

Since your dog spends most of their time running, fetching and jumping both indoors and outdoors, it is important that their paws stay healthy and soft. Your dog’s paws are made specifically to protect them and their joints.

Why Do Dry Paws Occur in Dogs?

According to an online resource, a dog’s paw is made up of skin cells, ligaments, bones, tendons, blood vessels, and connective tissues, but it doesn’t mean that it is made of steel.

There are times when you might feel that your dog’s paw is rough or dry to touch or you might see some cuts on your dog’s paws. You might also notice that your dog avoids walking, favors one foot, constantly licks and chews on its paw pads, or whining due to an apparent pain. In any of these cases, your dog might be exhibiting signs of cracked paws.

There are different causes of cracked paw pads in dogs, and it is important to uncover the cause so as find the proper treatment.

dog paw print beach

Here are some of the common causes of cracked and dry paw pads in dogs:

Harsh chemical products

Chemical products you might be using at home can cause dry paws for dogs. Contact irritation is the most common cause of cracked paws among dogs.

Chemical cleaners that may attribute to this issue may range from carpet cleaner and floor wax to garden sprays and fertilizer. Your dog will feel the urge to lick on their paws whenever they feel pain, which usually results in aggravating the tissue damage.

Allergic reaction

Cracked paws might also be caused by allergies. When your dog develops an allergic reaction to food, it may cause them to itch and scratch on their ears or paws. Some dogs tend to chew on their paws, leading them to have dry and cracked paw pads.

Zinc deficiency

If your dog is experiencing cracked paws, you might want to check if they are suffering from lack of zinc.  Dogs like Siberian Husky, German /Shepherds, Beagles, Poodles and Great Danes are prone to suffer from zinc deficiency. This can cause skin problems, hair loss and cracked paws.


Old or senior dogs can develop this condition, described as overproduction of keratin that causes the paw pads to turn dry and cracked. This condition can also be observed among humans as well.

Natural wear and tear

If your dog often walks on hot asphalt or ice, it can contribute in the making its paw pads dry. It is important to note that ice is one of the leading causes of cracked paws, and they can be extremely painful to our canine pets.

dry paws in dogs

Treatment of Dry Paws in Dogs

There are several treatment options to make sure that your dog’s paw pads are well taken care of. Here are some effective tips in caring for your dog’s paw pads treating dry paws:

Dry paws due to contact irritation?

If you have determined that your dog is suffering from dry paws due to contact irritation, make sure that you wipe off its paws with warm water. Booties can also help in taking care of its paw pads.

Home remedies

You can use some home remedies to take care of your dog’s paws, such as application of Vaseline. This can help soothe and moisturize paw pads.

It is best if you apply Vaseline ointment and cream before your dog goes to sleep. Make sure you gauze the paws or let it wear booties so as to avoid licking off the ointment.

Buy medicine for dry paws

You can also purchase over-the-counter medication to treat their paw pads. Some medicines and ointments designed for human use are also safe for pet use, although it would probably be best to see a vet before administering medicines by yourself.

Change your dog’s diet

If you think your dog is suffering from food allergies, change their diet and supplement. Uncover the cause of their allergies and put them on a special diet. Make sure that the next time you purchase dog food, known allergens are not part of their diet.

Add more zinc into their food

Growing dogs need a daily supplement of zinc to help them in growing healthy and active. They need a minimum of 120 mg of zinc for every kilogram of food to make sure they do not suffer from zinc deficiency. You may also ask the vet about dog-safe zinc supplements.

Apply first aid

If your dog’s paw starts to bleed, here are first-aid steps to help soothe their paw pads:

  • Clean off the blood.
  • Apply Vaseline or Bag Balm to soothe their cracked paws.
  • Put a sock or gauze on their cracked paws. Make sure you secure it with tape, and tape the gauze on their ankle to avoid limping.
  • Make sure to clean their bandages daily. Regularly check and apply home remedy treatment on their paw pads.
  • Give your dog enough rest to ensure full recovery.


Although cracked paws are extremely painful for your dog, addressing the cause and applying the necessary treatment can do great wonders to your pet’s condition. We hope these tips can help you prevent dry paws in your canine pets, and understand how to treat this kind of issue.

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Dog Lover
Madona is the writer at Barkily.