Your dog's paw pads are thick and rough, much like the bottom of your shoes. Like your shoe soles, your dog's paw pads can crack with overuse. They may crack or become injured because of chemical sprays, ice salt, foreign objects, zinc deficiency and hyperkeratosis -- the overproduction of keratin. No matter what's caused the cracks, it's important to treat the injured pads. They protect your dog's feet while he's playing fetch in the yard and chasing squirrels at the park.
When treating your dog's cracked paw pads, you want to treat the cause of the crack. Change your dog's diet or add a zinc supplement if your dog is zinc-deficient. Avoid walking the dog in areas with chemical sprays, glass or other irritants; allow your dog plenty of rest after hikes, hunting trips and long walks. Vaseline helps soothe feet; coat the pads before your dog goes to sleep so the Vaseline can soak in while he's off his feet. Neosporin will help reduce the risk of infection. Consider using an E-collar if your dog is constantly licking the injured paw pads.
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