The delicate pads of dog’s feet can become cracked if overexposed to rough surfaces or to natural elements over an extended period of time. Regular maintenance and care of your dog’s foot pads will help keep them in good condition; treatment remedies help prevent cracks from becoming deep, raw, inflamed or infected. Always check with your vet to ensure no underlying issue is causing your dog's cracked paw pads.
Petroleum jelly is a cost-effective softening and protective agent that you can use to protect, moisturize and repair canine foot pads. Gently massage a dab of petroleum jelly into the dog’s pads when they become rough, calloused or cracked. Apply as frequently as needed to keep pad cracks lubed. Give your dog something to distract him while the jelly absorbs into the pads, such as a chew toy.
Petroleum-based antibiotic gels can be used on cracked dog paw pads when a crack is deep, inflamed, bleeding, or infected. Of course, a vet should assess major injury or damage to a pad; antibiotics or other treatment may be required to ensure your dog’s health and well-being. For minor scratches and repairs, over-the-counter antibiotic gels will be effective.
Your veterinarian’s office and pet supply stores carry a variety of creams manufactured specifically for the purpose of protecting, softening and repairing the pads of dog feet. You may opt to use one of these instead of home remedies. If you are in doubt about an appropriate cream for your particular dog, consult your vet or an animal care professional.
How to Use Creams
For best results, use topical pad creams as a preventative measure to ensure a dog’s foot pads stay healthy. Start using creams periodically when your dog is a puppy to get him used to having his feet touched. This will make it easier to apply creams as your dog grows older and larger, and it makes it easier if your dog ever has a foot injury or compromised pad that needs treating.
Hunting dogs and dogs that live outside in colder environments are more susceptible to cracked paws. Aloe vera is useful for on-the-go emergencies. If creams do not effectively protect your outdoor dog's paws, consider using booties or foot coverings. Regularly check your dog’s paws for damage and treat as soon as problems arise.