What Do Rough Pads on Dogs Mean?

Your dog's feet need pampering at times.
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Those pads on your dog’s feet add more than just extra cushioning. They also provide insulation against the elements, allowing your pooch to run on hot sidewalks and slide on icy pavement. Even the toughest of canine paw pads can’t withstand exposure to these rough surfaces without getting dry and cracked. If your pal’s pads are rugged and worn, a little pampering might be appreciated. Consult your vet about the best way to treat your dog’s rough paw pads.


Unless your dog is strictly housebound, he’s likely to encounter rough and rocky surfaces. Not only can these outdoor surfaces result in rough foot pads, but they can also cause fractured nails, cysts between the paw pads, and tears in the pads that can make it painful for your pooch to walk. Foreign objects, such as matted fur, burrs, rocks and other debris, can irritate areas between the toes.

Foot Pad Injuries

While most dogs' paw pads are tough, they still are susceptible to punctures, ulcers, blisters, abrasions, tears and lacerations. If your pal suffers a paw injury, you may notice him limping or tending to his wound. Temperature plays a major role in your pet’s foot health. Hot sand or concrete can cause burns and loose flaps of skin. Bitter-cold ice can cause cracking and chapping of the pads, while rock salt and other chemicals put out on roads and sidewalks to melt ice can cause sores and infections on your dog's feet.

Paw Care

Paw injuries require prompt first aid to prevent infection. Your veterinarian should always tend to serious wounds. Roughened pads are common, and they can generally be treated at home with a paw-pad moisturizing product. Ask your vet about good products for moisturizing pads. Do not attempt to use a human product on your canine buddy. Your pooch can also benefit from a deep-paw massage. Rubbing each of your pet’s toes and between the pads helps to promote circulation.

Injury Prevention

You can prevent most pad injuries by keeping an eye out for hazards. Remove broken glass, sharp rocks and other debris from your yard and areas where you walk your pet. Protective footwear can help protect your pet’s feet against the harsh elements, including heat and ice. Regular pampering at home or at the groomer’s is a good way to keep your dog’s paw pads soft and injury-free.