6 Natural Remedies for Dry or Cracked Dog Paws
Dog’s paws go through a lot, especially in cold weather, but there are natural ways to take care of their piggies and keep them healthy.
Keep an eye on your dog’s paws in the winter months to make sure they’re not dry or cracked. Once paws get dry and start to crack, it can be very painful for your dog and even lead to infection, limping, and immobility.
Of course, the best way to treat an ailment is prevention…that way their paws never get dry in the first place! Let’s look at some ways to prevent or minimize dry paws:
Dangers of the Road – Avoiding Salt and other De-icers and Heat
The chemicals and salts that are spread on roads before and during a snowstorm can be really damaging to your dog’s paws, as well as hot pavement in the summer months. It’s really helpful if you can train your dog to wear booties or socks for harsh weather (we like PawZ Rubber Dog Boots since they seem to be the easiest for dogs to get used to). But if you’re dog is not happy with booties, you can still minimize exposure by being careful where you walk on snowy days or extra hot days. Avoid big clumps of salt or de-icer in the road when it snows, and pavement all together in the heat. You can also get some Musher’s Secret Dog Paw Wax. It acts like a shield on your dog’s feet. Be careful though if you have hardwood floors. It can make their paws slippery inside.
Omega Fatty Acids
Omega fatty acids can help with inflammation and restore the natural oils on your dog’s skin and paws. They also help keep your dog’s coat healthy and can ease allergies. You can add a supplement to your dog’s food, but check with your vet before adding any supplements to their diet.
Make sure your dog is drinking enough water, especially in warmer weather or if they get a lot of exercise. If their system dries out, it is more likely that their paws will as well.
Something else that might be cause cracked paws is something called Zinc-Responsive Dermatitis . It’s a condition that can cause cracked paws in any weather. Zinc deficiency is common in Huskies and Malamutes, and sometimes happens in other breeds too, most often the giant breeds like Great Dames, St Bernards, German Shepherds, and Dobermans. If you are concerned that your dog might have low zinc, make an appointment with your vet. They can test for it.
How Do I Know If My Dogs Feet Hurt?
Sometimes it’s hard to know when your dog is in pain, but here are some signs to look for:
- Holding a paw up off the ground
- Excessive licking their paws
- Shifting from leg to leg
- Yelping when they walk
- Rapid breathing
If you see any of these signs, take a look at your dog’s paws for signs of dryness or cracking. (Also check between their toes and pads to make sure something isn’t stuck in there) If they look very bad to you, make sure to bring them into the vet so they can take a look.
Shea Butter is made from Shea nuts and known for its moisturizing properties. It can be smoothed onto your dog’s paws, and because it’s natural and completely non-toxic, it’s ok if they lick some off when you’re not looking.
Coconut oil is all-natural, antibacterial, and antiviral, as well as being a great moisturizer. It works wonders on dry paws, and like shea butter, it is not dangerous to your dog if they lick it off. It might be a little messy though, so you might want to look for a balm below that has coconut oil in the ingredients.
Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E helps to heal dry skin and dry paws. If you use Vitamin E Oil that is meant to be taken as a supplement, it is completely edible in case your dog licks some of it.
This is an herb that is known for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties. It often comes in a gel form so it can be massaged into your dog’s paws.
Natural Paw Balms
There are many products designed to help with dry paws. Make sure you choose one that has all-natural ingredients and is safe for your dog to ingest. Here are a couple we love. They both have Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, and Vitamin E in the ingredients:
Paw Nectar – 100% Organic, money-back guarantee
Natural Dog Company Snout Soother – 100% Organic and Vegan, fragrance-free, and has SPF
Make Your Own Balm
Want to know exactly what’s in for paw balm? Make your own! There is an easy recipe on Better Shea Butter that combines Shea Butter, Calendula Flowers, Bees Wax, and Almond Oil.
Making sure your dog’s paws stay healthy is important since dry cracked paws can be painful and lead to infection, limping, and mobility problems. Make sure you prevent dry paws through paw protection outside, hydration, and keeping your eye on them for signs of dryness. And if your pup does end up with dry paws, use one of the oils or balms recommended to moisturize their paws before they get so dry that they crack. Find the natural treatment that works for your dog and stay consistent so they will have happy healthy feet!
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